For almost a year I’ve been in denial. There’s a number of reasons why, but basically I’ve ignored the gnawing urge to attempt a full length novel because the very thought terrifies me. What if I can’t sustain the narrative? What if I’m just filling space? What if the work is rubbish?
Yeah. It’s those chummy doubts again.
They quickly turn into Why am I wasting my time? Why did I think I could do this? Who am I kidding anyway?
Luckily for me, during that almost year, I did a number of things to train (and trick) myself into letting all that go. First was a commitment to write every day. Some days I struggle to get fifty words. Other days the work pours out of me. Second was doing NaNoWriMo last November. The project I chose was a genre novel. Set in my own made up world, I found I was able to write very quickly, without much concern for quality. I had a lot of fun and I made the 50K word limit easily. Of course, if I decide to develop that manuscript, I know the real work is yet to begin.
Fast forward to April this year.
The gnawing had started to become an irritation. A particular character from one of my short pieces hadn’t stopped talking to me since September. So I decided to join Camp NaNoWriMo to see how much background work I could get done. I managed a small amount, but still resisted committing to a novel.
But now, I can’t put it off any longer. This bug has infested every fibre. I can’t get through a single day without thinking about it.
So, I’m revisiting Camp NaNoWriMo in July. I have about 10K words floating around already, but they are little more than musings and a beginning, which will likely not end up being THE beginning. I’m still attempting the full 50K (new) words though, because I want to push through to the end of a draft.
Last year I bypassed my censor by writing something pretty much off the top of my head. With this project I will eventually need to pay more attention to things like realism and the first person voice that drives the narrative. But I don’t want to get hung up on all that straight away. I also have a tendency to reword as I go, so I’m using a program that hides my work and stops me from editing until I’ve reached a pre-set word count. Hopefully the narrative will keep ticking over and I’ll gain the luxury of ‘playing’ with various plot points, characters, etc. as I go.
I hope that by tricking myself into not caring about quality, I will find a few previously undiscovered little shrooms that will multiply. If I’m lucky, they will be the ones that grow the story in interesting and unexpected ways.