25 days into NaNoWrMo. I’m a few words behind, but committed to bridging that gap in the next three days, making the 50,000 word goal a reality. The story may not be finished but I will have completed the goal. That means something to me. As the 30th of November approaches, as the page count increases, I feel simultaneously thrilled and frustrated at the work. I completely adore large sections, surprised at the fact I am finally writing it, getting things on paper, while other sections I know will have to be completely rewritten.
What digs at me still, the night time monster in my mind that destroys my ideas, derails my thought train. I hate him more than ever. He gave me a particularly bad night last Friday. A busy day left me writing late into the evening, and while the writing process wasn’t particularly uncomfortable that day, it was a portion of the book I worried I would either overwrite, making it too bombastic, a bit pathetic, certainly self serving, or underwrite, undermining the entire story.
I finished my word count goal for the day, saved and closed the computer. This is my routine this month. I finish the word count, or the section I am working on, save and shut down. I don’t edit for fear of deleting. Sheryl had already gone to bed, it was pushing 11:30 and though I wanted to go to sleep, my mind was running and I needed to quiet things down some. I played some video games, watched some television, then went up to bed.
It was then he attacked.
I kept working out story kinks in my head, changing ideas, making things up that I thought would progress things. All my efforts were met with constant chatter. Nothing made sense and several times, I convinced myself the book would never come together, and would suffer for poor execution, poor writing, poverty all around.
Tossing and turning, numbing my shoulder several times, kicking blankets on and off, it kept eating at me, forcing sleep away, putting me back in the story, seeing all the flaws, all the weak parts, all the things I had not written that would surely have been more poignant than what was already on the page. I was driving myself a bit insane with all the rambling.
I had to get up, get out, do anything, but all I wanted to do was think and dig at myself. Writing was out of the question. I would certainly have ended up editing, cutting, rewriting, ruining everything. Instead I found myself in the basement, lying on the bed in the guest room, thinking. It was pushing 2:30 in the morning and I convinced myself there would be no sleep that night. I picked up my phone just to do something besides think about this book. I played a round of Words with Friends. I checked the blog, Twitter, then Facebook. Feeling slightly less frustrated, I turned the phone off, intending to try sleeping one more time.
In a flash of unusual clarity, the ending came to me. Along with it, came the path I needed to follow to get to the ending. I actually laughed out loud, grateful I was in the basement, rather than right next to Sheryl, who didn’t need to be woken again. It was a strange turn of events. Usually, I can’t shut that monster down, and have to suffer the agony of sleepless nights, and he never relents, not until morning. This was certainly a unique moment. I may have had some small breakthrough.
Regardless, I learned one thing. Never write before bed. Shutting my head off takes too long. Lesson learned. Now, back to the book. The goal is in sight!