Saturday, October 9, 2010

In Honor of the Read-athon: Part 3

My final post in homage to the read-athon is to summarize my thoughts on the re-read of No Plot, No Problem by Chris Baty (I wrote a more in-depth review here).  The author is the founder of NaNoWriMo and I wanted to read this book again as motivation for my debut in this upcoming event.

While I know that I will have lots of obstacles to overcome in my attempt to write a 50,000 word novel in just 30 days, I think I know that my greatest enemy is my own inner critic.  I can already hear her telling me that this story is totally boring and no one has any interest in the subject.  I know that she is planting the seed of doubt even now as I write this blog post - and it is a good three weeks until November 1.  I know that she will constantly remind me that I am an English teacher - but now that the rubber meets the road, I will be proven a fraud.  I know that I will want to spend countless hours perfecting one sentence - rather than moving on to the story's climax (which is yet undetermined).  And yet....No Plot, No Problem has assured me that I am not the only one who feels this way.  That all writers, at some point in time, must confront their inner critic during the rough draft phase and tell him or her to take a hike and not return until it is time for revision.

I also know that my perfectionist ways will want to take over and prevent me from completing my goal.  That side of the brain has a difficult time with lowering standards and allowing creativity freedom.  The Left Side of the brain likes to retain constant control - but if I want to make any kind of break-through, I must be willing to relinquish my usual "high expectations" so that the weaker Right-Side can begin to flex its muscles.  I know that the month of November will be filled with far more inner conflict than outer distractions:  my children are grown, my husband travels, and I relish the thought of being alone for hours on end.  But my critical inner voice never takes a break and I anticipate that this kind of solitary activity is fertile breeding ground for it to blossom into a destructive monster.

I hope to work a bit more on character sketches and possible story climaxes between now and the first of the month.  While I don't want to over-plan and box myself into a corner too early in the game - I also know myself well enough to know that I need to have a general idea of where I want to start - and how I want to end - before I put pencil to page (or cursor to document, as the case may be).  I am nervous - I am doubtful - but I am ready to challenge myself as well.

Final stats for this unusual read-athon weekend:
3 books read/skimmed
665 pages
6.5 hours reading

While this was not my typical read-athon routine, it suited me today and I am glad that I was able to participate on at least a small scale.  I hope that all of you had a wonderful weekend - whether it be literary or otherwise.


  1. I think its not a small scale participation at all. You have done great.

  2. Molly, I used sticky notes. I never have been able to shut up my inner critic. So when she rears her ugly head, I grab the sticky note pad, jot down the problem and stick in on the page. This helps me move on.

    I also have a wall for sticky notes to go. This is for the notes that don't belong on a page.

    For any other issues, like the voice that says this isn't good or it's boring, I just tell it I know. It's not supposed be good. The 50,000 is for getting the idea from my head to paper. This is the pre-first

  3. I just finished reading all three parts of your Read-A-Thon posts. I really like how you did this - using it as a non-fiction time to research a topic of interest. I'm going to consider this for my next R-A-T.

    Good luck with NaNoWriMo. I don't think you've exactly said whether you are doing this or not but it feels as if you REALLY want to. I hope you do. I like J. Kaye's suggestions above as well as her encouragement. Consider this my encouragement as well.


Related Posts with Thumbnails