Wednesday, 23 April 2014

The voices will be silent

Sweet, evil procrastination. Procrastination and I have a long-standing relationship. We know each other. I have given up trying to break up with it - I think I'm stuck with it for life.

Our relationship has formed a routine over the years. It is a sort of dance, really. First comes the thing to do. It can be anything:
- I should call my parents.
- I need to make a doctor's appointment for that weird mole on my back.
- Write that novel. 
- Clean the house!
- Clip Sheila's nails. (Sheila is one of our dogs.)
- Write that novel.
- Hmm, I really should get a start on painting the laundry room.
- Send out Mother's Day cards!
- Write that novel.
- Paint the front door.
- Write that novel.

(This is just a sample of my current to-do list. There are more items. Some of these have been on it for quite some time. Weeks? Months? Years?? Oh, who is counting.)

The next step is that I always have the various items in the back of my mind. A small voice keeps reminding me regularly.
First, it's a pretty quiet voice. It will speak up when I have a few days off work coming up: You could do [insert any item of the list] on your day off! I think that's a great idea. I'm motivated. It will feel so good when that's finally done!

The day arrives. I sleep in (obviously). I make coffee (obviously). I sit down in front of my computer...
dum dum duuummm (sound of doom) ... that's usually where it goes wrong. I get sucked into the wonderful, enticing online world and don't surface until hours later. By that time it's noon, and I usually really do have some non-negotiable things to do (like buy food, walk the dog, remove the bits of hay and dirt from the carpet), and once that's done, it's too late.
But there is always tomorrow...

Design done by me, saying found here

The thing about tomorrow is: The voice will be a bit louder. A bit more insistent. 
And it gets louder over time. Eventually it will get to the point where I simply can't stand that nagging voice any more, and do that thing from my list just to shut it the f*ck up!

Ladies and gentlemen, the day has arrived for one particular item on my list. You may have noticed that it keeps showing up, a bit louder each time: 

Write that novel.   

The voice is shouting at me now. I can't stop thinking about it, it keeps nagging me, and I have come to the point where it will be easier to just do it instead of having to listen to it. 

Here is the thing: I have so many excellent excuses! So many reasons not to do it! Here are just a few:
- I don't know what to write about.
- I need more life experience.
- I'm not good enough.
- It's crazy.
- My novel will suck.
And there are many more.

But then, two things happened recently that have changed my mind.
First: I found out about NaNoWriMo. Second, I bought the founder Chris Baty's book No Plot? No Problem!.
Chris managed to throw every excuse I could come up with back at me with a solution.

- Don't know what to write about. Is that really true? If I'm honest here, I have had a million and one idea for a novel. Just ideas though, not fully formed stories. That's what always held me back - I thought I needed to know the full story before. But it ain't so. I have experienced that with blog posts: sometimes I just start without knowing where it will end (here and here). Those posts are so much fun! You feel like you are taken on a ride by your own imagination, curious to where it will end. Chris promises that the characters we create will develop a life of their own, and the story will develop as you write it. I cannot wait.

-  More life experience/wisdom needed. If you wait for that, it will never happen. Every season of our life has its own challenges and pleasures. The novel you write in your 20s will be different than the one you write in your 50s, but does that mean it will be less good? What it will lack in wisdom it may make up for in exuberance (or something).

- I'm not good enough. I always automatically assumed that I would want to write a good novel. And while that's undoubtedly true, the spirit of NaNoWriMo is to start and finish a book. The point here is to cross that particular item off the list. Of course I hope it will be decent, but you know what? I will never find out if I don't try, and if my expectations are too high I will never even get started. So I give myself permission to write a terrible one. The pressure is off!

- It's crazy. Yes. But normal is boring.


- My novel will suck. That's okay. See above.

So here it is: I will give this a go. Starting May 1st. Because procrastination has its limits, the voices are too loud, and I just wanna see what happens! Also: hundreds of thousands of people have done it. And I can't help but think to myself: If they can do it, so can I.

The biggest reason though?
The voices will be silent.

Eeks!!!

xo Miriam

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11 comments

  1. Yay Miriam!! Glad to hear you are just taking the first step and just doing it! Really excited about following your progress. I love your graphics. I like how the flower looks almost paper like.

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  2. your horse (in your header) has a gorgeous gorgeous mane!! i want to get my hair to that exact colour :D

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    1. His mane is definitely one of his best features. Good luck with your hair adventures! :-)

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  3. OoooooOO! How exciting! I know you've got it in you!
    Ps. I love this post

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  4. I am a huge procrastinator till I see Fredrik relaxing and then all of a sudden I want to do all the things! Good luck on the book!

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  5. I am the queen of procrastination, so I totally feel you! and love that quote about tomorrow! good luck finding your motivation and sticking to it :)

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  6. You can do it!! And I really believe that when you get started, you're not going to be able to stop!! It's going to rock and roll.

    -Amy

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  7. Exciting! I love the way you write. Once you sit and start typing, it will all start to come together. You totally got this! I look forward to following the progress and am in line for one of the copies hot off the press :)

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  8. i haven't said thank you yet for your sweet response to my comment earlier. your answer was so very thoughtful and it made me feel a lot better. so, thank you so much :)

    and about the novel.. i'm sure you'll be able to write it :D you've got nothing to lose, just get started! you'll learn as you go. will you keep us updated?

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  9. Great post. My daughter, age 13 is wearing a shirt that says, Normal is boring. good luck with your novel writing. If you want to connect find me for tips and news of writing, editing, publishing and marketing at my website, Rebeccas Writing Svcs.com

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