Friday, November 9, 2012

Off the Grid...

I've reached the Dreaded Week Two (DWT) in NaNo.  The week where you question your sanity; your intelligence in thinking you can write a sentence, let alone a novel; the week where your mind becomes your worst enemy and fiercest, cruelest critic.

In 2009, my first NaNo, I gave up in DWT and stopped writing for nearly four days.  Alan, my head cheerleader and positive attitude adjuster, convinced me to forge ahead, even if what I was writing was crap, or made no sense: just keep writing!  Encouraged, I plowed through and finished 56K by the end of the third week, a week ahead of schedule.

2010 was a wash.  We had just moved to America, Alan got sick in November, then Ozzy nearly died, spending a week in doggy intensive care hovering on the brink.  My DWT never happened that year because I didn't have time to write, between dashing from doctors to vet hospitals and back again.  By the time the dust had cleared, it was Thanksgiving and there was no way for me to catch up.

A few months later, Alan was gone, and by the time NaNo rolled around last year I wasn't sure if I wanted to participate.  After I got back from a visit to Edinburgh in October, I started this blog, which gave me the incentive to join in again.  For some reason, I didn't even notice the Dreaded Week Two, and wrote right through it, finishing well over the 50K Thanksgiving weekend.

This year? 

I sat down yesterday afternoon, wrote my way past the elephant blocking my plot, then came to a complete and utter stand-still.  Mind parasites wiggled and chewed, boring through my confidence, eating my self-esteem, voraciously munching away at my foundations.

Taking a break, I wrestled with quitting, because, really, who cares?  What difference does it make in the great scheme of things if I write or don't write?  I walked the boys to collect the mail, thinking I was going to throw in the towel.  At first I felt okay with it.  I could relax, stop putting myself through all the pressure, sit down and read some good books, fire up the camera. 

Except.  When I got home, and looked at my work, the research notes, the stickies with plot changes, weeks of excitement waiting for November...I couldn't do it.

I thought of Alan, and what he'd said to me in 2009, his gruff Scottish accent urging me on, telling me to just write, keep putting those words down.

I didn't write more yesterday, or go back to it last night.  I had too many thoughts in my head, and needed to dose those mind parasites with some serious Bugger Off juice.  I reviewed the plot, mentally moved a few things around, added a good twist that came to me out of the blue, then settled on the couch with the boys and read a book for the rest of the evening.

Today, of course, I'm very behind in my word count, have to rework a key thread in my story, and am still a bit weakened by the assault on my confidence.  So, I'm dropping off the grid, taking the weekend away from the blog, from any outside intrigues, from the internet.  I need to push through this malaise, come out on the other side of the Dreaded Week Two, and get back on track.

I'll return on Monday, but for now I want to find my place, get better acquainted with my characters, listen to what they're trying to tell me.  Because giving up is not an option.  I learned that from my head cheerleader, and thankfully his words came through for me, loud and clear, yesterday...

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