Saturday, November 06, 2010
This first week of NaNoWriMo I felt like I'd gotten caught up in a secret conspiracy to keep me from writing. To give you the Reader's Digest version:
Monday: Go to scheduled doctor's visit, have unscheduled minor surgery, hobble home, write while ignoring new and mysterious jaw pain, pain results in sleepless night #1.
Tuesday: Go for emergency dentist visit, root canal not required (hooray) but if I don't stop stressing I may have to begin wearing a mouth guard to bed (whine), too wired to nap but manage a little more writing, stress over stressing results in sleepless night #2.
Wednesday: Protagonist #2 refuses to let me in his head, write three pages of utter crap, my voice fails, indulge in hours of more stressing over whether I've taken the wrong approach (but I didn't clench!), massive tension headache, sleepless night #3.
Thursday: Shift into "keep busy mode" while having mental knock-down drag-out with Protagonist #2, I win, try to nap but can't, later fall into temporary couch coma and sleep through my editing time, then can't sleep when I should, sleepless night #4.
Friday: Have to skip my morning writing to edit Thursday's pages, daughter decides to have emergency BFF sleepover, set aside writing again to get guest room ready, my guy takes a day off and wants to hang with me, set aside writing yet again, I consider moving to a hotel with internet access until Dec. 1st, imagine my guy making Thanksgiving dinner, cringe and decide to write this post until they all leave tonight for the football game (I'm staying home to write in what had better be complete peace and quiet.)
The unexpected hits all of us, and one thing I've learned as a person and a writer is not to let it burrow under my hide. Life is chaotic, stuff happens, and you deal with it until you can get back to the work. Or you don't and the work grows cold, gathers dust or is abandoned.
It's hard not to feel inadequate when we don't reach the goals we set for ourselves. Guilt and blame start to settle in and gnaw at us. We envy others who don't have to arm-wrestle minor surgery or jaw pain or sleepless nights on top of the work; it's tempting to hate those who are sailing merrily along while we flounder.
Stay out of that place, because it poisons you and the writing. Laugh at it, tell a friend about it, write a blog post about it. Treat yourself to a little first-week reward for having made it through because I assure you, you had it a hell of a lot tougher than all those merry sailors who effortlessly rapped out 20K. You didn't just write twenty pages this week, you probably fought twenty battles to write those pages this week.
I would have liked my first week of NaNo to go smoother and myself to be more productive, but it's done, it's past, and I have three more weeks to play. More than ever I am determined to have fun. Can't do that if I'm too busy being disappointed over what I now cannot change.
What was your biggest challenge this week? How did you deal with it? Let us know in comments.