It is November. My belongings are mostly strewn across the floor of New Flat. There’s bubblewrap on the windows and tinfoil behind the radiators but it doesn’t quite keep the heat in. The fridge is full of things that can be made quickly – either added to pasta (mostly cheese) or eaten raw (mostly broccoli) – and the cupboards are too: we’ve got baked beans and instant noodles, pancake mix and more Chunky KitKats than any one person should eat in their lifetime. Social engagements keep being made and immediately broken: Don’t you know? It’s NaNoWriMo: I have no TIME for mortal human activities.
Everything is just as you would expect.
I am only a meagre PLURAL thousand words behind my daily target. I am vaguely disheartened. Being disheartened makes me reluctant to write and so I have involved myself in other things: I have crocheted an extra line to my Granny Stripe blanket (total: 2 lines); I have printed photographs I’ve been meaning to print for a while; I have made piles of lifeadmin papers to be filed at Some Point In The Future; I have finished How To Be A Woman and found it amusing and good in places but ultimately judged it to be lacking; I have planted basil seeds.
I have not written. Not really.
It’s all this Doing Other Things that’s the problem. All this ‘work’ I’m expected to do every day, which I dislike because it’s getting in the way EVEN THOUGH they pay me money for it. Not nearly enough, naturally. I check every month and there’s still no £1,000,000 bonus, though surely I’ve earned it by missing out on my calling as a Successful Author in order to administratize. They probably just keep forgetting. I’m sure it’ll turn up soon. Any day now.
The latest NaNoWriMo pep talk says that this is the week to be disheartened. Knowing that makes me feel normal again: I imagine NaNoWriMo participants all over the world looking glumly at their computers and eating too much popcorn, just like me. I think, we’re all in this together.
And then I think, I don’t want to let the side down.
And it makes me open Write or Die – just OPEN it, mind. Just to LOOK. And I might open it and think, well, why NOT try another 150 words? Another 250? Another 500? And I’ll do it, just because it’s THERE, you know, and if it’s THERE then I might as well give it a go.
The latest NaNoWriMo pep-talk suggests I do something ‘crazy’ in my story. It uses the word ‘kooky’, and talks about someone who last year sent all her characters off to the circus together. How nice. What a treat. Maybe I’ll send mine off, too. It might not work being that – on the suggestion of A Human – one of my characters just pulled a gun on another (the Raymond Chandler technique, I’m told), but hey, I could probably get some words out of it.
Which, it seems, is pretty much the point of week 2: get some words out. No matter if they advance the plot or not, just get some words out. You’re over the initial flush of excitement and are trying to settle down into the long slog that is The Middle Bit: you need to get some words out; keep writing; stay in the game.
Pesky Middle Bit. It’s pretty important. It’s always the part I forget to think about until I’m in the middle of it.
Time to get some words out.