‘If this jigsaw was easy, it wouldn’t be any fun. Because it’s a challenge, we feel really proud when we finish it.’ ‘Doing magic tricks isn’t easy. If it was, we’d all be magicians.’
These are the types of things you’d hear if you were a fly on our lounge room wall. On Friday, I could have done with that fly reminding me of those words.
‘You only said it yesterday,’ he’d buzz. ‘If it were easy, it wouldn’t be worth doing.’
It’s about that novel I said I was going to write.
I sat down to start it on Friday.
Not that easy.
On Thursday night when I went to bed, I was excited. I’d blogged about how I had a novel to write. Tomorrow I start my novel, I thought. I have the time. I have the passion. The determination. The motivation. And the ability. I don’t doubt any of those. I believe I can do it.
I’m like Lleyton.
(And Lleyton is like Adele. First name only and you know who I’m talking about. I talked about that once before – how I’d be Julie.)
So on Friday morning, I opened up my computer. I checked my emails. Spent a bit of time on Facebook. Changed the wallpaper photo on my desktop.
I opened Microsoft Word. Maybe I should look at a different word processing software, I thought. Writers say Scrivener is a must for writing a novel. So I researched Scrivener. It takes a bit to learn. Leave it for now. I’ve procrastinated enough. I should have realised that when I changed the wallpaper photo on my computer.
I opened the document I created in one of the writing courses. The piece was an exercise in which we had to come up with a character and then imagine that they’d placed a personal ad in a newspaper (woman seeking man, for example). To practise writing dialogue, we had to write a paragraph of monologue in which the character is defending herself for placing the ad. In the final week of the course, we were able to add structure, dialogue with another character, action, description and a setting so that we ended up with a 500 word scene.
My piece got great feedback from the tutor in that course. I read the scene aloud in another short course and author Lisa Heidke said it was excellent. Very well-written. The reader is thrown into the action and is intrigued about what’s going to happen, she said.
If I was Lleyton at the Australian Open, I’d just made it through the first round. (I’ll stick with Lleyton, because we know what happens to Sam Stosur…)
On Friday morning, I tried to think how I could continue that particular scene. Come up with 100,000 words, starting with those 500.
Okay. Maybe when my character’s phone rings in front of her husband, it could be someone responding to her personal ad.
But do personal ads contain phone numbers? I google that question but even with six tabs open, I can’t find the answer I need.
Actually, do personal ads even exist anymore? I google that.
How about online dating profiles — do they contain phone numbers? I open up RSVP and eHarmony but I can’t read anyone’s profile unless I sign up.
I decide not to sign up, since Anthony is probably already going to die if he looks at today’s googling history.
I realise I’m procrastinating again.
Just write. Carry on with the scene. Edit the finer details in a later draft.
It seems a big task to make 500 words into a novel when I don’t have a plan for the novel. Whatsoever. Pantsers just write, remember.
Maybe a short story would be easier. Maybe if I could turn my 500 words into a short story, I could enter it somewhere and win. That would make me feel like I’m through to the third round. It would confirm ability and add belief.
I google short story competitions.
But I don’t have a short story. So I google ‘how to write a short story.’
By that time, school was out and I realised the only thing I achieved for the day was fear and doubt.
One of the things I admire is people who are unstoppable. It doesn’t matter what they want for themselves or for someone else, they don’t stop until they get it. There are no excuses. No waiting. And no roadblocks. It doesn’t matter what other people say, being unstoppable means you go ahead anyway.
So today I’m going ahead. By making a plan. I want to be a writer. So I’m going to have a think about what sort of novel I’m going to write. Whether it is a novel. Whether I want to write a novel or something else. And I’m going to establish a writing habit.
Oh, and just because reading and writing are so exciting, here’s me helping Maeve read her reader on the first day of school:
Angelique Kerber wasn’t stopped after the first round. She didn’t zip up her racquet bag and announce that it was too hard. Winning the Australian Open was hard. But with determination, motivation and ability, Kerber worked to make her dream come true.
We should all be inspired by that.