My NaNoWriMo faceplant

My NaNoWriMo faceplant

It started so promisingly.

I really wanted to do the NaNoWriMo marathon, I had an idea for a book, and I sketched out the plot in the last days of October in preparation. I kept on track with my writing for just about a week, and then a wild writer's block appeared! I did a faceplant.

Writer's block is serious business. There's several different kinds, and I know what kind mine is.

It's not the blank-mind, staring-at-the-computer-screen block. I know the rough outline of my story, and I know how I want my characters and plot to unfold in this chapter and the ones following.

It's not the desire to procrastinate by continually editing. Okay, not entirely. I had been doing a decent job of only going back to add in or tweak scenes so my later ones would make sense--but nothing huge. I promise.

It isthe feeling of inadequacy. Inferiority. That's the first part of the issue, the oh-my-goodness-this-is-predictible-trite-crap-that-nobody-will-want-to-read and my-writing-style-is-crappy kind of writer's block. And I can't get past it. Plus I fear that anyone who reads my story-in-progress will now only say, "It's fantastic" in a very kind but inaccurate effort to make me feel better.

Now, I know that if I just push through and splatter electronic letters all over my story, I can go back and edit it, paring it down to what's important and necessary, and adding more descriptive passages to help establish a sense of place and emotion.

But I still can't push past that anxiety. Yet. Of course I've lost a whole week to this already, and I kind of doubt I can write another 39000 words by the end of Nov 30th.

My hopeful, logical part still want to see this story come to fruition, so even if I don't make the NaNo deadline, I'm going to try to keep writing at it on a regular basis, but the anxious part is really digging in its heels.

What's the other half of the writer's block about? It's the same half that causes writer's block on this blog, sometimes. It's intimately entwined with the feeling of inferiority. You see, I sometimes (often) talk about my family, trauma, pain of loss, and recovery on here. My story is similar. It's fiction, though I've channeled some of my memories into it, including the protagonist's father's entire way of being. I started out just fine writing the first several chapters, but then suddenly the switch flipped and I have no interest in writing.

Sometimes writing it out makes me feel better, because I know it will help others realize they are not alone, the same way others' writings helped me to know I am not alone. And I like to envision this book as an encouragement story, a story of independence.

But sometimes I still have that internal negative voice. That I'm whining if I write about my past yet again. That I really should have "gotten over it" by now. Same goes with this book.

What's my plan for beating back the writer's block monster?

The first step was acknowledging it.
The second step is to try to ignore the haterz and ignorant people's monologues that my mind dreams up. And don't listen to the people who actually do make such crappy comments.
The third step? I'm thinking about having someone read it and ask me questions, so I know what my plot and character weaknesses are. I tend to be too self-conscious about my fiction writing, but if I have someone provide a reality check, that might help me move forward. Just like how my friends provide a supportive reality check to help me realize when I am being reasonably emotional, and when I'm perceiving something to be bigger than it is.

I may not "win" NaNo by Dec 1st, but I hope to be a finisher. Maybe by Dec 31st. Or Jan 31st. Just the first rough draft, before I start polishing it up.

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