To write or not to write

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Greetings.  Welcome to my pity party.  You can put your coats and stuff in the bedroom, but please close the door otherwise a rabbit will come in and try to claim your stuff by pooping on it.  There is plenty of booze and other mind altering substances to ease the pain of having to read about my pain.  Make your self comfy.  Hope you’re not allergic to cats because, well, pretty much all the furniture is irretrievable embedded with cat fur.  Mini quiche, anyone?

Due to a series of minor setbacks in my so-called “career”, I’ve been feeling a bit funky.  No doubt the melt down of the economy,  the fact that Alaska (my cat, not the state) throws up every morning when he hears me wake up, and Sarah Palin also have something to do with this malaise.  Like all things, this mood is impermanent and will pass.  But, it could go either way – I could slide into clinical depression, or I could decide to pull my head out of my ass.  Maybe I’ll wait until after the election to decide.  In the meantime, I’m opting to live in Funkytown.

Musical interlude (I mean because every party, pity or not, needs some tunes)

Hmmm.  Maybe Funkytown is not the place for me.  It seems far too smokey, and with my asthma it’s probably not a good idea.

I recently found out that National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is next month.  After reading over the rules and such, I have this weird idea in my head that I want to do this.  It’s crazy, right?  I mean it’s nuts on a number of fronts.  Fifty thousand words (or approx 175 pages) in 30 days is, uh, rather ambitious.  I’d be setting myself up for failure, and that’s the last thing I need whilst living in Downerville (it’s less smokey than Funkytown and doesn’t require dancing).  The bigger question though is who in the hell am I to think I could write a novel, even a bad one?  I don’t know how to write a freakin’ novel.  Hell, like Sarah Palin, it’s worth celebrating if I can even string a comprehensible sentence together. Oh, and I have no ideas for a novel. Minor stumbling block.

On the plus side, however, I do love a challenging deadline.  Close to two years ago I completed my Vajrayogini retreat, which included the reciting of 110,000 long mantras.   Completing the retreat,  in about four weeks, particularly on my own in my own home, gave me this bizarre confidence that is completely at odds with my actual abilities.   I also like the fact that this would take place in November which, in the past, has been the period when I start sliding into my winter blues.  It could either be a lovely diversion, or else my dark mood would make me feel all writerly and shit.

So, I don’t know.  Do I risk my rather fragile self-confidence on a big misguided venture?  Or should I set my sites lower and just do National Blog Posting Month (NaBloPoMo) instead?  Thoughts?

Leaving so soon?  I was just getting ready to complain about all my minor aches and pains.  Hey!  Where are you going?  Oh well, more chips and guacamole for me.

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34 responses »

  1. Go for it! What’s the worst that could happen? Utter disappointment? Aren’t we already nearly the lowest of the low? Pre-shattered, if you will? Well, maybe that’s just me. It must be all that pesky grasping at self.

    I signed on for NaNoWriMo without much thought (unless you consider obsessing about it for nearly a year not much thought.) I’m easily swayed by sites that offer widgets and badges and buddies and now periodically hyperventilate at the thought of actually attempting to write a novel. I’ve started the research on it and that might be my favourite part… how many books on the Basque culture do you think a midwestern county library will have?

    So yes, I am leaving now, and I’m helping myself to chips and guac to go, a jacket nicer than the one I showed up in, and will blog later about how I should have taken Zyrtec before the party. Achoo!

  2. I don’t mind the pet hairs. Being the human of cats, most of my clothing and furniture is now almost as furry as the cats no matter how I try to keep up with it (which, frankly, I haven’t been trying too hard lately because it seems like resistance is futile and all this shedding is a grand design on the part of the cats to turn me into one of them, or at least make me as furry as they are).

    As someone who has been too chicken to try NaNoWriMo (but has managed a couple of years of NoBloPoMo), I say go for it. I know a couple people who have tried it. Some have finished, some have not, but all said they found the process frightening at first and cathartic in the end. I’m not sure they actually got an entire novel out of it, though.

