I was late to coffee again on Friday. Because I felt bad again… about not having much to report. I’m a terrible one for punishing myself about not doing enough, but this doesn’t achieve anything other than feeling more crap about myself. Now, I know we’re all at different stages in our writing lives, and maybe, just maybe I’m admitting (to myself, essentially) that it’s earlier days for me than I thought. (It’s faintly ridiculous to think I had nothing to report, since I wrote two short stories and a scene for the novel, plus whatever I’ve posted here!)
I do really want to write a novel – I can say that outloud now without feeling stupid or strange, or embarrassed or not deserving, which is huge progress for me. (It reminds me of the line in Pretty Woman where Richard Gere says ‘I was very angry with my father. It took $20,000 of therapy for me to be able to say that: I was very angry with my father.’ I know just what he means.) So yes, I do still want to write a novel, and I will, but I have to be in a little less of a hurry, I think.
At the beginning of the novel racers I got over excited and maybe a bit competitive with all the wonderful things that everyone is doing (and I love that I’m still over excited about all the brilliant things people are doing. I love that I can read my blog friends’ books and talk to my blogfriends about the way we’re all feeling and share the joy of different achievements: whether that’s finishing a chapter, or finishing a draft, or getting published). It feels an amazing privilege to have been allowed into your lives to share these things. This whole blog thing is just wonderful. And, sad (and Billy No Mates) that it may be, it’s incredible because I feel as though I’ve met people with whom I can genuinely be friends, despite the facts we’ve never met and that I’m out here in another continent.
When I started this race I said I just wanted to write, without constantly being challenged by my supercritical inner thoughts. In the past whenever I’ve said ‘I want to write’ it comes superglued to ‘but I’m not good enough.’ Admittedly, I usually keep this bit in my head. But I am finding the courage to say ‘I want to write’ and I’m attempting to have it superglued to ‘and I am trusting and courageous enough to try.’ Psychobabble? Maybe, but it’s working. Although the demon does still come into my head, I feel I am actually making some progress.
You know just in May I will have written somewhere in the region of 5,000 words for my blog (not all posted, but still thought about and written in a Word doc). In addition, I’ve written my article for my mate Carole every month; I’ve written emails home, and I’ve written one finished short story, and started two more. I am writing. Very, very slowly I’m writing bits of my novel (I’ve done one of those scenes this week too). These are my achievements, not necessarily the climbing word count I wanted, but this way is better.
I’ve often said I’m not sure that publishing is my desire: I’m sure in the long term it would be nice and maybe one day I’ll desire it beyond anything, but I do believe what I say about publishing at the moment because it’s simply getting ahead of myself.
Readers and fellow Novel Racers, I’m still in remedial class; I’m learning to write without those voices and that’s got to be done before I can write the odd 100,000 words. I hope I won’t cause you all to have a meeting and decide unless I’m positively, actively and definitely writing a novel, I have no business being here. Perhaps we could change the name to ‘Novel Racers (plus Remedial for JJ)?’ What do you think?