Day Two of NaNoWriMo was a bit of a bust. My first writing session on Day One got off to a bumpy start. I tried to attend my local NaNo event. Life and family came first though and I didn’t arrive till pretty late. There was barely anyone left there writing, and those who were mentioned their thousands of words written already and were mostly chatting. Loudly. And then the room we were in was also an area for used book purchasing. Suddenly, after maybe 45 minutes there, hordes of college aged hipsters (yes, hipsters) began to mingle and search for used books. Loudly.
I felt awkward and silly. I’ve always done badly with social situations. Really badly. I had gone hoping to introduce myself, jump right into the group, but once presented with the situation I felt so, well, ridiculous. Why? I don’t know. I may try to attend a future event, but arrive on time or only fashionably late instead of ridiculously so late no one else is writing anymore.
The writing I managed to do, a mere 500 words or so, I hated. Even as I was writing it I said to myself “This is not the tone I wanted at all. This is not the way I wanted things to start. This is totally a chapter I want way later into things but now I’m writing it at the start and it’s hard to not remember I wrote this and try to start again. AARGGGHHHH!!!!” I came home and wrote more. I got up to 2K words, and I did manage to jump back in time and do a new start. I actually felt really good when I closed the laptop for bedtime on Day One.
Then Day Two arrived. I brainstormed in the shower, which is really the best place to brainstorm. I came up with what I thought was a super amazing idea!! I wrote it in my Novel Brainstorming Notebook (also super important to brainstorming). Then I went out with the family for lunch. And we ran errands. And we got home. And I thought more about it. And I thought even more about it. And then I realized it was dumb. What a dumb idea. So cliche. So done. Like, lots of times done. Plus, I probably stole it from some book I read. Because I’m not capable of original thought.
Then bed time for the baby came. And I was free to write. So instead I browsed NaNo forums. I tried to find posts to give myself motivation to just write my stupid idea. I mean at least then I’d have my word count. Instead I just browsed my time away, till I was passing out tired. And I went to bed. Without any additional NaNo’ing.
I also chatted with a friend during the forum browsing. I told him how I was having anxieties and fear, imagining that my novel was so stupid no one ever wanted to read it. Let alone have it published so I could validate my existence with being a Super Famous Writer. I then realized I am constantly trying to validate my existence with things like this. I have to prove that what I’m doing isn’t a waste of time by having other people think I’m amazing. I do this at work. I drive myself insane trying to do extra work so that my manager notices and tells me what a good job I’m doing so I feel like my time spent there in the right way and my life is somehow meaningful. Now I’m doing it with this novel. I’m even afraid to tell people I’m writing it. I think my family would say they want to read it when it’s done. And then man, what will they think of me when it’s a pile of drivel?!
My friend said I should put the worries aside and just write the book I want to read. I’m still working on letting go of my perfectionism with this project. Now I also have to let go of the validation psychosis. I’m really just seeing how crazy I am. I guess that is sort of good. Maybe if I actually follow through and do this I’ll be committing self-therapy and be less crazy. Actually . . . doubtful. Okay I take it back. I’m not crazy. I’m a child of a generation that expects instant results and minimal efforts for those results and bases identity and worth on being able to be perfect without trying.
I can overcome this! But now I have to figure out, really figure out, what is the story I want to read that I can write for me? My current ideas and characters are riffs on my life. Characters closely related to how I am, the obstacles I currently feel in life. But they will get to overcome them. They will get to live in a world full of fantastical happenings they never even knew about, but get to be involved in, and love, because they open their minds to the possibility. When I write it like that it almost sounds cool. But the actual logistics are bogging me down. And my inability to write in the tone I want (comical and light and tongue-in-cheek) is really frustrating me. I guess, practice practice practice? I better stop this post then and go off to practice in my NaNo space instead.