Leaf, by Marcin Milewski

On having second thoughts

I’m second-guessing my novel idea for national novel writing month. I don’t know if historical fiction is really what I want to focus my time and energy on. As I said before, it’s not as simple as telling a story and yes, I know that I said that I needed to get all the worries about accuracy and history out of my head and just tell a story, but it’s weighing down on me. It’s weighing down on me so much that I’m ready to just bag the whole thing and not spend November writing.

Really, wouldn’t it be easier to write a contemporary story, probably YA, that won’t make me anxious or worried about whether I’m doing it right or wrong? I mean, if I’m going to write a novel in a month, shouldn’t I at least try and make it easy? What about all those ideas I have floating around that don’t require writing about a time period I wasn’t even alive during?

Which brings me to the second kind of second-guessing happening right now …

I’m second-guessing whether or not I should even do national novel writing month. I’m having a lot of trouble with writing right now. The only solid ideas I have for novels are YA, and the more I think about it, the more I realize I just can’t write YA any longer. I get sick to my stomach thinking about it sometimes. None of my novel ideas work for non-YA fiction. I could probably pull a Regency romance out if I let myself do it. (Maybe that’s what I should do. At least it would be super fun, I think!) But what I don’t have is a decent idea for literary fiction. Heck, I can’t even seem to come up with the start of a plot line. Or even a character. I can’t even come up with an opening scene. I was thinking maybe I could give magical realism a try. But I still need an idea – an idea that I don’t have.

I know I said that I don’t want to want to write and now I’m concerned that because I went off about that, I’ve squashed my desire to write entirely. In preparation for November 1, I thought I’d do some writing this past week. See if I could get 500 or 1,000 words a day. (If I’m to write 50K in a month, I’ll have to average just under 2,000 words a day, you see.) But every time I tried to write, I failed. The most I managed was about 5 words to the short story I’m in the middle of. I don’t even think it was a complete sentence. I thought if I got into the habit of writing, I would be ready for Sunday. But getting into the habit of writing isn’t going to happen. I found that I have nothing to write. Even though I’m in the middle of a short story that I think could be pretty cool when it’s done, I wasn’t even able to find the words to chip away at that.

So I guess you could say my second thoughts aren’t just about November. And it isn’t just about writing another novel. It’s about writing in general. But maybe that’s a heavy topic that’s best left for another day, when it’s not pouring down rain dreary, when I’m not seeing another query rejection in my inbox, and when I don’t feel like the very idea of attempting to write even 1,000 words on Sunday is too much and too impossible.

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