Monday, November 1, 2010
How do you write 50K words in 30 days? With kids. And a FT writing job. And a Boyfriend who likes to hear your voice from time to time. And other projects due, like website content and competitions to keep you in the game. And sleep. Well, ok, we'll let that last one go, cuz it clearly 'aint happening.
Yes, folks, this is yet ANOTHER blogger writing about #NaNoWriMo. What can I say? Peer pressure is a bitch. And now, only the threat of public failure is keeping me from crawling under a rock and deleting my whole online identity (which for you NaNonites is KimberlyKinrade if you want a buddy.)
It occurred to me while discussing with my Significant Other the merits of Halloween, that it really is a writer's holiday. Think about it, to be brilliant at the whole writing thing, you have to tap into some pretty dark shit right? Even if you're not Stephen King, who, let's face it, is scary as hell. Actually, hell probably redecorated after reading King.
But seriously, writing real characters, even if they live on imaginary planets and worlds, requires us to go deep into our own pain, fear, misery, loathing, etc. By putting pen to paper we exorcise our own demons, and animate those skeletons other people keep buried under their skinny jeans and clothes-I'll-some-day-fit-back-into in the closet. (Well, if I wanted something to stay well and truly hidden for all of eternity, that's where I would bury it. Just saying.)
All the other holidays have this kind of peppy Disney gloss about them. We ignore the whole how-we-made-all-the-natives-sick part of Thanksgiving. (At least here in the States.) We sing about a fat men in a red suit and his sweat shop run by midgets in green for Christmas. (Freaky, that.) We (and this one is...huh?) celebrate a bunny ---a bunny people--- hiding eggs everywhere for Easter. Ok, some of this is starting to sound more frightening than the Day of the Dead, but you get the point. Halloween is when we let our monsters out and take them for a ride. We scare each other with the dark side of humanity. We tell STORIES.
What's the Point?
Neil Gaiman's genius #AllHallowsRead, for which my children will grow to experience as more cemented into their traditions than bunnies laying eggs.*This I vow*
But...but. It's daunting. Yes. It is. We can all admit this. Even if you could lock yourself in a room for 30 days, naked and with just food and water and your writing implement of choice, it would still be daunting to stare at a blank page and make it dance with lives and worlds yet unsung and untold.
So, here is my inspirational cheer for all of us insane enough to embark on this journey.
Drop by Drop, Bird by Bird, and Word by Word
In Anne Lamott's book "Bird by Bird" she says writing a novel is like driving across country at night. You can only see a few feet in front of you, but you can make the whole trip that way (but presumably only if your headlights are working.) She also describes the night as a child when she procrastinated and had a HUGE paper do on birds. Surrounded by books she cried to her father. He said "Honey, bird by bird. Just write it one bird at a time." Or something like that. You can read her book for the exact quote and a ton of other great shit on writing and life.
So, to all who write this month. JUST DO IT! (Nike is paying me to say this.) To all who don't write, but still read my blog, this wisdom applies to lots of stuff. Even doing dishes. (I have actually thrown out dishes and/or cookware when my appalling cooking had destroyed something beyond my desire to clean...but even then, bird by bird I could have gotten it cleaned and put away.) See how reading my blog can actually save you money and make you wise? Tell your friends!
What task overwhelms you to the point of tears and incoherent mumblings of a madman? How do you cope?