“When I face the desolate impossibility of writing five hundred pages a sick sense of failure falls on me and I know I can never do it. This happens every time. Then gradually I write one page and then another. One day’s work is all I can permit myself to contemplate and I eliminate the possibility of ever finishing.” John Steinbeck
This is where I’m at with respect to writing a novel in one month. Except less positive and more in touch with the ‘sick sense of failure.’
Thus, to motivate myself through this ‘adventure,’ I’ve combined Mr. Steinbeck’s wisdom with that of Alcoholics Anonymous and the Starship Enterprise. My mission statement has come out a little something like this:
Focus on one day at a time, explore strange new worlds, and boldly go where no wo/man has gone before…or die trying.
I printed it out and stuck it on the bathroom mirror, but if that doesn’t provide sufficient oomph, I may have to move on to writing myself a manifesto. A manifesto that can hopefully be worked into the book so as to satisfy the quantity of writing required for the day. Or a manifesto so long it becomes the book. Like the Communist Manifesto, but without the words bourgeois and proletarian. And with a philosophy wherein I still get to keep some private property, like my dog and my clothes. And that doesn’t require me to emulate a crazy Karl Marx hairdo (acknowledging that barring the unexpected, I cannot grow a beard.)
And now you see how I can spend two hours in mock debate with myself or digressing about things that have nothing to do with anything and not writing the great American (or whoever will have it) novel.
Who came up with this NaNoWriMo thing anyway? And why did I think it was a good idea? It’s like a marathon…except much, much longer. With a marathon, at least you know that in five hours you’re either done or you’re going to be hit by a car when they open the course to traffic, which will render you done.
But like any ‘no pain, no gain’ discipline, I acknowledge that it’s unlikely that I will smoothly transition to a successful writing career if I don’t actually write. That only happens if you’re a celebrity with nothing to say, and they probably give you a ghost writer anyway. However, once in a while, they don’t, as evidenced by these horrifying attempts at ‘poetry’ I found while Googling “celebrity books bad.”
From Charlie Sheen’s poetry book, A Peace of My Mind:
…Teacher, teacher, I don’t understand,
You tell me it’s like the back of my hand.
Should I play guitar and join the band?
Or head to the beach and walk in the sand?
Ouch. Can poetry actually hurt you or did my appendix just burst?
Suzanne Somers chose free verse for her book of poems called Touch Me. If you thought the internal monologue of the woman behind the Thighmaster might be interesting, this poem sets you straight:
Organic girl dropped by last night
For nothing in particular
Except to tell me again how beautiful and serene she feels
On uncooked vegetables and wheat germ fortified by bean sprouts–
Mixed with yeast and egg whites on really big days–
She not only meditates regularly, but looks at me like I should
And lectures me about meat and ice cream
And other aggressive foods I shouldn’t eat.
Who would’ve thought? The mere act of reading this crap has renewed my enthusiasm for my own comparative talent, the NaNoWriMo challenge, and the 26 days remaining…