Last year at this time I was zooming through what I hoped would turn out to be My First Novel. The goal was 50,000 words by November 30. I ended up somewhere around 70,000. I also wrote "The End" at what was actually the end. It felt pretty amazing.
Of course it wasn't a GOOD novel, or even really a NOVEL, but it was a start and I was proud of it and I didn't hate it or get tired of it and I've been working on it all year long. I was halfway through the third draft sometime in mid-October when I decided: Oh God, this is terrible, this is a very bad idea. Confidential to my writing group: it was possibly a very bad time to start a writing group.
It was, as many first novels probably are, a fictionalization of a personal experience. An extreme fictionalization, I hasten to add. It really WASN'T a memoir with different names, or even therapy disguised as a YA novel. But I started to think I wasn't cool enough, smart enough, edgy enough, brave enough, interesting enough to pull it off. And while my kernel of an idea was, I think, a decent premise for a YA novel, I didn't know how to put my characters at risk, or have them do things I didn't want them to do, or become unlikeable... and really that's just so ME, to not want to get in TROUBLE.
And then you look at what's on the YA shelves and you think (if you are me): oh dear. I do not want nor do I have any business writing about Issues. Or vampires, for that matter.
So it's not just my parenting I feel doubtful about lately. And I look at this heap of words in a word processing program I bought especially for The Novel, and I tell myself that it's not so bad, this is the most I've ever worked on one project, the longest I've stuck with something and gee I sure have learned a lot in the process. It's okay to move onto something else. Shouldn't I be writing middle grade stuff? That's more me. That's more my speed. Right? Maybe? I'll think of something else. Then I realize I can't think of something else. And if I do, I'll probably just do the same thing to the something else that I've done to this project: give up.
Oh, what depressing drivel from someone who ate cookie dough for dinner!
I think, if I were able to peel away this ridiculous Generalized Crisis of Confidence I'm currently undergoing or whatever, that I would still like to work on this "novel". Because it's kind of fun, because it's an escape, because sometimes I think I pull a good line out of nowhere, because sometimes I think not everyone wants to read about Issues, maybe they just want to read about themselves.
But right now I am tired and anxious. I get to talk to my husband once a week if I'm lucky. My kids are awesome, but one of them waits until an hour past bedtime to go poo and the other doesn't nap. I've stopped caring about what I eat (obvs) and I have rotting pumpkins on my stoop and I don't think I'm going to run tonight because it's almost nine and I'm beat and Molly is STILL singing to herself in her crib. I can't go hang out in the garage with earphones and the noisiest treadmill on earth if the baby monitor is continually flashing because Molly is on the eightieth verse of 'Wheels On The Bus'.
Writing feels... like another thing I'm behind on.
I loved NaNoWriMo because I HAD to pull it out. I HAD to keep going or ELSE. And sure, it was horrible and ridiculous and nonsensical, but I kept making things happen. That feels like the biggest difference for me right now: I feel completely out of things that happen.
Oh you guys I have about ten million more things I could say about this writing thing, but I fear it would get REALLY out of control, you know, all philoSOPHical-like and no one wants that and only half of you are interested in writing-as-a-thing-you-do anyway and did I tell you I ate COOKIE DOUGH for dinner? That's something you can't wait to do when you're a grown up, but when you actually DO IT as a grown up it means someone should probably arrange the intervention.
So maybe I will end this dreary little post with a note that Jack was much nicer to me today and I to him. God bless preschool and sisters who have the afternoon off and choose to spend it hanging out with you and your little monsters. God also bless the fabulous women who comment on my blog because SERIOUSLY, I really appreciated your not-advice-giving super-kind made-me-feel-so-much-better words. And my husband just instant messaged me tonight asking me (RHETORICALLY) if I might one day want to move to the city he is currently holed up in (RHETORICALLY) because he could see himself working for the company in this locale (RHETORICALLY) and you know how I'm always talking about how I am married to Seattle, they will have to crowbar my body off the Space Needle before I move? Well GOSH if I'm not sitting here thinking about moving (RHETORICALLY) to where Phillip is currently and what that could possibly be like. (RHETORICALLY). (OMG GO TO BED ALREADY.)