Hayley and Kay will tell you I’ve been meaning to do this post for weeks but, much like my perpetually unfinished novel, I have been putting it off. Until today!
Today I am making a concerted effort to get this thing finished but even now, sitting in my beanbag which was my home for much of my National Novel Writing Month endeavour, I am procrastinating because I’m writing this post when I should probably be wrestling some form of prose out of my brain, through my fingers and onto the screen. At least this is productive procrastination I suppose.
So far 2012 has been a terribly unproductive year for me. I haven’t even finished reading a book so much as writing one and that’s pretty odd for me. There’s something lacking in the time spent writing without NaNo deadlines looming on the horizon and that paired with my strange apprehension about reaching the conclusion of my novel has had me twiddling my thumbs for four months. In that time I have written (I promise!), I’ve written quite a lot at our meetings as it happens. I find the presence of other people a very good motivator but sadly when left to my own devices I tend to flounder around and end up thinking about doing things much more than actually getting to the doing part.
What is it, then, that stops me writing really? What is it that stops any of us? I know I’m not alone in procrastinating vs doing but I’m not sure if anyone else has had this specific problem: Writing has this paranoia-inducing, isolating effect on me, the I-am-totally-alone-in-this and that’s part of what I find scary without NaNo around to back me up and push me on, without the community aspect of the month-long challenge. I know the end of my novel is drawing close, I can almost taste it actually, but the question of ‘what then?’ is quick to follow the elevating thought of accomplishing such a monumental feat as finishing a book. I know I have a lot of editing work to do, I know I have a lot of plot holes to fill and then when I finish my first draft it will need to undergo a huge amount of cutting and pasting and poly-filling (with words and punctuation) before it’s ready for outside eyes, so really I’m not that close to being done-done. I think, for me, it’s the idea that the bulk of the journey will be finished, that my period of free-form discovery will come to an end and the real work will being. I won’t lie at times it has been a real chore making myself write, there were days during November when I could barely look at my laptop let alone open up Word and knuckle down to some writing, but at the same time the feeling of simply being able to write whatever I wanted without care, to let the story carry me along and not have to drag it out from under a rock was the easy part, the very best part and once i get to that last scene, whatever it may be, that experience will be over.
I very much want to be finished. I very much want to craft this story because I believe in what I’m trying to say and I have grown very attached to the characters (despite strong-arming them through hell and high water) but now I believe it has become a battle of wills, of me against the enticing siren call of procrastination, the idea of just doing a little editing before I finish the novel to stave off the inevitable. Of course the truth is that everything ends eventually, and I really have no choice but to sit down and finish Myfanwy’s story if I want to do it, and her, justice, if I want to accomplish something great. The ending of the story has to happen one way or another and there’s nothing I can do about that but try to write it as well as I can.
…This got a lot longer than I intended. See? Procrastination is a terrible disease, get your inoculations today!
(See you tomorrow, Scribblers! Make sure to ask me how I did after writing this.)