  3. I say go for it. Reciting 110,000 long mantras isn’t exactly child’s play. Besides, you’ll have lots of company. I (and thousands and thousands of other writers) will be sitting up in the middle of the night in front of my screen along with you.

  4. don’t fur git the tube top and the hair x tenshunz

    btw ~ i don’t believe the fragile shelf esteemed rickaracka = yer jus fishin wit dat won.

    we’re both to old for that green baloney n e wayz honey = sew u write yer ass off and no won cares ~ sew who carez? fullblown die press shun is all wayz an option rite ? so write ! also eye a gree wit bluescreen

  5. Well, I can’t do NaNoWriMo because I have two novels going already and if I start another one my head will implode. (Although one of my much rejected long short stories has apparently got novel aspirations.) But I plan to write a lot on the main one that month, and Sissy’s going to do it, I think and some other people.

    I don’t have to do NaNowhatsis, the bloggy one, I blog every day anyway.

    It’s a couple thousand words a day, you can do that. And even if you don’t wind up finishing, it’s good to sit down and write something every day. It gives shape to things. 🙂 And then you can nap.

  6. Well, I’ve written a bad novel, so I have every confidence that you’re quite capable of writing a bad novel too.

    The one advantage you have is, in 30 days, you’re not going to be overthinking it. Look for inspiration to William Shakespeare who was really producing masterpieces or near masterpieces something like every three months.

    Or the man I was named after, L Ron Hubbard, who would probably jot out your novel in a weekend. In fact, L Ron Hubbard actually devised a typewriter with whole words on the keys so that he could type faster, and had his paper on rolls so that he didn’t have to change sheets. Being paid by the number of words you produce is a great incentive.

    Admittedly, in terms of his prolific output, L Ron Hubbard was a freak. But you’ve actually got a word program!

    So go for it. It may work out to be an excellent novel. And if it doesn’t, it’s certainly going to be a learning curve.

    However, I must admit, it sounds like a lot of stress. And if you complete it by deadline, you’re going to have to stop calling yourself Lazy Buddhist.

  7. TMC – I’ll admit, it was your inspiration that got me thinking about doing this. And now you confess you’ve been thinking about this novel for months?! No fair.

    And hey, come back here with Robin’s coat!

    Robin – It’s nice to know that one of my favorite photographers is also a cat person (versus a cat lady, which is quite different). Frankly, I fear it may indeed my cat Alaska who will put a kabosh to the whole idea (that and not having any plot ideas) since he insists on standing in front of the keyboard whenever I get intent on writing (like he is doing this very moment). I love him to bits, but damn, can he be annoying.

    mybluescreen – Welcome! I guess that is part of the appeal knowing that there will be thousands of others “out there” struggling through the same thing. I’m also intrigued by the almost social aspect of this most solitary art form.

    BBG – Ya know, back in my day I could totally work a tube top. Now? Not pretty, not pretty at all.

    I really did try to avoid giving the impression of fishing for compliments by the use of some self-deprecating humor. Obviously, you saw through the ruse. But, I would not be writing for fame and glory, so it’s not not getting that would damage my oh-so-fragile ego. But, rather the perpetuating of my tendency to start on something and not finishing it is what bothers me.

    TLC – I agree that it is good to write everyday. For a couple of months there I was doing Morning Pages, and I was truly amazed at what portals that process opened. And please, feel free to work on your novels currently in progress. I don’t want to see your head explode.

    Wisdomjunkie – so if I complete a bad novel, I will add to the list of ways we are eerily alike? OK, I’ll work on the bad novel if you’ll develop a taste for household pets (and I don’t mean in a gastronomic sort of way).

    Though I fear having to give up my LazyBuddhist moniker. Like you have commented before, it does lend itself to a pretty awesome avatar.

  8. Hi LB,

    I sometimes think that writing is for me, so every now and then i go and ask my dad, who is a writer himself:

    Me: Dad, i wanna write but my grammar isn’t that good, and my understanding/command of the english language is lacking, do you think i should take some courses or something?

    Dad: Bullshit! All you need to do is get a pen and paper and do it!

    Me: But Dad, you had an A1 education in one of the poshest schools of London, and your command of English is fantastic. I grew up in Spain, so my English is relatively poor. Too poor to write a book, anyhow, right?

