Halfway through National Novel Writing Month, my writing process has become a wrestling match. The first few days were easy. I breezed through several thousand words, totally in love with my story and excited to watch it unfold.
But now, the romance is over. Story and I have been living together for a while now, and our conversations have degraded into the monotony that only comes with familiarity.
Story: So, you think you’re gonna hit 1,667 words today?
Me: Um, yeah.
Story: [snorts] Yeah, and I bet you’ll feel like you’ve really accomplished something, huh?
Me: Well, yeah.
Story: You know, that other writer wrote 5,000 words today. Just sayin’.
Me: Have you been reading that other writer’s stuff? Am I not writing enough for you? Is my word count not good enough for you?
Story: I didn’t say that. Maybe you should just sit down and write.
Me: Okay. [staring at screen]
Story: This better be good.
Me: Shut up.
Story: Okay, fine, whatever. [sounds of clicking keys] Oh, you did not just write that.
Me: What? WHAT??
Me: Did I use “was” too many times? Or was there too much “tell” and not enough “show”? You always want more “show”! I knew it, I’m not good enough for you. You wish you had a different writer, don’t you? Or is it the characters? Oh, my God, you hate the characters I made for you. You hate them. I knew it. Or maybe it’s the plot. Does it make my vocabulary look big? Why aren’t you answering me? Are you fantasizing about J. K. Rowling again? You’re going to leave me, aren’t you? You’re just going to walk out unfinished, leaving me with no closure and no happy ending. I’m going to die alone and unpublished!! I’m a total failure!! I’ll never be good enough for any story!! I couldn’t make it as a writer even if they were publishing paranormal tween bromance novels by hamsters!! WHAT AM I DOING WITH MY LIFE?? WHY DIDN’T I GROW UP AND GET A REAL JOB LIKE ALL THE OTHER GIRLS?? [beats head against computer screen]
Story: Uh…..are you mad at me or something?
Me: Just forget it.
Story: So…..wanna write?
Me: I have a headache.
So, that’s what it sounds like inside my head these days. But I have one thing going for me–sheer unadulterated stubbornness. We may not be giving each other butterflies anymore, but Story and I are in it for keeps. We’ll keep plodding along, because I have to believe that when things look darkest, that’s when the magic happens.