Wednesday, November 2, 2011

NaNoWriMo and Fear

Wow, I've been away from Ye Olde Blog for quite a while, writing like crazy and wishing that I was writing something other than whatever I'm writing at the time. I went to DragonCon and attended a number of fascinating writers' panels. I had been planning a long blog post about it but never quite got to it. To sum up, I:

Met Wil Wheaton - twice
Heard a number of interesting sci fi and fantasy writers speak about their craft
Dressed up like Tom Baker and danced to classic rock of some kind
Talked with other writers about publishing, short stories and copywriting
Squeaked oddly and yelled "holy crap!" at Gates McFadden
Made some concrete plans about writing fiction and getting onto those panels some day
Got my picture taken with Wil Wheaton
Demanded a business card from Brent Spiner
Apparently got my picture taken with some guy in a Boba Fett costume
Took notes on publishers that the panel writers talked about favorably
Stalked Wil Wheaton
Listened to a bagpiper

Now that the con is over and life has returned to normal, I have NaNoWriMo to contend with. The concept is to write feverishly without editing along the way and to get a novel of at least 50,000 words at the end of November. Last year I threw my hat in the ring and got to a miserable two pages. This year I am determined not to slink away in shame when November is over. To get myself motivated to really work on my fiction, I did something unprecedented.

I went out in public and talked to actual people. I went to a local NaNoWriMo meeting and discussed my novel with other aspiring novelists. The basic goal of the program is to write at least 1,667 words a day. It's now early into day two, and I have about 950 words.

Thinking about 1,667 words seemed like such a ridiculous goal. I can write 1,500 words for clients in about two hours. I once wrote a 10,000 word ebook for a client in one day. Piece of cake. I write all day, I can handle it.

I can't handle it. The words are coming so slowly, with every new paragraph staring at me with teeth bared. This is the writing that I have always wanted to do. All of the non-fiction that I've been doing for money was just until I could write fiction. I could pretend to be all into product descriptions or corporate writing so that one day fiction would be my living. Except, I haven't been pretending for a long time. Non-fiction has taken over so much of my life that fiction seems strange and unnatural.

When you write non-fiction, you put up a wall and write with a bit of a veil in front of you. You aren't inserted into the text at all. When you write fiction, your soul slips into it and says whatever it needs to. And if what is written isn't good enough, I don't know if I could stand it. That's the fear that's kept me back for a long, long time. I'm still not sure how to get over it. People write novels every day, and they don't put their entire identity and self worth at stake. Do they?

This first couple of pages in front of me is just the start. I'm going to push this beast until it can't push back, and I'll have a novel at the end of the month. I hope.

No comments: