A few days ago a fellow NaNoWriMo novelist read an excerpt I posted on the board, enjoyed it, and sent me a private message telling me so. This surprised me because this person is not related to me and is therefore under no obligation to enjoy my writing (hi, Mom!!)
My first reaction was to jump up and down in my computer chair and holler, and I quote: “SQUEEEEEE!” (I’m pretty sure that’s how Ernest Hemingway reacted the first time he realized someone had enjoyed his work.) In fact, there is still some inward squeeeeee-ing going on as we speak.
My second reaction was paralysis. That’s right: writer’s block. Because it occured to me (bright girl that I am) that a person I didn’t know read something I wrote, liked it, and then felt compelled to let me know it. I flipped through the pages of my latest literary output (well, I scrolled through them, this being the computer age and all) and realized that most of my latest literary output was a big fat steaming pile of crap (or, as my very talented writer friend, Amy, says: CARP. Hi Amy!!!) I had a few nuggets that could be sterilized at a later date and possibly be made fit for human consumption, but that was about it.
And so, I stared at my monitor, chomping on dark chocolate covered espresso beans, listening to Breakfast in America (part of my novel is set in the late 1970s, so I need the appropriate background music), waiting for inspiration. Nothing. I went into the bathroom and put on some green eyeshadow, just like Margaret Mitchell did while she was writing Gone With The Wind (I’m not making that up…she really did do that) and sat down at my desk again. Still nothing. After three hours of nothing, I gave it up and played Yahtzee with my still-ailing hubby for the rest of the afternoon. (Hi Hon!!!)
Then night fell. The kids went to bed. My hubby settled down in front of the television. And I stared at the monitor. Still paralysed. I chomped on espresso beans. Listened to ELO (shut up!) Then I peeked through the spam in my Yahoo email account, hoping I might find something in there that would inspire me.
Oddly enough, I did. There were no less than eight offers for me to purchase Viagra at a startling discount. That’s right. I’m a thirty-seven-year-old woman (which means I don’t have a penis, flaccid or otherwise) and yet someone thought I might be interested in purchasing Viagra. That’s when I had a revelation that might startle you as much as it did me.
I’m not Ernest Hemingway.
People who work as spammers for Viagra see my name, shrug, and think, “Maybe he suffers from erectile dysfuntion.” That was a very comforting thought. It meant I can fill my monitor with as much crap as I want this month…and nobody has to know. So I cracked my knuckles and added another 1016 words to my novel. Then I did what NaNoers are not supposed to do…I looked back–again–through some of the previous 15,000+ words. And, guess what? It wasn’t as crappy as I thought.