It’s week two in NaNoWrimoland, and the polite knocking of self-doubt and terror has started to take on a more demanding hammering. But that’s okay. I’ve done this before. I’m familiar with this stage. Just like with Freddy Krueger, if you turn your back and refuse to acknowledge it, it loses power.
That’s the theory, anyway.
The funny thing is, I am so much farther along in my manuscript than I was at this time last year, that you’d think it would have hit sooner. Last year, I tried to prepare myself for the “dreaded middle,” counting out how far I had till the halfway mark, then realized 20,000 words ahead of schedule that I was frozen. Why? The “dreaded middle” is not the halfway mark at all. It’s the entire middle third of the novel. That’s a lot of real estate.
Not only am I already well past where I froze up in panic last year, I’m actually past the halfway mark of the novel. By tomorrow, I’ll even be past the 50,000 word mark for the total. It’s all downhill from there. My NaNo word count (sorry, they still don’t have the widgets up for me to post on the side) is way ahead, with over 20,000 words so far. And I haven’t started writing yet today.
So, why now? Why the sudden onset of crushing fear that threatens to bring the whole thing crashing down? Lack of fear gave me a panic attack yesterday, that’s what. How insane is that? There I was, bopping along, reveling in my own confidence, and WHAM! There was the voice.
“Whatcha doin’ there, Rach? Makin’ a story?”
“Yes. I remember you. Go away.”
“Seems to be going really well so far. How’s your pacing? Last year you had people following along to keep you on track. I see you’re doing this on your own this time. That’s pretty brave. Hope you didn’t veer off 30,000 words ago. That would sure suck.”
“Go away. I’m fine. I have an outline.”
“Guess you’re feeling pretty pleased with yourself at how well the first one went. Sure hope you can repeat that.”
“Just sayin’. Maybe you’re a little overconfident. Maybe you got lucky before.”
“I wasn’t lucky. It was hard work. Leave me alone.”
“Whatever. Sure seems like there’s a lot more going on in this one. Is that wise?”
“I’m not second guessing myself. Quit it.”
“You know best, of course.”
And then the voice went silent long enough for me to start hyperventilating.
I’m okay now. I had a strongly-worded talk with myself, basically saying in the most impolite, harsh way possible, to get over myself and keep moving. I also have a fantastic team of writer buddies who added some kinder words to the mix. Today, the voice is knocking politely again, instead of pounding on the door and yelling at me through the cracks. I will continue to ignore it until a good gust of wind blows open the door, and I have to tell the voice off again.
I think everybody’s got a vicious, negative voice whispering in their ears, whether they’re a writer, an accountant, or a mountain climber.
Slam the door in its face. Don’t let the voice win. YOU are the boss.