The latest pep talk for Nanowrimo is not what I needed right now. And I need a pep talk. I’m feeling the week 2 blues set in. I was so excited to see that they had one up on the website, and I’m sure it helped someone move forward amidst some writers block. The thing about Nano, though, is that I don’t usually get writers block. I get writers block when I am worried that everything I’m writing is crap and won’t fit the tone of the rest of the novel. I get writers block when I don’t know how to write a scene and I desperately need it to work. In short, I only get blocked when there are stakes.
There are no stakes in Nanowrimo. There aren’t. However much you’d like to believe that you’re the next Hemmingway, I will have you know that your current novel is not up to those standards (that’s what editing is for). You should also know that’s a GREAT thing. It means your next line of prose doesn’t have to be genius. You also never have to show your novel to anyone, ever. All the “her troubles melted into the fondue pot of life”s and “their eyes met across the crowded room and stuff”s, all those horrible clichés, and the twelve adjectives you used to describe each thing; all of those are between you and the blank piece of paper. The blank piece of paper isn’t talking. There are no stakes
For me this time, there is only the realization that I hate these people a little bit. I don’t know why I decided to spend a month with them. He’s too nice. And why does he cry when she leaves? She’s going to help her country. He shouldn’t cry, he should be angry that she won’t listen to reason. Only he isn’t angry. He’s this warm, supportive, wishy-washy guy. And then there’s her, and she is such a reluctant revolutionary. She’s supposed to like excitement. The baby is supposed to be more than a glorified purse that she carries around and has to make sure she doesn’t leave at restaurants. The leader of the resistance is supposed to be the one that’s reluctant, but he seems ever gleeful to send everyone to their death. At least Dad seems to be the asshole he’s supposed to be.
I know. It’s week two and we all feel this way. Every year I’m ready for it and make fun of the week 2 slump. But I’m always surprised by how genuinely I hate my novel. This isn’t “ha, ha. I’m over the thrill of week one.” This is honest loathing. I’ll get over it. I’ll feel proud of myself by the end of week 3. But how to charge forward through week 2?
I don’t know any way to do it except to put my butt in the chair and do some uninspired driveling. So that’s what I’m doing.
But I sure could use a good pep-talk right about now. Perhaps I’ll read Neil Gaiman’s (again) for the 1000th time. Or perhaps I’ll take my inspiration from Shannon Hale, who said that if engineers can land a probe on a comet, surely I can do something so simple as meet my word count goal…