Writing continues, even while I’m on vacation; no, I’m not that much of a workaholic, it’s just that I’ve got a lot of down time in the hotel and it seemed like a good opportunity to get some writing in. I have another trip coming up in a week and a half, and the laptop will be staying home for that.
I just passed the 40,000 word mark yesterday, a nice big number (although not as satisfying as passing the 100-page mark a few weeks ago. That’s when it stops feeling like a long story and more like a proper novel). My Nanowrimo instincts are still going strong - one of the most important things I’ve learned is not to revise as I go along, even when I know that my chronology is a bit messed up and the entire second chapter needs rewriting. I’ve also learned that my opinion of the novel is going to undergo some major swerves throughout the process, covering everything from “They shall call this my masterwork, I say” to “I might as well have written this on toilet paper.” Sometimes the latter sentiment can stick with you and get a bit overwhelming. Shutting that voice out is something I think any creative person worth their salt is going to have to deal with, on a regular basis, for the whole of their career. Jay Smooth of the Ill Doctrine blog calls that voice “the little hater”…
Perfectionism. Procrastination. The first of these things is bad for everyone except Stanley Kubrick and Alan Moore and those kind of creators; the second is bad for everybody. And I try to ignore their siren calls whenever I can.
I fight my little hater with one simple tool: the wordcount. In other words, a clear goal with a clear deadline. If I don’t write 1,000 words today, I’m not finished. That takes care of procrastination (usually) and it’s a wonderful antidote to perfectionism - that pull to revise and rethink as I’m writing, which I know will only get me bogged down and stalled.
I always try to keep in mind the fact that second-guessing my abilities as a writer and my chances of ever getting published doesn’t need to actually keep me from writing. Confidence isn’t about eliminating self-doubt; it’s about ignoring it. My little hater is going to keep rambling away whether I like it or not, but I can turn down his volume until he’s no more distracting than a radio in a neighboring apartment. If that doesn’t work, I’ll buy a typewriter; then the harder I work, the more I drown him out.