Writing woes and July’s Camp NaNo

Announcing your participation in NaNo events is meant to help you along by increasing your levels of guilt and tapping into your desire to avoid public failure, so here’s my announcement! I’m participating! I’m setting myself a small, manageable goal, because then my chances of going beyond it are high, and every one of those “extra” words will be a sweet little nugget of success. Sort of.

I feel guilty about how little writing I’ve done these last two months. I’ve had the time, I just haven’t had the energy or right state of mind. Terrible excuses, I know, but there they are. I’m going to use this second round of Camp NaNo to help me bash out another chapter or two of my confusing mess of a novel. I’ve started on Draft 1.5. It can’t be called Draft 2, because I never finished the first draft; I just needed to start over. My protagonist didn’t have enough personality and I was experimenting with too many tenses and voices and perspectives. The present tense has been happening the most naturally for me, which I find surprising and a bit worrying, because I’ve heard that a significant number of readers are hostile towards it and, more importantly, I’m not sure if I’m going to be capable of successfully sustaining it throughout the entire novel. I have to move forward though, so I’ve chosen to write the whole thing in the present tense and I’m sticking with that, at least until the end of this draft. Which is currently nowhere. Really, nowhere.

I so badly want to get this silly story written, but I’m suffering from something that I’m sure a lot of wannabe writers experience at one time or another. I’m going to call it Intimidation Lethargy: the feeling you get when you’re extremely aware of how many people want to do what you want to do and how many of them are actually doing it and how many of them are better at it than you are, and more productive, more experienced, more involved, more connected, more driven, more well read… and then you just want to curl and up and sleep because you’re a failure and you’ll never be good enough and your novel is a mess and why bother at all? And then you realise that, at some point, you have to bother because if you don’t, you’ll be sad and filled with regret and self-hatred growing like prickly weeds in the fertiliser of the fact that you Didn’t. Even. Try. Possibly a totally inappropriate use of the second person there. Is this a universal truth, or should all those yous be Is? I’m not sure.

This week I’m doing work experience, and I’m too out of practice with rationing my energy to allow productivity in the evenings after full days at the office, but I’ll get into the writing next week when the job hunt resumes. I intend to fight back vigorously against the Intimidation Lethargy and I intend to emerge victorious, with a chunk of writing to (not) show for it.

Hopefully all this oiling of the writing cogs will lead to a bit more blogging too, because I have a lot I should say about life and London and all the pies and pigeons and picturesque parks that come with it.

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6 thoughts on “Writing woes and July’s Camp NaNo

  1. Oh gosh I get Intimidation Lethargy so badly! SO BADLY. I’m glad you’ve given it a name.

    I just finished When the Sea is Rising Red and I LOVED it and it was in first person present tense. I found that added an element of tension. I think it would really work with your story actually. Please send me chapters again! I really want to know what happens!

    I should get back into writing too. I always feel most at peace with myself when I’ve been writing, even if what I’ve been writing isn’t much good.

    After reading When the Sea is Rising Red I saw on the GoodReads page that Cat posted a link to a song that went with it, and then I ended up buying an album by the group on Nokia Music Store (only R40!) and this was one of the songs. It made me realise (and by “it” I mean both reading the book which is so much the kind of thing I’d like to write that has been written by someone living in my country at about my age AND the song) that my writing is… pickles. Well listen to the song, I’m sure you’ll get what I mean.

    It’s my new mantra now: “That’s not a story, that’s a pickle”.

    • Aaah, thanks so much for sharing that. 😀 I love it! I also really enjoyed Cat’s book! It inspired me to get out of my writing slump a while back. I fell back into the slump later, but I’m climbing out again next week, if everything goes according to plan. I will send you more chapters when I have something coherent. Thanks! 😀 How’s your writing going? I want to know what happens in your story too! Shit, I wish we were in the same city so we could have little writing meet-ups and crank out some words and drink tea together. 😥 Miss you lots!

      • Yes that would be fantastic. But maybe we wouldn’t get writing done, we’d just talk the whole time. I so badly want to come visit you in London and go to museums and drink lots of tea and explore parks! And go harry pottering and catch trains and and and well just spend time with you! Sigh. But one day perhaps 🙂 And it will be all the sweeter because of all the waiting.

      • It would be the most amazing thing ever! Hopefully one day it can happen! At least you can factor free accommodation into your plans, even if it’s just our inflatable mattress. xD ❤

  2. Oh, I know what you mean, my friend! When I get sad/stressed, the last thing I feel like doing is sitting in front of my computer and writing something. My brain just goes into permanent nap mode.

    I’m so impressed that you’re doing NaNo – you’re going to do so well!

    So much love to you!

    • It’s so frustrating! My brain also just goes to sleep. Don’t be impressed about NaNo yet, I haven’t written a word! 😛 I’ll keep you posted on that one hehe. Love to you too!

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