Welcome to NaNoWriMo! Or so it says. I don’t know that ‘welcome’ is how I feel. Daunted? Yes. Intimidated? A bit. Motivated? I’m working on it.
The idea is that you write a 50 000 word novel in the month of November. So I signed up. My sister is doing it too, so she’s my writing buddy. Never mind that I’ve never wanted to write a novel particularly. My leaning is definitely more towards non-fiction than fiction. But the site asked all kinds of questions about my novel so I chose a genre (Literary Fiction), a working title (Kalahari Rain?) and a name for my main character (Phyllis). And here we are on Remembrance Day, 11 days into the month, and instead of being my usual self who can happily write 1000 words an hour, I am now stuck on 2066 words in total with no idea where to go next. Suddenly, even accomplishing 150 words a day has become a struggle. My talent for procrastination, always pronounced, has achieved epic proportions. The fridge is emptying at a rapid rate. My desk has never been so clean. And I have never taken quite so many turns in Scrabble on Facebook. I find myself joining conversations and commenting on friends’ posts on Facebook when I haven’t seen or spoken to them since primary school. I check Twitter obsessively. I feel the urge to call people I haven’t spoken to in months, mostly because we have nothing to speak about, all in the name of avoidance. And the part that scares me the most is that in pursuing this goal, I have become my mother!
My mother is one of the most creative people I know and an incredibly talented artist, but it takes more work to get her to paint than it does for her to actually finish the painting. I have always wondered why it was so hard for her to get going, but now I understand. And I find that I cannot blame her anymore. Now I know just how bad it is to be disturbed during the day. When I have laid careful plans and structured my time, the phone rings. I get an email that’s not urgent or important but suddenly seems that way. I have drunk more tea in these 11 days than I have for the past 3 months combined. I am awash with tea. And my blog has joined the list of possible distractions. I justify it by saying, ‘well, at least I’m writing something’, but that isn’t really helping me achieve my 50 000 words.
I understand that distraction and procrastination are the constant companions of the creative person, so I’m working hard on being more disciplined. In the meantime, I think my cupboards need sorting…