Nothing like being a week into NaNoWriMo and feeling mostly like a failure. It’s not really productive to feel that way but I do. I’ve never been great at November NaNoWriMo — I think the last year I actually won it with a brand new project was five years ago. The only other time I managed it was working on Bittersweet, and even then I didn’t finish it.
For some reason, I’ve been better at writing in the summer. But that’s not a productive attitude either. This was a rough week personally. It was a short week at school which meant the students were particularly annoying. I learned I was being moved out of the long-term job a week early to move to a new long-term job — which is great news. Except now I’m stressing out about learning a new curriculum and meeting another 70-80 new students in the middle of a crazy month.
Add to all of that Broken Girl doesn’t seem to want to be written — or that I’m just not feeling up to it. And I don’t know why. I think it’s similar to the problems I had writing Mad World last year — I had a huge barrier getting past the chapters where Brooke was raped and then committed suicide. Book 2 was such a dark, twisty book for me to write that it took some time for me to get through it.
Fool Me Twice was supposed to be my break from that. A complicated book that didn’t delve into dark things like that. It’s a soap opera plot with memory mapping and identical twins. It was supposed to give me a break. But it wasn’t working. And I wanted to do a fresh project for November. Maybe I should have stuck with FMT.
But that’s also not a productive thought. I didn’t stick with it and I’ve switched Broken Girl in the schedule. And I need to write this story. I’ve had it in my head for five years. It needs to be written. Maybe I just don’t feel confident in my ability to write a story about domestic abuse. Maybe I don’t feel ready.
This is the story of Elizabeth’s deteriorating marriage — but it’s falling apart because of Lucky’s growing dependence on drugs and his anger towards her, his lack of love towards Cameron. He’s an emotional abuser that’s going to tip over into physical abuse. And I need to write scenes where Elizabeth takes the abuse and believes, in some ways, she deserves it. This is the story they flirted with in 2006, but they never pushed Lucky as far as I think he could have gone. He did become physically abusive and he stayed emotionally abusive for pretty much the rest of the time Lucky and Liz were a couple. It’s hard for me to write this version of Lucky sometimes because I used to love this character. Lucky and Liz were my first OTP and it took a long time to let go of them.
But I think I just need to acknowledge my issues and then work on getting over them. I put a lot of pressure of myself to make the first version of the scene the best version — it’s a hard habit to break that goes back to the days when I posted every chapter as I wrote it. I know I can go back and rewrite. I’ve done that for Mad World and Bittersweet. I know it works. I know I’m happier with this process. I just haven’t really learned to forgive myself and be kind to myself as I write the first draft.
But as my favorite author, Nora Roberts, always says: You can’t fix a blank page. She also talks about not getting writer’s block. Writing is her job, and plumbers don’t get plumber’s block right? I can’t quite match that attitude, but it’s a healthy one. It’s easy to say writer’s block is the problem. It makes it sound like an exterior problem. Not an interior one. But I’m not blocked. I know what I want to write. I’m just worried that I write will be crap. Nothing new there.
Time to stop whining and get back on track.