    Dad: Education, grammar, all of that is bollocks! It’s absolute nonsense! Writing hasn’t got anything to do with those things.

    Me (a bit baffled): Ok Dad, if you say so…

    Anyway, reading your blog i think i can see what he means. You’ve got real flair, passion, great sense of humour… a desire for truth?? A desire to inspire??? I think these things are what my Dad would say are important in order to write. More important than knowing how to string a sentence together anyhow.

    I don’t completely agree with the old man, and i don’t think he does either. I think understanding of language is the very important tool you need to be able to express whatever meaning you wish to convey. I think Dad is just trying to remind me not to get lost in technicalities, whilst loosing sight of what is most important.

    I don’t know if the NaNoWriMo is for you, but i definitely think you would make a great writer.

    Anyway, while i wait for your first novel to come out, i’ll be coming here to read your blog, as it never fails to move me and give me the giggles.

  9. Chips and guac you say? Count me in on your pity party — and I’m totally antisocial (but I love to eat!) And I must say DO IT DO IT!!! Write a novel! You can do it! The topic — yes, that’s something to consider, but I absolutely LOVE reading your blog and I’ll buy a copy no matter what you write about! You crack me up! The Palin bit was too much. I haven’t found anything about Palin to laugh about until your blog. Thanks and WRITE WRITE WRITE!!!

  10. Tell you what, you work on a good novel, and I won’t bother with the pet thing. That makes much more sense.

    Actually, I haven’t written a bad novel, just an unpublishable one. I think there’s a difference.

  11. I’m in a funk, too, although my ailment is more of anxiety-nature than depression. Exacerbated, I am certain, by this election and by my inability to stop being obsessed with every poll, every article, every pundit, blah blah. And then there’s the financial stuff and this bald realization that, shit, we are all connected in a global economy! See, there I go.

    Anyhoo, I do think anything that will keep you writing and having energy for something other than everything around you that you can’t control is a good thing. Especially if you approach it with humor and a light heart—this isn’t yet another burden to place on you, but rather something fun. And if you have any themes swirling in your head—if they’re already cropping up—then you know you’re building energy for it.

  12. write or die ~ right to die ~ die it rite ~ death by a thousand adverbs ~ eliminate nouns ~ write now pay later ~ die now write later ~ write till you die or die writing

  13. You are such a good writer and have such a creative mind….go for the novel. I will do the blog…and we can compare notes and keep each other inspired to go on.

  14. Yep, I say do it, too. Bearing in mind 2 things:

    1. you don’t have to write a brilliant novel, you just have to write a novel. 😉

    2. goals are the enemy of depression. Seriously, give your brain something else to worry about other than its own chemical imbalances…

  15. house about some suggestions for opening lines = ?

    “She knew exactly why she’d never buy silk sheets or sleep in a fish tank.”

  16. Well I just swung over from SFWOW and can already see you write well so that can’t be your excuse for not doing NaNoWriMo. 😉 I tried it once. It was empowering. It is freeing to know you don’t have time to overthink and just have to write, write, write. I didn’t hit the goal that time but ended up with a good storyline I think. Now you’ve got me thinking about doing it again.

  17. Hey LB, I’ll do it with ya if you do it. I remember hearing about this last year and kinda have kept in the back of my head but like you, I have no idea how to write a novel. In fact, I don’t really read so don’t even have a point of reference. I mean… except for a few blogs, msnbc.com, my monthly issue of Acoustic Guitar and an article or two hear and there on the net, i don’t really read.

    Whatdya say?… do ya wanna, do ya wanna do ya wanna?

    There is something else I might try and be a part of that happens in February called FAWM… Feb Album Writing Month. 14 songs… 28 days. Now THAT’s a deadline!

  18. hey weightaminute ~ you can’t have a pity party with chips and guac !

    ya gotta go ritz and cheezewhiz = now THATZ a pity party

  19. OK, I’m going to give this another shot. On Friday I wrote a long ass response to each and every one of you. It was purty. But then Alaska came and stepped on the keyboard. Who knows what the freak he stepped on but the page went away, with all my pretty words unsaved.

