I’ve become just a little bit of a writer-obsessed person. Not in a totally bad way; my children haven’t forgotten what I look like yet and Boatman hasn’t updated his Facebook relationship status to ‘widowed.’ (Aside- is that an actual status?) but my shoulders are screaming at me in agony because of all the typing, and my wrists have just given up complaining, and started building new muscle. I appreciate that. 😉
The thing is, I can’t stop. Not just yet anyway. It’s not even about the fifty thousand words required to ‘win’ NaNoWriMo; it’s about finishing the story, and perhaps, more importantly, saving my main character.
Now without giving too much away of my story, let’s just say that for the past week I have been a little bit frustrated. You see I spent the first ten days of November, backing this girl into a corner so that she had to make some kind of decision. And she didn’t make the right one. (Do story characters ever make the right one?) And so since then, I have been desperately trying to find the time to save her from this choice. Once she got to the point where she would accept saving of course; it’s not just black and white. 😉
It seems crazy, I know, but I’m so invested in this fictional character, she might as well be a person for all my concern. I can see, almost taste, her freedom, it’s so close, and I just want her to get there. Not having quite enough time to help her, is a more than a little bit frustrating.
Couple this with the fact that on Sunday I thought I had lost the plot; both literally and figuratively. My story had wandered off on its own and I was trying to work out how to reel it back in, (got it sorted now 🙂 ), and personally I was just feeling a little bit lost and down on myself.
It happens from time to time; more often than I would like, and I was finding it hard to pull myself out of it. Some days wallowing seems a perfectly good option in itself.
Not that it usually is, but anyway.
So I was down, my character was lost, there wasn’t enough time to save her, and I felt all stuck trying to help myself, and suddenly the light dawns that maybe the two are kind of related. Because as I’ve been writing, more and more I’ve seen myself emerge in this person, despite my absolute best intention to make her nothing like me. (She’s a musician for starters and me? Well we’ve all seen my music videos…) And I realised that part of my desperation in helping her, was maybe actually to help myself. And that losing the plot was not so much a story issue, as it was my heart issue.
Because not only is this made up person whose story I am telling, deserving of being saved in the end, but I am too. I just struggle to see that sometimes.
At the top of the NaNoWriMo log in page, there’s the line, ‘the world needs your novel.’ I like that line. It’s all inspiring and empowering. I read it and I’m like, ‘yes! Yes it does!’
Except now I wonder if I actually need my novel too. Because despite the fact that at the moment it’s like 80 thousand words of me basically talking to myself, it turns out that when I write, I do a much better job of listening. My heart seems to flow best through made up people having discussions in bars, and talking about music, and wondering how on earth you get yourself out of the mess that you hate, but also kind of love a little bit.
Sunday night, I was little Miss Emo at pretty much everything; angry at me for not being perfect (cause that’s reasonable of course), and frustrated with a story that had been working really well for me, and yet now every word felt like a battle. It was enough to make me not like it very much an more.
Until I remembered that I kind of love this story. And I kind of like myself too. And if one is worth fighting for, then the other definitely is.
Sometimes I feel like I’ve written this post a hundred times: Jess gets down, Jess realises she’s worth more than that, Jess has an epiphany, and Jess moves on for a little while.
Lather, rinse, repeat.
It could be disheartening.
Except that most change happens slowly, in increments over time, Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither is really good self-confidence. But I’m getting there slowly, surely, finding the point and the plot all at once.
I’m worth that.