Honesty in rawness: an unrefined and self-conscious NaPoWriMo

Here I am, half-way through my first National Poetry Writing Month.

I’m rereading a few of the poems I’ve published so far this month, and I’m feeling such agony about wanting to go back and fix all the glaring errors, fix the flow, fix the lack of cohesion in some of the pieces.

I’ve purposefully spent less than a day on each poem I’ve posted during this whole NaPoWriMo experience. There is a terrifying freedom in this: it means the poem doesn’t have to be good. But it also means that it probably won’t be all that good, either — especially the longer pieces.

I find myself wanting to post a note at the end of some pieces, excusing the poor quality, the ambling nature, the inconsistencies. I keep wanting to shout to everyone: I’m Not This Bad! Honest!

I think the reason why I gave myself the particular stipulations of not spending more than a day, and only writing new pieces was that I’m a recovering perfectionist. I self-censor a lot of what I’ve written, believing, mistakenly or not, that it wasn’t worth the pixels it was digitized into. I’m working to bypass that inner censor in a pretty public way, not that I have much of a readership yet! But this is a site that anyone with an internet connection can access, so, unlike my past experiences with the interwebs, this is seriously public for me.

I figure, if I can give myself permission to publicly not be 100% all the time, but to also publicly continue to strive for perfect enough, more writers might say, oh, hey, I can do better than that! and then they actually put pen to paper/fingertips to keyboard and do better. That would be awesome.

Does not being perfect make me a bad person? No! It really doesn’t. I’m human and I make plenty of mistakes. Does it make me a bad writer? No. It really doesn’t. It makes me a human writer striving for a particular goal. Does it speak poorly of me in cultivating a good readership? Well, it runs counter to all good and sound advice about making the effort to put really good work on the blog… but as I’m doing this purposefully, I think there’s a difference there.

Regardless, I’m feeling a little self-conscious still about this project, even while feeling pretty damned proud for putting so much of myself into this. Not too shabby, I’d say.