    Harry – Your dad was a wise, wise man. And he sounds like a pretty good dad too.

    Thank you so much for your kind words. I was having a shitty day when I read your comment, and it really cheered me up. I feel fortunate that I have such a great group of readers and commentators here. I only hope I can continue to live up to your confidence.

    Michael – Thanks for the tip on Alaska’s tummy. Alaska is currently on a pretty heavy duty restricted diet for his Irritable Bowel Disease, which definitely helped for a while with the barfing, and continues to help with the other nasty symptoms. I think the current barfing may be a symptom of his Chronic Renal Failure, and probably a bit of stress thrown in there too. I spend close to $100 on this cat every other week for his food and medical supplies. Having a furry companion for over 17 years is both a pleasure and responsibility.

    Janine – Hey girl! I’m glad I was able to make you laugh about Palin. I’m finding that is much more pleasurable than crouching in a corner chronically cussing, which was pretty much my reaction. Thank you for the encouragement. And tell that partner of yours I’ve missed his blog.

    Wisdomjunkie – Hey, you were the one who said you wrote a bad novel.

    yBonsey – It has been amazing how taking on this project has lifted my spirits a bit. It’s much more soothing to wrap my mind around a fictional world of my own creation than the current madness that I feel is completely out of my control.

    BB Golly – Really, you need to stop hanging out with Towlie, he’s a bad influence on you.

    BQ – Cool. You are doing such a good job with keeping up almost daily updates on your blog, it shouldn’t be too much of a stretch. Thank you for your encouragement.

    Truce – goals are the enemy of depression Damn, girl, you are absolutely right about that. Rather than fretting about the economy or Sarah Palin, I’ve been thinking about my novel. My mind already feels much lighter.

    Baron – Have you considered it? Your shitty first draft would probably be better written than my final draft. You, sir, have a way with words.

    Ellen – Welcome fellow WoWser! Empowering? I like that. What with the “career” and economy (and, of course, Sarah Palin) making me feel quite disempowered, I like the idea of feeling empowered. I’m also becoming quite enamored of the both virtual and real community aspect of this project. I think I’m going to take advantage of the various group meet ups where people get together to just bang out their novel. If you choose to do it again, make sure to be my “buddy”. I’m LazyBuddhist on NaNoWriMo.

    Jules – that would be awesome if you joined me. I have found the NaNoWriMo site has a lot of good tips. But, I also got the book “No Plot, No Problem” and that has been super helpful. Let me know if you choose to do it.

    One little question though: how is the Deisette going to feel about this? You’ll need to carve out, on the average, two hours a day for writing. Considering you are in the first blush of your relationship, can you afford to take two hours a day away from her? There is a lot you can do in two hours, if you know what I mean, nudge nudge wink wink if you know what I mean. 😉

    BB Golly – Ritz and cheezewhiz? You must be going to a lot of pity parties with Towlie. LB pity parties include fresh guac, a nice selection of cheeses and those yummy chocolate preztels.

  20. I said what Jules said before I saw that he’d said it. I’ve been a bit out of it lately, and haven’t come to visit. I hope things are looking up for you now.

    So anyway…NaNoWriMo…

    if you guys do it, I will too. I don’t think it’d be an ego crusher, you’ve got MAD SKILLZ on the writing front.

    If u wanna try this in concert, let me know.

  21. Am – I haven’t heard back from Jules on this yet, but I’m in. See, I’ve got the official badge on my site. Would love love love to have you as a NaNo buddy.

    BB Golly – your Shantideva comment cracked my shit up. Perhaps I shall start to call him Three Jewels.

  22. Sweet!

    I’m signed up as amuirin, and I’ve buddied you, LB. Couldn’t follow Jules link, but saw his post on it.

    I love that it starts on Los Dios de los muertos, too. That’s my favorite holiday.

  23. Pingback: NaNoWriMo and lea kelley « Stop & Wander

  24. . . . a towlie pity party ~ then we can have a juicy cry and still be feelin fresh and dry and may be get a contact high ~ bye bye

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