Thursday, October 31, 2013

Last Post Before NaNoWriMo

National Novel Writing Month is not coming a moment too soon.

Currently, I am floating on the flat, listless sea of writer's doldrums, not jazzed at all about the upcoming keyboarding marathon.  I was so excited a couple of days ago.  What happened?

Occasionally, I suffer from the most intense lack of confidence imaginable. For years, I have tried to pinpoint the source of this numbing mindset. What an exercise in futility, because I found out that it doesn't matter why I slump.  It doesn't matter that I sometimes hate what I write.  It doesn't matter that I feel utterly uninspired a good deal of the time.  It doesn't matter that there are probably deep, underlying causes for a visitation from the lumpen lethargy goblin who bumbles in through a window and lolls about, discouraging me from doing anything that requires fortitude. His special focus: "Writing? Are you serious? And really, an entire month?  Who do you think you are, anyways? A writer?  Give me a break!"

The hardest thing I've had to learn over the last two years is this: the more uninspired I am, the more crucial it is for me to write.
NaNoWriMo is important for writers like me because I have made a pact to write approximately 1667 words per day.  I used to think word counts were kind of stupid, but that was back when I waited on inspiration to write anything, even the nuts-and-bolts-yeoman stuff.  Inspiration is a frothy, ethereal thing.  Lovely and necessary at different times, but it can also be misleading.  What writer has not had the experience of writing a couple thousand words, thinking, "Oh, this is good.  Yes, indeed ... this is just amazing!" only to look the next day and see all kinds of problems.

Inspiration is a fair-weather friend. Perseverence is the virtue that holds us close for the long haul.

Perhaps on the morrow, inspiration will make a little visit, but it won't keep me from writing those 1667 words if she doesn't, because perseverence never lets me down.

And a happy and blessed All Saints Day to everyone!


  1. "the more uninspired I am, the more crucial it is for me to write." Oh. My. Goodness. Yes, discipline can overcome even the worst of the writer blahs. It's like marriage ... easy when you *feel* loving and lovely, but it's when you remember to be kind even when you are a gargoyle that makes it last forever.

    A happy All Saints Day to you too! I cannot express this properly at all, but I am giddy with joy being in this big Christian family where we pray for one another. Nothing is impossible!

    Happy writing, Rosemary.

    1. I'm getting my little slip of paper ready with the names of all our dear ones who no longer "see through a glass darkly." My husband and I are going to Mass at 5 p.m. tonight and I'll hand it to Father then; it stays on the altar for the month of November. Tomorrow, it's off to the cemetery to spend time with my parents and grandparents.

      Thank you for your friendship and encouragement, Vijaya. Sending hugs from this Northern branch of the big family down to you and yours!

  2. I'm going to repeat what I wrote as a comment on another blog about NaNoWriMo:

    "For me, NaNo is a big NaNo-No!

    I wish the best to all who take the plunge, but I'm gonna sit this one out, thank you very much. I already beat myself up over not writing enough -- I don't need to add the pressure of an accelerated, artificial, and arbitrary goal to the burden. :)

    I'll take my November self-flagellation in my usual smaller daily doses..."

    But I'm hoping you have a tremendously positive experience with it. You absolutely have the right attitude: I also love the line Vijaya quoted. It's positively the right way to approach it. I wish you much success!!!! And I also offer a prayer for you to defeat the lack of confidence: You are a child of God and can do all things through Him!

  3. So your little dinosaur is singing: "NaNo Nah-Noh! NaNo Nah Noh! Hey, Hey, Hey ... Go-od bye!"

    Your prayers are GREATLY appreciated. I have to keep remembering the tendency to proclaim oneself to be lower than dirt instead of seeing oneself as a child of God is a kind of perverse pride . As C.S. Lewis said of pride in The Great Sin (from Mere Christianity ...) " The other, and less bad, vices come from the devil working on us through our animal nature. But this (pride) does not come through our animal nature at all. It comes direct from Hell."

    Okay, my friend ... time to bang out in an accelerated manner under artificial lighting on this gray New England day my arbitrary 1667 word count!

  4. I signed up for NaNo. It was carrot I needed to push myself forward. I'm always looking for "buddies" to add to my NaNo writing buddy if you need another one :).

    1. I would love to be a NaNo buddy, Johnell! On NaNoWriMo, I am Ima Lil Ryder. I only have one buddy now. I'm still trying to figure that out on the NaNo site ...

  5. aMEN! I think the best thing my mom ever taught me was all those times I said "But I don't wanna!" and she cheerfully said, "It's okay to not want to...!"

    Being able to efficiently, productively, maturely not-want-to seems to be like, the whole secret to adulthood as we know it. And that certainly includes book-writing.

    So I guess what I'm saying is, way to not-want-to, ma'am. Your fortitude is an inspiration to us all!

    (Speaking of not-want-to, I totally don't want to fill out this captcha thing. This is so meta!)

    1. I wish my mom had said, "It's okay to not want to ...!" By jove, Tex ... THAT right there is the missing piece.

      I had no idea I had captcha settings. I think I fixed it ...

  6. Someone said that energy begets energy (the more active you are, the more energetic you are) and I honestly think it's the same for writing. For some reason, the act of writing every day whether you're feeling it or not makes it feel more natural...and over time, it feels a little like breathing. If you overthink it, you really do just make it harder on yourself! But it's hard for someone who is a perfectionist--because there's always something that can be improved in everything we write.

    1. So true, Stephanie. My mom, may she rest in peace, was a wonderful gal but she taught us that feelings were facts and if we went against how we felt, we were being phony. (She always wondered why we were such obnoxious teens and young adults.) I have to say to myself all the time: "Okay, Ro, you FEEL this way, but you have to write. (Or clean or cook dinner or fold laundry, etc.—you get the picture.) That's why I'm loving the NaNoWriMo of it all; I've made a pact with myself to not edit anything and man, I'm having a ball!