My angst started unexpectedly, easing toward my brain through an unknown backdoor.
It started on my drive home from a night out. My husband had taken me out to watch the Costa Rica vs. Trinadad and Tobego Women’s CONCACAF soccer semi-final. While we munched on chicken wings and watched the game, I was in one of those top-of-the-world moods. My writing had progressed consistently for three months, with my first novel well underway and ideas for two, maybe three more percolating. Creative, kind people are sharing ideas, reading my work, and providing encouragement. On this emotional high I decided to challenge myself further and was sharing my decisions with my husband.
- I’m signing up for the National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), where I am committing to write 50,000 words in November, which is the equivalent of The Great Gatsby (in words, not quality).
- I am going to write a completely new novel.
- I am going to write it using Scrivener.
Because I work full-time, I need my husband’s support to achieve my November goals. We’ll be eating frozen foods and I won’t help much with cleaning and laundry (what else is new?). I am fortunate, because my husband not only supports my latest whim, but helped me brainstorm how I might get derailed:
- We calculated the hours available and discussed how the Thanksgiving holiday might impact my goals.
- We discussed how to avoid immersion in Scrivener’s bells and whistles instead of writing (I am a techie, after all).
- We talked about the challenge of writing without editing, a skill with which I struggle (I just edited this sentence…).
Then, on the way home, with a plan in place and the support of a great guy, the angst slipped past my prefrontal cortex and took my amygdala hostage.
“What are you thinking. You can’t even finish one novel, much less start and finish a second novel. And you’re going to ‘extract’ a plot-line from your current novel and turn that into a complete novel? You sure know how to make your life complicated. And what’s this about learning a new software? In a week? Your nuts. Can’t be done. Not without you getting completely distracted. Whatever. Go ahead, but now you’ll have two unfinished novels and a wasted month. Rah-rah. Aren’t you amazing.”
Luckily, I recognized my inner critic, who is a rather caustic friend. She must have been vacationing for the last three months because she had been very quiet. She returned when I frightened her by my plans to step out of my safe box. She always shows up when it looks like I’m going to mess up my neatly organized life.
Before confronting my nemesis, I needed to recharge my creative battery. So yesterday, after enjoying breakfast with friends, I spent the rest of the day on Antique Alley in Northwood, NH, driving from shop-to-shop, and enjoying art and re-purposed pieces. Discovering that most antiques are dark and dreary, I made it my mission to find colorful and shiny artifacts to brighten my day and pull me out of my funk.
By the end of the day, having spent little other than my time, I felt recharged and ready to confront my inner critic.
Not much of her criticism was true. I assured her that while it will be difficult, I will overcome my techie nature and my unstoppable editing; and I will write an average of 2,000 words a day. It won’t be easy, but I will do it. On the other hand, I decided my inner critic was right about one thing: extracting a plot from my current novel is not wise. Instead I will write a fresh new novel, one that has been plaguing me for years.
With my creativity fully recharged, I am now ready to prepare for NaNoWriMo. Because your support has been crucial to my writing, I invite you to journey with me. Starting November 2nd, my Sunday and Wednesday posts be short updates on my My Writing Journey. I’ll share with you my stressors, my creative rechargers, and perhaps some of my better-written paragraphs or chapters.
I hope you will join me.