Novel writing…DAY fucking 7. Fuck.

9:21pm

I just spent the last five minutes literally banging my head against my desk. I don’t know what to write. I don’t know what to write. I don’t know what to write. This is too huge of an undertaking. To write a whole damn novel. Let me tell you, it has NOTHING to do with the time frame of thirty days. It’s the actual writing. To create a whole story that makes sense across hundreds of pages. Novelists are the most genius, strong, enduring of all artists. I don’t think I have what it takes to join their ranks. I know should be keeping my cool and not admitting all this to the world, but I need to vent! Maybe working bacon wrapped hot dog promotions the rest of my life wouldn’t be so bad.

11:17pm

I survived. I did it. 1,701 words. It really only took two hours, much of that time was agonizing, but really–what’s two hours a day for thirty days to write a novel? I miss screenwriting. But I don’t miss bacon wrapped hot dogs. Or mini flying helicopters. Or the other random shitty single-serving jobs I’ve been working lately. Sigh. Tomorrow I will outline. Hopefully that will help with the angst.

Writing a novel DAY 5…

…things are starting to get interesting.

Yesterday when I did my writing at Solar Cafe on Cahuenga, I felt the usual “I don’t wanna, this is too hard!” And it IS hard! Especially since I’ve been writing screenplays for the last year, being back at prose feels like slogging uphill through mud on a windy day with 1,000 pounds of stones on my back.

But then, about 600 words in, interesting things started to happen. Suddenly, a receptionist appeared on the page, a receptionist who’s obsessed with soap operas. A boss came to life, named Mr. Chow. I didn’t intend to write about these people when I sat down, and the fact that they appeared out of nowhere, and I then had the power to dictate their fate made me feel like…God. Hehe.

Then I my order of sweet potato fries arrived, and I wasted a good 15 minutes munching away.

About to start today’s writing. Wish me luck.

11:29pm…checking-in/procrastinating

Only at 655 words. This is dumb. This is too hard. I don’t know who these characters are or what they want. I hate having to make so many decisions. I make decisions all day, now I have to invent a whole world and decide who does what and goes where? Wah wah wah.

11:33pm

No, this is fun. I’ve decided this is fun. I’m trying to write about the protagonist’s mother, a major character and the central source of conflict in the story. This is cool. I get to make up everything about her, her past and her clothes and what she wants and what she’s afraid of. That’s pretty cool. Think I’m going to go eat a Butterfinger.

12:08am

1,147 words down, 520 to go. I can do it. I can do it. Butterfinger stuck in my teeth. My “colleagues” are all present and accounted for…my cats Chairman Meow and King Alobar and my dog Peter. I just asked them what I should write my last 520 words about. They offered no solutions.

12:30am

Just shy of reaching my daily 1,667 by a few hundred…but I gotta get to bed. I’m attending a panel at UCLA Extension bright and early  tomorrow about the screenwriting industry. Sleep!

 

Monday I started writing a novel. I will finish in 30 days.

Is it possible to write a novel in 30 days? Is a person crazy to even try? Follow my blog for the next month and both questions shall be answered!

I’ve signed up for the National Novel Writing Month challenge, to write 1,667 a day for 30 days, which equals 50,000 words, which equals a novel by the end of the month. I’m taking a class at UCLA Extension in conjunction with the challenge, as an extra layer of assurance I actually finish. We met twice before November commenced to talk about what we’re undertaking and the obstacles specific to trying to write a novel in 30 days–burn out, making time in your daily schedule for writing, how to deal with friends and family members thinking your’re crazy, etc. Now we meet every Monday in November for “writeshops” where we do nothing but write. The whole crazy concept, called NaNoWriMo, has been in effect since 1999, and there are hundreds of thousands of people around the world who are signed up (check out http://www.nanowrimo.org).

So it’s now Day Three of the challenge, and I’m doing…mediocre. I have a good idea of what I want to write, though the Wrimo people suggest just going for it balls to the wall and not really outlining or planning. Not planning. My personal nightmare.

The first day I exceeded my word count by a couple hundred…good start. But yesterday…well I worked promoting bacon-wrapped hot dogs from 7am to 7pm and was so knackered when I got home I only got in like 83 words. So behind on the second day. Just finished the word count for today, so that’s good. But now I’ve already got to make up that second day. Sigh.

I think this will be a fun journey, although right now I’m feeling a bit stressed out. The whole concept of NaNoWriMo is to 1.) Have a deadline–writers are famously excellent procrastinators, and this forces us to just bust out a creative work of length in one go; and 2.) Accept the reality of Shitty First Drafts and go for quantity over quality, thus silencing the inner editor and leaving the writer with that first messy bulk of a story necessary to ever revise, rewrite, and polish the turd into gold.

These are proving to be difficult concepts for me. I vowed I would go at this challenge with much whimsy and nonchalance, opposite to the usual slave-driving motivator I usually use, Determined Erin. But not knowing where I’m going in this story is frustrating and confusing. I think I’ll make an outline. Outline?


Fear, frustration…Back to writing after a long break.

Sigh. Today I am back at writing my screenplay after a month long break, thus I am experiencing all the usual frustrations. Dammit! I always feel this way, like I have to work through all my anxieties and bullshit towards writing all over again: This is stupid, I’m not a good writer, No one will want to read this, How do I even do this?

The answer is to not take so long a break, to never take a break really. But projects that seemed more pressing took precedence–make this website, shoot my short film “Loop Holes,” write and perform the Delusions of Glamour Stage Show.

But this is my eternal problem towards writing. To be a writer, you have to write. Sounds insanely obvious, but it’s all to easy to spend a lot of time talking about writing, reading about writing, writing your ideas down, but not actually doing the writing.

I’ll be okay after a few days, a few days of sorting through my fears, pumping myself up that my ideas are good, my execution shall suffice, my endurance will prevail. And then there will be those magical moments, when just the right word comes out of me, a perfect character detail will occur to me, and I’ll feel back in the flow and all is right in the universe. Basically, I’ll feel like a writer again, and thus, I’ll feel like me.

Until then.