I spoke a bit about how vulnerable I am with writing my guide to being a freelancer, but as part of the talking through process I realised that there was a bit more too it, than just what I wrote about – worried about people being mean, impostor syndrome etc. I feel like this is a confession, so here we go…..
I have always wanted to write a fiction book.
Eek! It is out there now. I love books, so very much, on my recent holiday I read 14 books in the ten days we were there, I love reading, it is vital to me and it always has been. But I have always wanted to write my own thing. But I have been too scared to, I worry that I lack the imagination. That I am going to be rubbish, that what I write is going to be rubbish and I am never, ever going to be able to write as well as my favourite authors. EVER. It is so paralysing I can’t think of what to write!
So I let the fear stop me from doing what I want.
After all, it is better not to have tried, than FAILING right? I hate any thought of failure or embarrassment, this is why I get into such a mess in exams, why I can’t watch comedians where they pick on the audience or anything else along those lines. I just cringe, want to curl up in a ball and die of embarrassment on their behalf.
Well, I have decided that I am not going to put up with this any longer. I am taking part in Camp NaNoWriMo, which is the summer version of the main programme. In July, within the boundaries of July, I will write my novel – or at least 50,000 words of it. I bought myself a copy of No Plot, No Problem to read why I was on holiday and it fired me up. In fact while I was away I had an idea for a novel and I have just done a tiny bit of research around it and gradually, more and more ideas are coming to me, and I am scribbling them down in my soulbook.
So why have I felt able to do this now? Well talking to a therapist helps! Being honest with myself helps and I truly think that my illness has made it really clear to me that I need to focus on what is important to me, and this is important to me.
I also found No Plot, No problem to be reassuring. It talks about the absurdity of writing a novel in a month, how ridiculous it is and as it is so ridiculous you cannot have any expectations of the outcome at all. It iis really a case of quantity over quality.
a novel rough draft it like bread dough, you need to beat the crap out of it to make it rise
They talk about how with an artistic project we need a deadline, it is far too easy for us to keep putting EVERYTHING else first before our creative selves. I know how much happier I am since I started playing the flute and ukulele again, as well as my soulbook. Doing NaNoWriMo effectively creates a crucible, out of which will be a huge outcome, a pouring of words.
Anne Lamott (I love her writing) talks about shitty first drafts – and I think I have always had this idea that what flows from my pen (well touch typing) must be pure gold, worthy of Neil Gaiman, otherwise I am not going to do it. So the idea of shitty first drafts is appealling. As is the idea that if I have pushed it through in a month of course it is going to be shit, what else do I think it will be? That, it totally freeing!
An author that I really enjoy Anne Lyle, wrote her first draft during the proper NaNoWriMo in November. I find that heartening.
“by giving yourself the git of imperfection you tap into the realms of intuition and imagination that your hypercritical brain normally censors. These are the left of the centre dialogue exchanges and strange character quirks that end up forming the most memorable and delightful parts of your novel”.
So, who is going to join me? For Camp NaNoWriMo, it doesn’t have to be a novel and you can set your own word limit, the idea is though that you have to set a target and work towards it. We start in just over a week!