Wednesday, July 27, 2005

1,214 words today so far

There is something happening: if I don't get up semi-early in the morning, I'm not in the mood to write. Today and yesterday have been hard days; maybe it's because I'm again in a spot where I'm not quite sure where my characters are going. I'm sort of 'winging it,' waiting for the right moment to come along where the *really* important plot twist comes and changes everything, knocks my character out of this little world she's made for herself and back into the fire. Maybe I'm scared of getting there, so I'm stalling. I didn't hit 2k words today. I had two sessions of writing, one before going shopping and one after. The first session only produced 442 words. Am I getting too caught up in the numbers?

At least I'm feeling my writing is getting better. But at the same time I'm more fully realizing that this draft is willy-nilly (and I knew this when starting out). I've sat here thinking, well maybe I want to change the entire setting - geez! I better decide this before the first rewrite. For now I'm thinking, NO. I'll keep it the same, and the setting I'm imagining can be for my NEXT project. At the same time I'm thinking my writing is improving, all the doubts are still real: I don't really know my characters, I don't really know how to carry out certain things, I'm scared of the idea of looking at the completed draft, of reading all the way through and thinking, "God, what the HELL was I thinking?? This is utter crap and can't be fixed!"

But I can try to get back to what I told myself before I started this book (with little planning, mind you, just an idea of a girl who I wanted to change by the end of the book): this is my first novel, I just need to write it! I need to know that I can do it, that I can write a semi-cohesive narrative that is novel-length. I've gotten tired of listening to myself saying, "Well I know I could do it, if I just wanted to." Actually doing it is a major difference.

And if nothing else, writing is actually getting me into reading again. For about a year, I read little to no fiction. I might start a book here or there, but didn't really carry through...but now I am excited about reading again. Which is really nice. But I still find myself wavering in my calling; thinking, Is this really what I am meant to do? Am I sure I shouldn't be doing something else? But then, alas, I can't think of anything else...

And now, reading over the first sentence of this entry, I realize: there are a lot of times when I don't want to write. Is it a bad sign that more often than not, I find sitting down to write challenging? There is this myth that writers need to get inspiration, that if the muse isn't there you can't write. I attribute most of my challenge to the barrage of insecurities I throw at myself every day. In the face of all those insecurities, I say "fuck you" and continue with my writing, feeling like a draft horse pulling thousands of pounds of weight behind her. I only hope one day that pulling all this emotional weight through everything will pay off in a published novel (just maybe not this one; I imagined *this* work being a "practice" novel). But I'm just beginning. I'll give myself time. I realize all this time I spent as a child and adolescent, and even as an adult writing, has been yes, practice, but also a lot of pussy-footing around; never completing anything unless it was for a class, etc. Always letting the idea that I'm not "task-committed" stick to me like a stigma that lets me make excuses for not finishing things.

On these hard days, I still comfort myself with at least being able to hit 500 words, the original goal. I comfort myself by at least writing at all. I'm way short of 2k today, but that's okay. I hope to have more energy tomorrow. And on the days when I'm writing good, feeling into the groove, knowing kind of what's coming next, I'm not going to let myself stop at 2k or slightly above. I'm going to push myself to 3k. Even though it's hard work, I love it. And one thing is for sure, my discipline is improving. And that's potentially the biggest factor in deciding whether I will become a published novelist or not; whether I can stick with the discipline of writing every day, whether my body/mind wants to or not.


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