Writers write and I haven’t been writing as much as I could. I could blame the migraines – and they are a factor – but really what is wrong is me. I’m afraid that I’ll work really hard and get nowhere. If I only work at 20% of my potential it’s okay that I failed. I wasn’t working very hard anyway.
How’s that for honesty?
Last year, the 3-Day Novel contest was the highlight of my life. It was like training and finishing a marathon. I did what I set out to do and some of it wasn’t half bad. The day after the contest I got up early and went to help out at my Mother’s gymnastics academy. I was stupid, tired, and well stupid. I’m also sure I wasn’t pleasant to be around.
What I wanted to do was continue writing to build on the momentum.
It was a high unlike anything I’d ever experienced and I wanted to feel it again. I remembered that Harlan Ellison quipped something about not needing drugs – he was naturally high all the time. That weekend I understood (at least I think I did – if I got it wrong Mr. Ellison please forgive me). That kind of creation, whole and uninterrupted by anything from the outside world… heady stuff.
This year was different.
By the time I started the 3-Day Novel I was 8 days into a migraine. Day 1 was the killer, everything after that was mind numbing, vocabulary dulling, depression making pain. The type of migraine most often depicted by fiction is a short, day or less, intense burst of pain and nausea. I got that… then after that wore off I got days of midrange pain that the drugs could kick but only for a finite period. When they wore off I was back where I started.
It didn’t help that the last time this happened I had one of these things for 31 days. I didn’t have much hope that it would magically go away.
But, I can be stubborn. So at 12:01 am on Saturday I started my 3-Day Novel. I wrote for a few hours, went to bed, woke up with a migraine, wrote for awhile, took drugs, went back to bed, got up and wrote for while, then just gave out… only 6k words of the 10k I needed to make my goal.
That night I tried a different drug, hoping it would last longer and I could work more. No such luck, I lost all of Sunday.
Monday, I tried again, only 4.5k and then dinner with friends, because by then I knew two things.
- I didn’t have a 3-Day Novel
- I did have a good start for my first full length novel
Out of something bad comes something good.
Tuesday I got up and worked some more – another 3k and some great scenes, hints of discoveries yet to come, and the introduction of a character that makes my heart sing with joy.
Today, Wednesday, I’m up again, writing and working and planning another long day.
What I couldn’t do last year – build on the momentum of the 3-Day Novel Contest – I could do this year. I’m writing more, more consistently. Which is what I needed to do to make this work – stop using migraines, family and friends as tools of procrastination. I write a lot… now it is time to move to the next level and be prolific!
After all… writers write.