I don’t drive, so don’t mind me if this flat tire metaphor seems a little… flat. The point is, when you’ve made a promise to write 50,000 words in one month, sometimes things don’t go to plan.
I’m not going to share my own writing today, so you can uncover your eyes. Instead I’ll just talk about writing, using the guise of National Novel Writing Month to justify the topic. I do plenty of writing, often not as much as I should, but as I’ve done more of it over the years I’ve definitely had the problem of getting a flat.
No I’m not talking about writer’s block, that is a bad word (or phrase, whatever). Writer’s block is the excuse you make when you absolutely cannot write. When you sit there, try to write stuff down, and not one word comes. I consider it a mix of no inspiration, and editor paralysis. You probably have stuff you want to write, anyone who thinks of writing anything figures that they have something they want to write. Then they sit down, think about it, and…. pppphhhhhffffft.
Nothing comes out, except that odd fart-like noise you can make with your lips (I think those are called raspberries). You want so bad to write something, your life may depend on writing something, but you just can’t.
No, screw that, we won’t talk about it. If you let writer’s block into your mind, it will… block it. That seems obvious, but people still invite it by talking about it, like some sort of literary bloody mary, here to rip your manuscript to shreds.
I’m talking about flat tires, when you are trying to write, but you’ve done so much of it, that everything you’re doing just falls flat. You finished that other short story, you already wrote some earlier, and maybe you wrote something for work, and now that you are looking at that new chapter you feel like every word you type is just formulaic poopy. Which is completely possible.
If you ask me, once you’ve squeezed the delicious (yet oh so acidic) orange of inspiration dry, all you get is that stringy stuff that makes up the pulp. Not quite the skin, and who knows if its nutritious, but you eat it with the rest of the orange anyway. Sure it is as good as the main orange, the succulent bits, but you wouldn’t just eat a plate of it.
So what do you do when you hit a flat tire? Well that depends on your situation. If you are just writing for kicks, maybe you stop and take a break. Wake for something to strike, you might even shelve whole projects. The problem is, as anyone knows who has wandered the world of writing advice, writers have to write. You can’t just sit around and rest, heck no, you have to ride the rails.
Which is exactly what you do, especially during NaNoWriMo, you ride those rails until the rubber of the flat tire breaks off, goes flinging into the road, and possibly causes some poor bastard to go careening off the turnpike (I realize now I don’t know what a turnpike is).
I mean, think about it, besides the irreparable damage done to the infrastructure of your car, the main problem with driving on flat tires is a lack of control (this is what grand theft auto has taught me). You may not get there fast, directly, or even safely, but the other choice is to stop trying to get there at all.
Well in real life I would walk, or catch a bus, or call a friend, but I hope you get my point.
Either way, trying to write so many things at once (I’m currently finishing a writing contract, co-oping a Nano, and doing my own Nano), definitely put me on a flat tire today. Which is the real reason I’m not going to give you another sample of my NaNo. Oh well, see you at 50k.