distraction no.99

Nova Ren Suma | On Writing & Writing Distractions

Not an Author Newsletter… something else.

I’m sorry, but the writing is just really flat. I’m not sure how to get around this—keep blasting through? take a moment to think? (when? during work? on the subway? at night when I am too tired to move? between headaches?) start over? again? delve deep into my character, much-needed, get through to who she is and past all these doubts? give up trying to be poetic and write anyway? just type? just randomly type? as I am doing now?

It seems that not even NaNoWriMo can save me from myself.

Yesterday I wrote no words, so I’m a little behind. Today I am trying, but all I can think is Damn, this is no good. And now I remember why it takes me so long (years; I do not exaggerate when I say years) to write a real novel.

It might be the voice.

It might be that the voice isn’t working.

I might have to finish this draft in the third person.


But, really, where else do I go from here? I might try it.

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8 responses to “Flat”

  1. Give yourself permission to look foolish, to fall flat on your face. WOP (words on paper), baby, and worry about the editing and re-drafting later. I mean, good God, the nice thing about computers is that with a point and a click we can cut and paste, move text around, play with structure…and if it doesn’t work out, move everything back to where it was and go back to the drawing board.

    I disagree with the whole notion of NaNoWriMo…I think it’s an idiotic attempt by amateurs and wannabes to play at being real writers. But if you can use the concept to impart a sense of play to your work, get you started on something, I say go for it…

  2. I agree with Cliff, there’s a certain amount of not caring that seems essential for NaNoWriMo, which is tough if you’re a writer who cares…

    Yesterday I was way behind, and then I cut more than 1000 words (it was painful, but it had to happen) and then I took a break. I rethought a lot of things and then plowed forward again, and it totally worked. I had been ultra focused on production, not wanting to slow down and make sure I had my ducks in a row, but once I did, it helped, a lot.

    The other thing that’s helping is to think of this as an experiment – it doesn’t have to be perfect, or a masterpiece, or even good, it’s an exercise in production.

  3. Speaking as a wannabe and an amateur, I would say do whatever you’re comfortable with. I went back and redid the whole first three pages in a different tense, trying to see where the voice was meant to be. Then I went back and rewrote four of the scenes differently. At one point, I write “OHMYGODTHISSUCKS!” over and over again.

    Then again, I’ll be lucky to get a decent short story out of all the slop.

    I know this is hard for you because it seems to be going completely against your process…I’m sorry, but I hope you can get somethign out of it.

  4. I knew it was you, my love.

    Okay, so… it went a little better after I got that rant out above. Fact is, this isn’t easy. It’s a little crazy. It’s better to spend time. BUT who’s to say I won’t find a moment of something incredible in this month’s experiment? It’s 11/13 and I’m not stopping the experiment yet.

  5. Guilty Pleasures. That is the meme I am hereby tagging you with, something for you to think about in your spare time, maybe give you some writing inspiration, perk you up. Described in my Wednesday post.

  6. My mom, who is also a writer, gave me the best advice on how to approach NaNo. She said to think about it as a rough draft. Like notes on a napkin. I bunch of ideas to rework later. That works for me. It would give you the liberty of exploring things, not being so caught up with how things “should” be and taking risks that you wouldn’t take otherwise. Hope that helps somehow.

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