So I've been doing NaNoWriMo this month, just sitting down every single day and pounding out words for this novel I had in mind. It's been great, liberating, that I've been given this permission to just write and not edit. And the midpoint, time wise, passed yesterday, though I reached my midpoint, word count wise, a day early. Mid point through a novel. Something about that realization made me pause. Even worse, it made my fingers pause on the keyboard.
It made me think about my characters and plot and whether or not I'm writing anything good at all. And of course this happens at a critical juncture. My heroine is about to stumble onto another murdered co-worker. She's sitting in this beautiful summer glade, her horse munching grass, the dog gambolling (I've always wanted to use that word in a sentence) in the nearby creek, and a murderer in the forest. All of a sudden all I can think about is I have to clean a toilet before my daughter-in-law and her mother stop by later today.
The scene is crystal clear in my head and for the life of me I could not get my fingers to translate it into words. I stared at the screen, I sipped at my coffee, I tapped my fingers. This was not what I signed up for. Total stoppage of wordage. Shoot.
I reminded myself of what I've often told other writers, to whit (I've always wanted to use that phrase), be kind to yourself, take a step back, breath. But could I take my own advice? I can be pretty arrogant where my writing is concerned, when I'm not sure that it's all a bunch of crap. This is the schizophrenia of a writer.
The cat launched herself from the floor to the back of my chair to the printer. I took it as a sign. I saved my work, only three piddly pages, and hied myself (another delightfully underused phrase) off to the shower. I dressed and ate breakfast. I DID NOT scrub the toilet.
Sometimes food helps. I sat back down at the computer and forced myself to put the scene on paper. There is absolutely nothing pretty about it except that it's there and it got my daily word count where it needs to be.
I'm hoping that this little roadblock is the last one I face as I hit the downhill track on NaNoWriMo. But I do have a life away from my computer. It keeps me busy with family and work and doctor appointments, and Thanksgiving is less than two weeks away and Christmas less than a month after that! I could really procrastinate myself into scrubbing, cleaning, and not murder at all.
The thing is, even when I'm not writing it, the story is with me. At odd minutes of the day I'll get an idea for a scene, or a witty piece of dialogue. I'm waiting for my muse to tell me who the murderer is because I'm going to have to rewrite this puppy at some point and lay in some clues and red herrings, but that's for next month. This month I'm getting the bones down and hoping to stay on track.
Now, where is that scrub brush? And let's not even think about the kitchen!