The first weekend of NaNoWriMo was about facing up to my own miserable excuses and the deceptions that I put up for the world. After all my bluster and pushing other people into noveling for the first time and gloating about my own success last year, I woke up on November 1 in dread. My story skeleton wasn’t in place, not really. And what good are all the conversations about Plot, Conflict, Character etc, if you don’t have a story?
I plodded through creating a Word Document and spent one hour deciding what font I’d use through the month and how I wanted my Table of Contents to look. Then I told myself to stop wasting time and write.
Then I went online to look for names for my character and spent another half an hour clicking through sites. Then I told myself I was making excuses and shut them.
Then I went to Twitter to rant about this and to ask for help. No one responded and I realised again that I was wasting time.
Bored with my own excuses, I made it back to my Word document. I struggled through the next half an hour and what I wrote seemed to have no connection to the story idea I had in mind. But I put it aside, proud that I had started something and I went out my Saturday evening. I went for a walk, ate some panipuri and dahi-vada (which usually makes me feel happy), walked a bit more and then wandered into Prithvi theatre. Refusing a kind elderly gentleman’s offer to share his table, I sat down at the base of a tree and opened my laptop. Then I ordered a Suleimani chai and balanced the laptop on my knees. How very Indian hipster, right? Cutting chai, Macbook Air and Prithvi cafe. I actually did manage to write. Not a lot though. After awhile I just shut the laptop and went over to the proferred seat. The gentleman had left though so I sat around and looked at everyone else around, hoping to soak in some inspiration. Within a few seconds the waiter was asking if I’d go back to the tree since there was a group waiting. I grmphed at him and got up and left. When I finally got home, I decided to at least update my word count — the first such update this year. And to my absolute dismay, the NaNoWriMo site wouldn’t let me do it. Hundreds all around the world must have been trying to do the same thing! Or maybe the universe was telling me that I hadn’t worke hard enough to attain that reward yet.
I began Sunday morning with my writer’s group session. The first thing I heard was one of them tell me that he had crossed 5000 words. I hated him vehemently then. Another girl, a newbie looked serene and said it would all work out. I wanted to bang my head on the table and quit. HOW WERE ALL THESE PEOPLE MANAGING WHILE I WAS JUST ABOUT SURVIVING??
I came back home, watched TV, ate lunch, exchanged barb-jokes with a friend over chat and then decided to meet another for coffee. Anything to keep that dreaded document away. I got home around 7:30 so it was too early to shrug and say that it was too late. Sighing I opened the Word document and wrestled with it for another hour.
By the end I had barely written 500 words. But I decided to call it a day and acknowledge my effort. So I logged into the NaNoWriMo site to update my word count. This time it did let me update though the abyssmal figure a little over a 1000 stared balefully at me.
Today though has been better. I woke up on time, ate on time and got to all the right things on time. I took several work items off my agenda, went for a walk, spoke to friends and sent out some invoices (another activity that always cheers me up since it chronicles how much tangible work has been done and how much money is due to come in). When I came back from my walk, the friend who was to meet me cancelled. I decided that this was the universe’s way of telling me,
“Look I know you’re really struggling with motivation and distraction. So here, I’ll take one off your plate. Work with me, will ya?”
I opened the Word document determined to break past that dread I’ve been feeling over the story wandering off in a strange direction. After all, I hadn’t even completed Chapter 1. Maybe I could just jump to Chapter 2 and come back to Chapter 1 later. But even as I typed ‘Chapter 2′, I realise it was such a niggling little bit left that I’d rather plow through it and finish it.
And would you believe, I did? When I checked the word count, it was 2191! And just like that, I broke through my dread. 😀