You know my messages designed to recruit you for National Novel Writing Month? You know, the ones I posted all over Facebook reminding you that you’d be dead someday and that you needed to fulfill your dream of being a novelist? I’m not sure how many of my friends actually decided to participate in the program this year, but I am not doing so well. I’ll have to do 2,000 words per day to finish by November 30 because I am so behind this first week. So much for role modeling and all that jazz.
Oh, I can hear what you’re thinking. Quit writing this damn blog and go back to your novel. Oh, wait, that’s what I’m thinking, not what you’re thinking.
I am caught in a spinning vortex of suck. I have an idea for a character, but I have no idea what to do with my character. I’m also depressed because, just before NaNoWriMo started, I received two rejections for short stories I had submitted to magazines. Stephen King, in On Writing, said that he used to stick his rejection letters on a nail that was sticking out of his wall. Eventually, he had to get a spike because his pile of rejections was so huge. I’m hanging my letters on the wall, too. At the rate I’m going, I’m going to have to install some additional wall support.
I tend to descend into this “What’s it all for?” mentality. You know, why should I even bother because I’m never going anywhere with this fiction-writing dog and pony show. I should do something practical with my time, instead of writing stories that no one, except for my dear husband and a couple of my other friends, has read. But Jackie, you say, what you’re describing is called whining. And you need to stop whining. Suck it up and just keep writing.
My friends, I have a good case of writer’s block right now. The ideas that were shooting out of my head like sunbeams are now landing on the floor with a soft, squelchy thud. I don’t know if the “thud” comes so much from having lousy ideas as it does from having no faith in my ideas. Ideas qualify as “good” when you believe in them. Right now, I do not believe. I’ll snap out of it in a little while, but I don’t know if I’ll snap out of it in time to salvage this NaNoWriMo.
So, if you listened to my inspiring “You’ll be dead soon” talk, and decided to take the novel-writing plunge, I commend you. My first year, in 2009, I wrote about 28,000 words and then gave up. In 2010, I took some of those ideas and finished my novel. It felt fabulous, and, after a lot of revising, I feel like the novel became pretty decent. If I had given up on my old ideas, I guess I would never have completed that novel in 2010.
A big, fat fail may not always be a bad thing. However, it is embarrassing when you open your big ol’ mouth and tell everyone out there they should join you in writing a novel in November. Unfortunately, as it turns out, I am no role model. I’m wallowing in a landfill of self-pity, feeling like all of my ideas are rotting smelly piles of garbage.