Thoughts about NaNoWriMo 2011.
Tonight I finished my novel, “Relics.” Or rather, I passed the 50,000 word mark. 50,131 to be exact. That’s what we were supposed to do: write 50,000 words in 30 days. And I did that. Well, I didn’t really finish the novel itself. I looked down at the word count and realized I’d passed the 50K mark, stopped, hit Ctrl-A, then Ctrl-C, then Ctrl-V’d my novel into the validator form and hit enter. All manner of bells and whistles sounded.
It felt incredibly empty.
And I’m left feeling utterly drained and defeated at the end of all of this. Not only am I utterly unsatisfied with the final product, it’s absolute trash (in my opinion, and in this case mine is the only one that matters).
What’s worse is that everyone else seemed to pass the mark so effortlessly. Some people even finished weeks ahead of schedule. And I had to strive and churn, and basically shut myself away all weekend to get even 50,131 fucking awful words out; none of which made any sense plot-wise, and none of which I’m happy with. So, after submitting it tonight (or this morning, rather), I selected the last 18,489 words and without a single hesitation or thought hit the delete key. This is what comes of being a slightly bi-polar, depressed hyper-perfectionist: I’m my worst and most unforgiving critic.
Basically, I can’t forgive myself for not coming up with something decent, or even passable. None of it feels inspired. The concept that I came up with was way out of my league, at least for the given time frame. The deeper I got into the story the more I realized I didn’t know and didn’t have time to sketch or work out; and the more I didn’t know the steeper the curve became and the more daunting and formidable the shadow of my own incompetence grew. There’s a whole world other I haven’t worked out and just couldn’t get the voice for, that I’ve barely scratched the surface of, and I should have been able to. Other people seem to have been able to do it.
I was only able to produce absolute shit.
All I’ve wanted to do for the last three weeks is curl up in a ball, watch movies and just not have to deal with novels or the rest of the goddamn world. I feel creatively and emotionally drained and empty. I’m looking back on past work that I’ve done, even for the short fiction collection I finished in October, and that was much more inspired. Even this feels insipid.
Depression is a bitch, my friends, and it sucks being a creative artist afflicted with it.
I’m going to bed. After I make my bed, of course. I just took the laundry out of the dryer.