117. the NaNoWriMo is stupid (caution, potty mouth).
I’m groggy, depressed, frustrated, lonely, despondent. And I blame it all on this stupid NaNoWriMo nonsense. Most of the moody crap comes from not getting enough sleep. Now it’s not like I’m up at all hours of the night writing, it’s all the time I spend doing something else so that I don’t have to write, all the while believing that the other thing I’m doing is being done so that I can write.
Here’s what I mean. The other day I get to thinking, “gee, I’m going to be doing a lot of writing for this thing so I should really work on my computer workspace in my room.” See, before this, the desk where I kept my iBook was cluttered, messy, chaos. So I get the bright idea to re-do the desktop. I go as far as buying a new keyboard so that I can elevate my iBook so that I’m more ergonomically correct. I clear out an entire shelf so that I can put my laptop up at eye level.
All the while I’m doing thins, in the back of my mind I’m thinking that I did perfectly well writing all kinds of blogs with the old setup. Why should this novel thing be any different? And the fact of the matter is, it’s not different at all, and there was no reason for the desktop makeover except to keep myself from having to face the horror of my novel – I don’t mean that I’m writing a horror novel, it’s that I’m horrified at the thought of adding more to the steaming shit-pile of work that’s supposed to be my novel at the end of the month.
See, here’s the thing. I hate what I’m writing. More accurately, I really fucking hate what I’m writing. When I’m writing this stupid novel thing, all I can think of is what a fraud I am and how lame everything I’m coming up with is and how far behind I am. The NaNo has not been kind to my self-esteem because not only am I not hitting my word-count targets (not even getting close), I’m also hating just about everything I’m writing.
To be fair, when I go back and read what I’ve done, it’s not as bad as I thought it was when I was writing it, but it’s still far from any of the story things that I’ve posted here, and that’s humbling and frustrating and it makes me feel like I don’t know what the fuck I’m doing…which makes sense because I truly don’t know what the fuck I’m doing.
See, when I’ve posted stories here, it’s because I had some spark of inspiration that I wanted to chase down – and the best writing feels like that for me, like a chase. It’s like there’s this story dangling in front of me like a carrot and I chase after it by writing about where it leads me. And the faster I write, the faster the words come, and I just keep on writing until I either fall off my chair in exhaustion or I get the carrot.
The novel thing I’m writing? I’m trying to manufacture inspiration because I can’t wait for it. And so even if I have no clue as to what I’m going to write about, I sit at the keyboard and throw down the first thing that comes. And then I go from there. Unfortunately, instead of chasing an elusive carrot, I feel like I’m dragging an elephant. Words don’t come easy and so I pretty much just throw words on the page like some mad chimpanzee trying to crank out Shakespeare.
I can see why writers (and other artists) take to drink and drugs. It’s not easy to quiet that nagging critical voice that tells you every word you write is lame, every sentence illiterate, every paragraph is shit and the overall work is something that should have stayed in the back of your useless, pathetic, talentless brain.
It’s not good for my self-esteem. It’s not good for my health. It’s not good for my love life (your what?). But I’m pressing on. I may not make it to 50,000 but I’m also not going to give up on the effort until time runs out.
There’s a part of me that believes that a crazy stunt like this has to have something to teach me. Successful writers always talk about the need to write something everyday. They say that writing is a discipline and that routine is the only thing that helps them get work done. And so I write. Even if I’m falling far short of my target word counts, I write. Even if a fucking illiterate third grader could come up with better material, I write. Even if the girl of my dreams is calling me on my cell phone longing to talk about culture and art and ideas and the problems of the Christian subculture over a lovely Italian dinner – even then, I write…fuck that, I’d dump the novel in the trash and grab dinner if that happened.
Maybe breakthrough will happen. Maybe at the end of it all, the discipline will mold me into something more like a writer than I was before the attempt. Maybe I’ll catch pneumonia because the lack of sleep has weakened my immune system. Maybe vampire butterflies will crawl out of my arse.
And speaking of sleep…