I had a student today–in the physically-oriented after school-type activity I teach–give, as an example of resolve, this (paraphrased) answer:
“You have to decide that you keep wanting to do something even when it’s hard or like, when you’re writing a story and you get writer’s block, you have to keep going. You can’t just stop because it’s hard because you decided to wanted to do this so you just gotta do it.”
“My friend,” I said, “are you a writer?”
“No!” he responded. “No, not really. I mean, I’m sorta writing a book. I’m trying to. But I’m not like… a real writer.”
“HOLD UP!” I said, “If you write and you take it seriously, you are a writer. If you are resolved to write a book and you are fighting through writer’s block, you are a writer. You don’t have to a successful author to be a writer. You don’t have to make money off of your writing. You don’t even have to be an adult [fyi: this is a teen]. And you don’t have to wait for me or anyone else to tell you what you are. If you write, you’re a writer if that’s what you want to be. Own it. Name it. Be it!”
Friends who follow this blog, especially those struggling through NaNo like I am, don’t read those goddamn memes on Twitter about what makes you a real writer. No such thing. If you write, you’re a writer if that’s what you want to be.
I’ll tell you what: if Buzzfeed starts banging out the Mad Libs-style fun quiz, I’m never leaving that site again.
Here’s my favorite part of the dystopian YA novel Buzzfeed helped me write while I should have been real writing my Camp NaNo project:
The Chaperones began placing memory erasing coffee k-cups on the temples of all children. Rythe saw this and knew she must make her escape. She had heard a fable in her earlier years told by the children at her school, when the New Government was gaining control. Apparently there was a code to deactivate their android creations. What was that rhyme they used to chant around the schoolyard? Then Rythe remembered. She stood up and recited: “toenail, third rail, 001, jury duty, big ole booty, 001.” Suddenly, all Chaperones dropped their bottles and cans and stood up in unison, then left the room.
Toenail, third rail, 001
Jury duty, big ole booty, 001
I just now realized that today is the first day of Camp NaNoWriMo and I have absolutely no idea what the hell I’m doing.
Part of the reason I’m distracted is because I’m mad at my spouse.
And I just saw an ad for a real book written by a fake character on a show I like which is just… not fair. It’s not fair that fake people get to make real books.
I hate her simpering smile and her stupid face.
So the obvious solution to all of my problems is to write a much less sexy, much more sad establishment of a Space of My Own story about how I too would like to take a vacation from my marriage but I’m not a rich selfish bland self-righteous jerkbitch who would ever leave her children so instead I just stay late at work and take an extra lap around Target for some Me Time before returning to my hermit corner to write something that’ll inevitably be ignored into obscurity on Amazon.
Obviously a best seller. Super talented. Feeling like a winner. Definitely not the saddest sack of potatoes in this cellar today.
Happy NaNoCamp Eve, writer friends!
Anyone else suffering the dread of not having the right idea or temperament or schedule or brain space?
I am not at all prepared for this!
You know when you have a pretty clear couple of hours that you had intended to spend writing but then…
I should just check Twitter first.
This email has been sitting in my inbox for a month. Now seems like a good time to read it.
You know, I really haven’t checked out the new offerings on edX lately.
Maybe if I just start a new photobook on Shutterfly, I’ll be able to finish it later.
I really need to find a matching toothbrush holder for my bathroom.
Not sure what’s happening here but it captures my feelings of frustration with myself as well as my love of cozy-necked sweaters.
I wrote two actual sentences in the last 45 minutes.
I’ve got two warring circumstances happening in my life right now that are combining to form an awesome fighting force of malcontentment bordering on mild depression: I can’t freaking sleep (because babies) and I can’t freaking write (because lack of sleep and babies).
To combat that, I take teeny tiny curled up on the couch cat naps until my toddler jumps on my face or my newborn screams bloody murder and I do some musical free writing. When I get 2 minutes, I put on a song and let whatever pent up emotional nonsense I’ve got out onto paper. I wrote a couple of nice pieces to Neil Young this week, actually.
So when I came across the Buzzfeed article 7 Songs That Helped Me With My Anxiety, I thought I scored a handy soundtrack to some creative writing therapy.
Not so. Not yet. Because I got stuck on the very first song, What’s Going On by 4 Non Blonds.
Instead of my own words pouring out, all I got was theirs. But I’ll tell you what: I am not complaining.
I loosened up that mom ponytail, blasted the volume and sang “at the top of my lungs”, sleeping babies be damned (only one was sleeping. The other is watching Halloween videos on my phone and couldn’t be more invested in Spookley the Square Pumpkin right now).
It worked though. Color me stress free… for the next few minutes at least. My GOD but that song is restorative. They should sell the single as a self-help system.
Of course NOW the baby is crying and the phone battery is running low and I’ve got to put my hair back up into a convenient mom bun to prevent child strangulation, but for those 5 minutes back there, I was starting to feel pretty good.
More blog posts get written when I need to procrastinate than any other time in the history of ever.
I only wrote like, 290 word so far (which is only impressive if you see my stats from yesterday) and they’re not great but I don’t care. I just want to get them out. I just want to finish this damn story.
Part of me wishes I had started something new for Camp NaNoWriMo because I feel like I could be more excited for a new story with new characters that I don’t know so well yet. But I need to finish this one. I NEED TO. It’s driving me nuts.
Why can’t this woman just resolve her issues and move on? Why does she keep talking to me? Why do more things keep coming up? How far have I actually strayed from the original premise? Should I go back or just keep hiking this path and see where it takes me?
These are the things I’m thinking instead of just writing.
Today my son napped for 2 hours and 40 minutes. Guess how many words I got written in that amount of time! Just guess!!
I ate lunch. I did the dishes. I napped. And that, friends, is a productive day for me. Being pregnant is seriously harshing my vibe, yo. It’s crushing my spirit. And my bladder. And with a minimum caffeine intake, there’s no more magic elixir to keep me up nights (or days, apparently) writing my heart out.
I’m over here like, thank God I’m not puking my heart out because that’s the best I can expect these days.
Any other pregnant writers out there losing their groove?
I am a lump. I am a boiled potato of wasted potential. I am a mass of blankets on the couch repeating, “Bud, mommy feels yucky. Can you play by yourself for a little while?” every morning for the past 8 weeks*.
To say I “haven’t written much lately” is a gross understatement and I hate myself just a little bit for it. I’ve been hashtag gaming the same WIP for months now because I have nothing else to draw from. I’ve written down ideas but can’t get the story to come out. I’ve opened blank pages, and unfinished pages, and notebooks and still, I end up on Buzzfeed taking quizzes about food that tell me I’m 18 and single and will never have kids. It’s pathetic. And I’m tired of it.
So I signed up for Camp NaNoWriMo! I did it today. I don’t know what I’m going to write, but DAMNIT, I’m going to write SOMETHING.
Yeah! Take that, life! Take that low energy! Take that raging hormones and mood swings and that perpetual feeling of “am I going to puke or am I starving because I honestly can’t tell right now.”
Yeah… writing 50,000 words and completing a novel are two totally different things. I can’t seem to finish this bad boy. Call it a consequence of pantsing it, but I don’t really know what the point of this story is. I don’t know what the logical conclusion is. But I super duper want it to end so I can move on with my life and my projects.
Total word count so far is 53,182.