Week Three: NaNoWriMo

  • On schedule to finish.
  • It is very time consuming.
  • And I still have not put last week’s laundry away.

Pushcart Prize nomination!

Many thanks to Brenda Mann Hammock and everyone at Glint for nominating Lamia for a Pushcart. I couldn’t be more tickled!

NaNoWriMo: Week Two

  • Halfway point.
  • Getting really, really tired of the appeals for donations. Sorry NaNoWriMo, I blew my discretionary budget on sweaters and half-priced cocktails.
  • But I am unapologetically a fan of this month of novel writing. I’m inclined to think most people would benefit from having to spend some vast amount of time doing something that rewards focus and introspection. But maybe not. I don’t know.
  • My intention was to participate more fully in the discourse this week, but I don’t care and I don’t have time and I am too boring. Sitting in a chair again, typing!
  • I hate sitting in chairs. Sitting in chairs, looking at computers is the worst thing about writing. I’ve sat on couches and on exercise balls and I’ve jury-rigged a standing desk, but inevitably, inexorably my ass is drawn back to the chair, back to the computer. It’s awful.

NaNoWriMo Week One in Review

  • I kept to my targets without much difficulty. Consequently what I’ve written isn’t very good. Word count: approximately 13,000. I took yesterday off to draw a diagram and clean the bathroom. Also, writing every single day of the week is hellish. I intend to keep the sabbath for the remaining weeks and  have adjusted my targets accordingly.
  • This draft might be vulgar and the POV ineffectual, but I’ve been working shit out and getting some kind of idea of what a subsequent (better) draft might look like. So that’s okay.
  • I left out the part where I bought a frumpy skirt from a charity shop and stuck in in a tote bag full of cat food because this is the person I have become.
  • I did not live-tweet because of banality. This week I intend to break down that wall. I tell myself that I keep my thoughts to myself because of my carbon footprint, but that is absurd. Yesterday I bought tights at Primark. Please don’t tell.
  • Over the weekend I attended a local write-in. Someone was talking about staying up all night to work on their piece. I think this is admirable, but insane. Why risk your health for fiction? And during cold and flu season! Madness.
  • I received emails and updates from the NaNoWriMo website. I read them. The pep talks and the appeals for money. Honey I am dirt poor, and I hate to say it, but if I had money to spare, I would probably not donate it to writing programs. Isn’t that awful? I have several uncharitable views on writing. Such as: the world does not need your novel and not everybody has a story to share. It’s better to divest yourself of all your illusions regarding the nature of writing. Fiction matters, but that doesn’t mean yours does. What you are writing is probably shit. Steel yourself for rejection and anguish, and be free. This is life. It’s not so bad. Christmas is coming! They are selling mulled wine outside of the shopping center now.
  • Last night I google-hungout with my friends in America. One asked me what my day looks like. It looks like sitting in rooms.

Perseverance

I used to date a guy who had a friend who was very mentally unwell. The mentally unwell friend wrote one page of fiction everyday and at the end of a year he had 365 pages of fiction: a novel.

My boyfriend read his friend’s novel; he derided its lack of focus. It was all over the place, he said. It was random and chaotic. Its author hadn’t made a plan at all, he just wrote and wrote. The resulting novel evidently didn’t make a lot of sense. But I think for a first draft maybe that’s not so bad. I would rather carve a novel out of 365 pages of chaos than have to start again.

My boyfriend also wanted to be a writer. He wrote short stories for creative writing classes, which in retrospect weren’t terrible, only he couldn’t take criticism. From me.

I have written one novel. It took me nearly four years. I didn’t have a very good plan. The final draft is very different from the first. And now I am writing another novel, and although it may be premature to say this: I hate it. I HATE IT. I HATE EVERYTHING. If this were the nineteenth century, I would throw the pages into the fireplace and weep. But the pages aren’t even pages and our fireplace doesn’t work.

Whenever I feel down, I try to think of the worst case scenario: my writing is derided by people who are close to me and I am revealed to be a loser in the end. I am so afraid that I am going to fail. Or worse: become bitter and despised.

How do you keep your dreams from making you into a monster?

Writing Publicly

To really get the NaNoWriMo experience, I will be live-blogging or tweeting my antics because the thought of doing so makes me uncomfortable, but isn’t that always an opportunity for growth? But it does feel lame and I hate to be cute. Doesn’t talking about ones writing always devolve into cuteness?

No.

Unfortunately the truth is more like: I’m uncomfortable with transparency. I’m uncomfortable with talking about what I do. The truth about me isn’t very nice and it’s not something I feel proud of. I have behaved in utterly selfish ways to make my life conducive to writing. Moreover, I’m a sketchy person. When I try to elide the truth, I sound like a criminal. But it’s awful to have to say at dinners and parties and to people I’ve just met, Yeah, I quit a part-time job so I would have more time to write. I’m not really interested in looking for work – frankly I would rather be poor. Yes, I did drop out of an MFA program, but I had really good marks! No, but none of this would be possible without a husband who believes in me; none of this would be possible if my husband weren’t a hard-ass who hates to see me slacking off; none of this would be possible if my mother hadn’t died.

In preparation for NaNoWriMo, I have done the following:

1. Reread a draft of an old, unfinished novel that I’ve had on the shelf since 2008. It is not good.

2. Read the following: The Devil’s Tramping Ground and Other North Carolina Mystery Stories, Growing Up with Chapel Hill, Life of Braxton Craven, History of Davie County, Historic Architecture of Davie County, Many Excellent People, and such.

3. Failed to look for paid employment

Number 3 was obviously the most crucial step.

In preparation for NanoWriMo I have not:

1. Written up detailed character bios. The bone structure as it were.

2. Made anything resembling an outline.

3. Given any thought to plot whatsoever.

 

Is writing boring? Are novels relevant? Are our attention spans too short because of internet?

This year I’ve decided to do NaNoWriMo because I have no discipline and I thought I should get some. Many internet articles have been written about this most popular month of novel writing, but I will not link to any of them. It should be enough to observe that writers who make their process public are irritating, not because the writing process is irritating, but rather: it is irritating to talk too much about oneself. Many future internet articles will conflate these issues, but that is because people who write articles for the internet seldom have time to think deeply about the subjects on which they write.

Yesterday I dropped a computer on my toe. It was excruciating for about five minutes.