Tuesday, July 5, 2011

This is what a psychotic break looks like

I approach this blog in an unusually chaotic frame of mind. And that's really saying something, because on a good day, the inside of my head is roughly like a combination of the hallway closet and the kitchen junk drawer, with the leftovers from the last 7 yard sales and a pair of snow boots I don't even recognize and three unmated gloves tossed in for lack of anywhere else to put them.

And the odd thing is, as I glance back over the entries I've made to this blog since I started it way back 31 days ago, there is very little evidence of this internal chaos here--or, indeed, of any of my actual personality. Instead, I've been frightfully earnest about the challenges I've faced as I boringly chronicle the writing my novel. This is more or less by design, actually, because I have been using this space as a) a public declaration of  my intent to write a novel, and b) leverage to shame myself into continuing the novel even when I get discouraged.

In other words, I wasn't writing so much for outside consumption as I was holding a knife to my own throat. "That's right, just keep typing. You make your word count today or, I swear, I'll do it!"

(It's possible that I could do with some medication, yes.)

I wasn't even concerned about how boring this blog is until other bloggers such as Laura Stanfill and JoEberhardt and Emerald Barnes started coming by and leaving comments and even linking to my blog on
theirs. That has led to people who read their blogs coming to look at mine, and suddenly, I'm looking around and thinking, gee, they're probably appalled at the rips in the couch cushion and the bent-up metal venetian blinds and the dog hair in the corner and wait, that's my living room, not the blog, but you get the point.

So if you have read any of my posts and thought that hey, you may have found exactly what you need for those nights when you find you've run out of melatonin, allow me to explain that I usually put a lot more effort into my writing and that I am not, in fact, trying to invent a text-based alternative to Ambien. (Although some readers have on rare occasions reported instances of wake-walking after reading my material, so be on the alert.)

It's just that I have been channeling all my creative energy for writing into my daily novel-fests, as though if I were to siphon any stray bits of cleverness into this poor blog, it would be like Samson having a haircut and the novel would cease to be written or interesting, and while I honestly could use a haircut of some sort, I just couldn't risk that, and I am seriously losing track of what this sentence is about, so never mind.

Anyway, what I think I'm getting at (I did mention the mental chaos up-front, so don't bother commenting about it; no one made you keep reading) is that I'm going to try harder to make this blog more than just my hostage to keep the novel progress going. (See earlier knife-to-the-throat metaphor.) And I will also try to make it more coherent and less disturbing than this entry you're reading, but I can't make any promises. As I mentioned earlier, I am not on medication.

I guess I should mention that I didn't quite take the whole holiday weekend off, but I did cut myself some slack on the ol' grindstone thing. As nearly as I can calculate, I did 2,238 words from Friday through Monday. That's a smidge over 500 words a day, my nominal quota, so I call it good. This puts me at 26% completed on the first draft:
And for anyone who is covetous of my wordage-generative properties, just try to keep in mind that it's not all fluffy bunnies and cotton candy. I actually have to live in this head.


Anthony Lee Collins said...

Who in the world would want to read a novel written by somebody who had fluffy bunnies and cotton candy in their head? I suspect people like that write very few great novels.

Maybe a greeting card or two.

Leanne D. Baldwin said...

Can you imagine what it would be like in such a head? I mean, cotton candy is sticky! The fluffy bunnies would be a matted mess in no time!

That said, I'm sure you are right that a head like that wouldn't produce much that was worth reading.