So I Wrote a Novel…and Then I Avoided It Like the Plague
And one day, when I’m mere ashes being transported in a tacky vase to my destination of choice (my reading chair, of course), they will rifle through my meager possessions to find a two inch black binder covered in a thin layer of dust and decorated with geometric coffee rings on every other page.
There will be notes in red ink hastily scrawled along the margins: Geez, time travel much? Get Strunk and possibly White, this grammar stinks! Schedule mammogram. Look up spelling of
onomonopea omonomopia. Bread, milk, canola oil, trail mix with cherries, toothpaste. Thank you note to Grandma. Who is this character? If I don’t know, is he needed? Unnecessary side plot. Pay Visa.
As you can see, I have the attention span of a sugared-up hamster after consuming a box of powdered doughnuts. Even less, because the hamster at least finished the box of doughnuts, which is more than I can say for the editing of my novel. National Novel Writing Month was fan-friggin’-tastic for pushing me to write, but it turns out, when the month was done, I was still left with me. Procrastinating me – rationalizing every missed opportunity and every interruption as impossible to avoid, when all I’m trying to avoid is facing this 50,000+ word train wreck.
And check it out, I’ve taken more time to write blog posts about my novel than actual time editing it:
Every day I plan to work on it. By a half hour in, I’m ready to scoop litter boxes. That doodoo would be easier to deal with than this bog of words into which I’m sinking. This morning I’ve been distracted by a very large spider crawling across the ceiling overhead. There’s the sound of a train in the distance. Emails are making my phone vibrate. My daughter just broke into a coughing fit while sleeping in the other room. Dogs are barking good mornings to each other across neighborhood fences.
My brain is cycling through 15 different writing projects, none of which include my novel. Problem? I’m not sure I want to fix it. It feels like a shoddy investment – I’ll fix it up and flip it, like a starter home, but I have never settled in and said this is the kind of story I want to tell. Sometimes, as a fellow writer pointed out, you just have to get the garbage out of your system before getting down to business. Oh. My novel has become a bad relationship – I’m sticking with it, because I’m afraid nothing better will come along. And maybe, just maybe, if I keep at it, things will change.
I’m the perfect unpaid writer. I write on whims and random thoughts. Word count goals got me to the table, but I’m too busy wondering if the table is pressed wood or if it came from an oak with a long history, mowed down to satisfy corporate profit and if corporations really do own us now and if they do, what’s the point of having a fake representative government….uh, where was I?