Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Late again

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?


Helen said...

On my last post I wrote about my writing being a journey. It has taken me four years to realise that I wanted to write for a career and now I am in the process of doing something about it. All writers must be on a journey - you too - and we are all at different stages. I was speaking to a non writer friend yesterday about what she would do come September and she said she just wanted to get her life into a rhythm before deciding. And I think that goes for you too. Write your emails, your short stories and your blog posts. It's all writing and you are practicing all the time. Get into your rhythm. When you are ready to go for it with your novel you'll know. In the meantime – you’re still travelling.

Karen said...

Just saying out loud what you want and doing something about it is great. Thousands of people never get past the beating themselves up stage.

Nienke said...

I've had the same revelation and realized I want to enjoy writing - which I don't do when I'm focused on being published. And, I agree with you about the support and friendship there is in the writing circle of the cyber world. Good luck to you! Remember to ENJOY it! Whether it's writing a blog post or a scene for your novel, doodling on a paper napkin, or thinking about your characters.

sheepish said...

I'm with you absolutetly, what's important is to go at your own pace. I am learning as I go along and it's hard work but I'm doing what I want to do and you and I can keep each other company if everybody else finishes their novels before us.
How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. Same goes for anything else you want to do.

Angie said...

Blogfriends are wonderful encouragement in this writing journey, aren't they?
You took a stand and admitted you want to write, which is a huge first step, then you joined the Novel Racers, which reinforces that commitment. You should feel proud. (I didn't ask to join because I didn't want to hold everyone back - "you're revising chapter one again?" A bit chicken really.)

Zinnia Cyclamen said...

You ARE a novel racer; you are a writer. And, yes, it does take ages! I'm just starting on my third draft, and I'm two years in. I'd like to get my third draft done by the end of the summer but, again, I may be kidding myself. Also, quite a lot of writing goes on in your head; a good novel needs time to mull, marinade and mature. Any progress is good progress. I know some people can kick out thousands of words a day and write a novel in months, but I think they're fairly rare, and the rest of us would do well not to judge ourselves by their standards. You're doing fine! Carry on!

JJ said...

Hello everyone
You are all right, and for once, at last, I feel a sense of peace about the decision. I've felt a lot of panic, and emotion about it in the past but this time it feels like an epiphany. Much healthier.

Helen - it is a journey, just like the art was when I did that. I don't know why it's taken me so long to stop stressing and start just enjoying.

Hi Karen - very nice to see you here. It is surprisingly hard to say outloud. I've done enough beating up, and it's time to enjoy it now.

Hi Nienke - good to see you. Yes, being published is a hill too many to be considering climbing right now. The writing is the only thing at the moment. I know lots of people don't believe that I feel this way, but I do. I think that one day I will want to publish, but right now, I just want to write and enjoy it. It's meant to be fun!

JJ said...

Hi Sheepish - thanks honey. I do think everyone understand the feeling, mostly. I think there are people who don't, but it's my experience so it's up to me, yeah?

Hi Angie - Blogfriends are wonderful, yes. When I moved here I had a restricted pool of people to befriend, and although I found bookie folk, it's taking longer to find writerly friends, and that feels fine now, since I have bloggie writers!

Hello Zinnia - The story making, or developing does go on in your head, and as time passes thoughts enrich the ideas that are brewing. It's not that I want to get it done either really, it's the process that's rewarding.