Avoiding the issue, or, musings on inadequacy

Fuelled by cup upon cup upon cup of hot, sweet tea as well as plentiful minutes of gazing, unseeing, out of the window, the frantic NaNoWriMo author tried desperately hard to find that elusive inspiration which struck such a mighty blow two years ago and yet is providing nothing but the slightest tickle this time around. Last time the words tripped merrily from the Author’s fingers almost faster than she could type them, and she paused only for necessary refreshment. This time, her fingers feel stiff and uninspired. Her mind is full of other things that she feels she could be doing, the urge to bake cookies and flapjacks diverting her attention from her previous vision of literary acclaim.

So what is the matter with her? Verbosity has never before been a problem for her. Eleven months of the year she manages to successfully ignore the call of the housework; why should November be any different? She tries lists, mandated time given over to typing, mandated time given over to not typing, even more cups of tea, rewards in anticipation of progress made (flapjacks, mmm!) but to no avail. The manuscript does not grow significantly fatter. The author remains a day behind target. Even blog posts, previously easily rattled off in just a few minutes, grow cumbersome and awkward to write.

Maybe inspiration is at the bottom of the cookie jar? Or the back of the fridge? Or hidden underneath the chocolate bar in the cupboard? Maybe a walk to the local bakery or sweetshop would fuel the creative juices?

She looks back over recent events to seek fruitful thoughts to commit to the page. The bang, crackle and hiss of the previous evening’s fireworks bring no more colour to her mind than the proverbial damp squib. The power to express the pleasure she felt in watching her son make rice crispie cakes has vanished; this will have to wait to be recorded another time. The marathon baking session of the previous day and the pleasure that was taken in eating the fruits of that work has escaped her memory. All she can think about is her word count, and how it stubbornly refuses to grow. Ten thousand words, her target by the end of her sixth day of writing, grows ever more distant.

The dull realisation creeps in, depressingly akin to the feeling of waking up and realising that today is the first day of the working week and there are many days to get through before the weekend, that maybe this year the NaNoWriMo winner’s certificate is not for her. Not for her the glory of the purple bar on her word count, signifying that she has made it to 50,000 words.

But no! She will be strong! She will persevere! She will type her way through this early slump in confidence and power on towards the finish! Her finished manuscript will be a work of such profound insight and depth that the literary establishment will marvel at the raw ability of this rookie novelist. The world will be her oyster (although she’d rather not have to eat any, thank you all the same) and the sky her limit. She will prevail!


7 Responses

  1. Take the day off, missus. Eat flapjacks, go for a walk…clear your head. Tomorrow is another day! 🙂

  2. What did you do with the one you did last year?

  3. Suzy – problem is, I pretty much took yesterday off for baking and bonfire night purposes. And also, flat out panic crowds everything else out of my mind if I fall behind with the word count! One good day, get myself ahead by a couple of thousand words, and I’ll calm down!!

    WPT – it was the year before last (I’m pedantic, I know!!) and I didn’t do anything with it. I printed it out, meaning to read it throgh and edit it, but could never bring myself to do it! So, it’s buried in a folder on my computer somewhere.

  4. You daft sausage!

    1) Step away from the cookie jar and the fridge. Hide your purse!

    2) Deep breath, chill out, stop trying to compete with your previous efforts

    3) It’s not an essay, you won’t get marked down if you veer off topic.

    4) Think of 5 totally random objects and find a way to work them into today’s word count.

    5) Take another deep breath and relax this time!


    PS I saw you look at the cookie jar….. Bad Jennie!

  5. I kind of had a feeling it was the year before last. I apologise!

  6. Well- how was today??

    Can I also say that Jo calling you a daft sausage made me spit out my coffee with laughter earlier- thank you Jo! 😛

  7. I don’t know about spitting out coffee with laughter, I could quite cheerfully spit at her sometimes 🙂

    Today was sort of OK (have a look at the next post I wrote! It is, I swear to God, what happened today. My life in full technicolour madness!). I wrote loads of words but I’ve just established that I wrote nearly fifteen hundred on my blog today. I really need to learn to focus so that I can get the NaNovel done. I’d written 50,000 words by the end of the ninth of November in 2006, but somehow I don’t think I’ll finish that quickly this year! And I have no plans for it to be a long book, so reaching 50,000 words would do me very nicely!

    I’ve nearly got to 12.5k words now, so I’m a day and a half ahead of myself! Yay for wiggle room!

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