Tuesday, 7 November 2017
So, thoughts after a week of NaNoWriMo:
1. "You just sort of do it" is still the only way I can describe how pantsing a novel works. I could go on about mental pictures of what a novel should look like and the need to have some kind of deep understanding of how stories and storytelling work, but it doesn't matter, because you don't need to consciously think about those things while writing. It's general writer knowledge, not pantsing-specific knowledge. So basically I can't explain what I'm doing and I think I need to be okay with that.
2. Screen brightness makes a huge difference to how well I can write -- to the point where I basically can't write at all on my desktop, and can only write on my laptop if I run it on battery (which lowers the brightness beyond the plugged-in minimum.
3. If this is the kind of character I want to write right now, it totally makes sense that none of the older projects I was looking at in October were 'the one'. The things I need have changed too much for me to easily slip back into an old story.
So, that's my first week done. Onwards! or something.
Wednesday, 1 November 2017
But, seven out of seven of my previous NaNoWriMo attempts tell me that the likelihood of me ever doing anything with this story again is slim to none. I'll get something written, sure. It's just that by the end of the month I'll almost certainly hate it too much to ever be able to do anything with it. NaNoWriMo has proven multiple times that it can produce words, but it's also proven multiple times that it produces words I don't like
So, my choice is this:
- Keep living with the gloomy knowledge that I could have written and didn't (my state for most of this year)
- Write something for NaNo and face the strong possibility that I'm going to feel worse about my writing afterwards.
I don't know how to respond to that other than to just remind myself that I'm doing it now. That should be enough. I should be able to celebrate 1855 words as an achievement, not attack myself for not having done it yesterday and the day before. I'm doing it now. And, I'm putting this quote from Daniel José Older's 2016 pep talk somewhere right in my eye-line as I'm sitting at the computer:
"Writing begins with forgiveness. Let go of the shame about how long it’s been since you last wrote, the clenching fear that you’re not a good enough writer, the doubts over whether or not you can get it done. Sure, the nagging demons will come creeping back, but set them aside anyway, and then set them aside again when they do. Concoct a hot beverage, play a beautiful song, look inward, and then begin."
I have my coffee, I have a couple of Ne Obliviscaris albums to listen to, and I have a story waiting to be continued. Inwards and upwards? That sounds weird and vaguely unpleasant. But, yes. Today I need to forgive myself for the past and set aside my demons. Today I've written. Tomorrow, I'll write again. That's enough for now.