November 20, 2010
I don’t really mean that! NaNoWriMo (National write a Novel Month) has been a great thing for me. The thing is, it’s hard to do it alongside a full-time job, a workout schedule, a household to run, sleep to acquire, and a menstrual cycle to combat. Excuses, excuses? Maybe. But the main impetus of the NaNoWriMo commitment is that it does MAKE you write, and feel extra guilty when you don’t. That’s perfect for me. As a lady who has very few people to answer to (school administrators and cops with radar guns come to mind), I sometimes feel that I don’t make enough demands of myself. Yes, I need babying, and no one else is around to do it right now. I have a sneaking suspicion that, having known myself all my life, I instinctively know how to manipulate my motives, emotions, and direction. This is not always a good thing. Sometimes I feel like all I need in my life is someone to put strong arms around me and tell me EVERYTHING is going to be all right. But it won’t. And I know that. It will be good, it will be bad, it will be boring and mediocre. And every year I get a birthday. And most years no one remembers that I wanted a pony. HOWEVER, if I want to be a writer (meaning a writer who does not have to do some other job to pay the bills), I only need to start with one thing. I need to write.
(Do you see how I did that? I started on a topic, I meandered a little, woke myself up and brought myself back on-topic. This is how I live my life! Isn’t it adorable? I knew you’d think so!)
So, on day 20 of NaNoWriMo, I should have 1,667 x 20 words. That is….. calculator and drum roll, please… 33,340 words. And I have written…..cue sad violin music…… 14,695. Ummm, I am a little behind. I had planned to write 10,000 this weekend. And I just might do that. And believe you me, I am counting the words of this blog, too. However, I have written! Way more than I would have had I not been trying. I have missed some days due to the aforementioned list of distractions. I have logged 500 words on some days and gone to bed. I have rarely exceeded the 1667 and written for hours and hours. But I realize it only takes me a few hours to write that many words. If I locked myself in a room with only a computer (and no internet except for legitimate research for my writing – not including Facebook) and paused only for coffee and bathroom breaks, and spent 4 hours a day, 5 days a week, I could definitely get some serious writing done! This is a good lesson for me, should I choose to internalize and use it.
Another issue I have with writing fiction is that I fall into the trap of using it as therapy. Often I don’t even realize that I’m doing this. My last male character, Jeremy, was unintentionally written to be my own dream man. I imagine that this was to make up for all I was not getting in my last two relationships. I borrowed the steamy sex from me and TF1, and I gave Jeremy traits like understanding, sensitivity, self-reflection, the desire to please his woman even when he was clueless (and I mean please her in general, not just in bed.) But the subject of the novel was infidelity, and no one could understand why this woman would want to cheat on a guy like that. Okay, back to the drawing board, after six years, 75,000 words, and $2000 spent at a writer’s workshop. In my current rewrite, my male character, Mark, is egotistical, self-serving, NON-self-reflective, and avoids deep emotional connection. But again, I fall into the trap of using the character as a form of therapy. In my last reading session, reading pages that I wrote right after a counseling session, I poured all my feelings about my ended relationship onto the page in fictional form, channeling them into Mark as seen through his wife’s eyes. My writing group looked at me and shook their collective heads, asking why she even wanted to have a baby with him in the first place? And even as I read the chapter aloud, my pen was busily striking out sentences. Too much, too soon. But boy, it felt good to write it at the time. There was love there once upon a time, and it takes time to see the qualities in a person that does not make them a good mate, no matter how much love is blinding you. So, take it slowly, Catnip. Since we killed off Jeremy, let’s honor him by not making this plot incomprehensible too! I hold him in my heart as the man I will someday recognize when he walks into my life. But in the meantime, I have to grow up. And I have to write.
Back to the page I go. I need to write 35,000 more words to “win”. If I don’t do it, at least I have found that I can indeed carve out time to write and be productive. I was stalled. Now I’m on chapter nine. And that, in and of itself, makes me a winner.
With hope and sore typing fingers, wishing my fans their very own taste of winning! – Catnip
P.S. This blog was 909 words and YES I added that to my count! Including the date. Now, 944. Now 946. La-la-la, can we make it a thousand?? 953! 954! New total count: 15650. Thanks, guys! 961…. 962….