It’s Day 3 of NaNoWriMo (the challenge: write a 50,000-word novel in 30 days), and I am having the usual early day struggles. Because I don’t plan ahead, I have to do a lot of brainstorming and heavy thinking between writing sessions. In the past, I’ve had my story idea arrive as late as November 1st, and found myself scrambling to catch up.
This year is no different. All through October, I was happily looking forward to the creative chaos I knew was coming in November. I was hoping to plan ahead a little, but whenever I looked over my list of story ideas, nothing spoke to me. I had to dig through old notes regarding stray ideas until I finally found one that made me go “Hmmmm”. By then of course it was Halloween night, and November was mere hours away.
The first days of a big project are always hard. I stare at the computer screen and realize I have no idea what I am doing. I remind myself of what little I know (I’m writing science fiction, and I’m stealing some details from Grimm’s version of Brier Rose, aka Sleeping Beauty, to generate a story.)
I pick a name out of the air and start writing.
The words come slowly at first. My ideas are hesitant to show themselves, but I keep typing. I ignore the bad wording, the clichés, and the unoriginal ideas. I try not to listen too closely to the argument the teenage girl is having with her parents. It’s about evolution. I’m pretty sure everyone has their facts wrong and that it’s mind-bogglingly dull. But I don’t stop.
Starting a new writing project requires a huge leap of faith for me. All through October I kept thinking “I have no idea what I’m going to write this year” which was followed almost immediately by the thought “No worries! I’ll figure it out when I get there. Something always turns up.” It’s astonishing to me that I have reached this level of faith in my muse, that I can count down the days to the moment of starting, totally uncertain as to what I will be writing about, and still start.
Experience tells me it will get easier. As long as I keep showing up every day and writing whatever comes into my head, all will be well. Eventually, the ideas will fly like feathers in a pillow fight while I type as fast I can to keep from losing a single one.
But those days are not today. Today I have to leap again into the Dark Unknown of my story and take pictures with a flash as I fall. I hope I get some interesting images.
In case you didn’t get the earworm from this post, here’s C+C music Factory performing Things That Make You Go Hmmmm…. A nice dance tune for Monday. Enjoy!
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