There is nothing as dangerous as a little knowledge. The saying goes something like that. It is late and my brain is marinating in Glenfiddich 18 y/o, so I don’t know who actually said it and what the quote was.
It does apply to the NaNoWriMo though. For me at least. Last year I managed to write as one should at the NaNoWriMo. With reckless abandon. Like crazy. Verbal diarrhea. I pumped out words by the scores. pouring them into my keyboard until the keys glowed red-hot and smoke wafted from the mechanisms.
I hardly knew anything about writing, except for what I’d learned in high-school and college. In the latter I wasn’t even allowed to write fiction. When I handed in an exciting paper on the life of India’s greatest scourges, as seen from the viewpoint of the reviled villain… the professor wasn’t happy. Oh he loved the read and admitted it was one of the most entertaining he had seen. It just wasn’t what I was supposed to write.
I learned to write boring and write boring well. But I absolutely hate it, and I’ve vowed never to do so again. Ever. Not even business reports. I mean, did you see that sneak attack those numbers did on the unsuspecting– well, no of course you didn’t.
Anyways, last year I was happy and free and unburdened by any semblance of knowing how to write. So I wrote. And then I went and got an education. Not formally, there’s only 24 hours in the day and I have to sleep sometime, but I scoured the interwebs, listened to podcasts, read books on writing and practiced. A lot.
And now I’m royally screwed.
While last year it was easy to turn off the ‘inner editor’, because well, there was none worth mentioning, this year there definitely is one. She sits prim with her hair in a bun, her round glasses sliding down onto her sharp nose and armed to the teeth with red pencils. There’s probably a bull-whip ready at her hips, resting against the neat and proper length pencil-skirt.
Every word I type she looks over carefully. This is the only place where she looks away. So this is where I can take a quick breather.That inner editor checks every word, every sentence. After I’ve written a full paragraph and I’m ready to jump straight into the next, she grabs me by the hair and pulls me back, pointing at the just written words, her lips pressed into a disapproving scowl.
“Again,” she says, “and now like you mean it. What is this drivel? Sit! Cut half the words, check for idioms, check for plot, check for bloody everything, then rewrite again.”
Alright, she doesn’t actually swear. But she’s there and she is constantly dragging me down. How am I supposed to ignore her? I can’t tune her out, even though this is the NaNoWriMo, I want my story to be up to a certain standard. My own standard.
Thus it came to pass that the story was in fact coming along, but at a snail’s pace. Common garden variety I think. Burdened with a four-story- villa on it’s back.
Maybe I can find the off-switch for this editor. Maybe even in time for me to finish and win the NaNoWriMo in time.