Thursday, 13 October 2011

Just when I thought I was out...

... they pulled me back in.
Al Pacino (although I prefer Silvio Dante's version)

I've fallen victim to an illness, no doubt suffered by many NaNoWriMo participants.
I'm suffering from the disease of misplaced perfectionism.

NaNoWriMo isn't about creating a breathtakingly wonderful debut novel.  I need to remind myself of this.  The purpose of my Nano experience is to simply complete a novel.

It will be good to practise the craft; establish the basic fundamentals of storytelling (a beginning, middle and end; a satisfactory opening and resolution etc).  I want to write fabulous novels, in time, and consider this as part of my training.

To say I've been prone to over-thinking recently would be a gross understatement.  I've been beating up my poor little story, trying to force a better premise out of it.  I've been torturing my characters, demanding they yield to my creative demands and confess their juicy secrets.  Tony Soprano is rummaging around my head with a vengeance.

As much as I love Tony (who doesn't adore the big, cuddly, cold-blooded killer?), he's not what I need right now.  I need Paulo Coelho.  I need his serene presence in my psyche, telling me it's going to be alright and helping me along my path to wonderment.  

I'm not religious.  Your God is My Paulo, though.  If Paulo were rummaging around my head, he'd tell me "when you find your path, you must not be afraid.  You need to have sufficient courage to make mistakes".

He'd pat me on the shoulder and say "whenever you want to achieve something, keep your eyes open, concentrate and make sure you know exactly what it is you want.  No one can hit their target with their eyes closed".

And finally, he'd reassure me "there is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure".

So, aside from re-reading The Alchemist, I will spend the weekend working on my plot/outline with fresh eyes and less pressure.

What would Tony say to that?

"Why don't you get the f**k out of here before I shove your quotation book up your fat f*****g a**."


How are you all getting on with your NaNoWriMo's, people?



Daniel Swensen said...

I love it. You could do a lot worse than Tony Soprano for a mildly abusive motivational coach. I tend to quash my perfectionism with a sarcastic version of myself, who looks on my work with a condescending grin and says "really?" I hate him, and yet I crave his approval.

Catherine Noble said...

Haha Daniel, what an image! He'll either break you or make you, though... you show him who's boss :)

Lauren I. Ruiz said...

Hahaha, great post. I love The Alchemist by the way.

I'm going through the "misplaced perfectionism" stage right now...Whether I have a limited amount of time or not, I want to create something wonderful, but maybe you're right, maybe I should take it easy. After all, this year's NaNo will be the first time I dedicate myself to finally writing AND finishing a novel.

wordsurfer said...

Hey Catherine,

I would normally post this on the "about" page, but there seems to be no comments option there. What I want to say is this: CONGRATULATIONS!

I've awarded you the "Versatile Blogger Award", and you can read about it here:
If you make it through to the end of the post, that's where I mention your blog and give all the wonderful reasons why I award you this honour. :)

Antje aka wordsurfer

Catherine Noble said...

@Lauren I. Ruiz - Thank You! It's great, isn't it? I'm reading it again just now! We both have the same goal for this NaNo; I'm sure we'll accomplish it if we put our minds to it :) I'm clinging on to the prospect of putting the "wonderful" stuff into it when editing. November, for me, will be about getting all the right dynamics and sentiment into the story, then I can work on the craft later (I don't think I write well enough to master it simultaneously at the moment). Best of Luck :)

@wordsurfer - Thanks so much, Antje; I'm delighted! I look forward to discovering the blogs of the other awardees too :) Have a lovely day!

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