Tuesday, August 30, 2011

2466 Words and Voluntary Delusion

So the last few days have been so crazy that I didn't take time to blog. There were a few days on which I only did 1200 or so words, but with the exception of last night (I was absolutely beat and I knew I needed to get up early for the first day of school this morning), I always wrote. Tonight I was resolved to get back to building up my stamina. I did a little bit of writing this morning while BabyGirlDoll slept and then a little more tonight after I graded my daily quota of student papers.

I so hope this all works out and isn't just a waste of time, ya know? I've never wanted anything this rawly, this unabashedly, this hopefully before. I've never worked this hard and consistently for anything that wasn't reasonably guaranteed. No, wait. That's not true. I took years of voice lesson and worked my guts out in order to make the elite choir when I was in high school. Never did make it.

Well, rot. There's a thought I wish I hadn't had.

Nope. I can't give in to that train of thought. Embrace the fantasy. Choose the delusion. Make yourself believe.

Because that's what it is, really. I suspect most people who are competent writers to begin with are smart enough to realize that they've got a snowball's chance in hell of getting published and an even smaller chance of becoming popular. I know this. I've known this for years. I've told myself and my mother and my grandma and my aunt and my in-laws and my husband and my friends and my students, all of whom have asked me where my novel is, this very thing for years and years and years. I really, really, really wanted to not want to write, and I hoped that by mocking and ignoring and again mocking my desire to write a novel, it would eventually go away.

It didn't.

Finally one day I heard that quote that's always attributed to Einstein, that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over while expecting different results, and I realized that I'd been trying the same thing over and over for years. Suppress the desire to write and when it becomes unbearable do something small and non-committal. Hit a rough patch. Use this to remind yourself that writing is for dreamers and wannabees, and quit again.

Trouble is, that never got me any peace. It never got me to the point where I felt content. I realized it wasn't going to, so I thought I'd try actually pursuing the "dream" (can you tell that I feel a little sarcastic about dreams?) of writing a novel. I have no idea if this will eventually lead to some kind of contentment either, but at least it's something new. But in order to spend an hour or two a day writing instead of sleeping or reading or sleeping or spending time with kids or cooking or sleeping, I have to delude myself that I'm going to get published. If I don't make myself believe that for at least as long as I'm in front of the keyboard, I'll give up.

Today I wrote 2466 words.


  1. I think the number of words you're writing is freakin' awesome. And just as the statistics you cite support, most people who write won't be published traditionally. But that doesn't stop us from writing. I wrote my first WIP just to see if I could write a complete story. I did my own personal NaNo, since I'd found out about it too late to participate. I wrote 80,000 words in 30 days. That was a huge goal accomplished, something I never thought I could do.

    To quote from the movie "Galaxy Quest" Never give up. Never surrender."

    Plus, I've discovered the real writing takes place in the editing. If I'd only known ...

  2. Thanks! I'm counting on what you said about editing being true. And thanks for such encouraging words! It's nice to hear some encouragement.