With National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo to the initiated) starting in two weeks, I'm spending more time thinking about my own, slow, progress.

As you may have heard I have a short story coming out this week. To say I'm excited would be an understatement, but nervous is in there, too. It's the first thing I've had published since a local newspaper picked up a homework assignment I wrote in eighth grade. I don't remember getting paid for that one, though my grandparents did cut it out, frame it, and hang it on their wall.

But mostly, I'm working to remember that my process is my own, and that I don't have to push to produce more and more and more. I make progress, and that is the only measure I need. Given my personality and scheduling tendencies, I sometimes feel like that alone is a wholesale victory.

Sometimes.

The challenge, of course, is that my pace doesn't match the high output and self-promotion opportunity that seem to be the best bet for a "new" writer these days. I struggle with feeling like I'm falling behind when I know, I know, that I'm just on a different road. It's mine, just like each of theirs belongs only to them. And on most days, when I'm not facing down the should's and the don't's and the what-if's... On most days I'm glad I get to walk it.