I’m going to a writers conference in a few weeks but I have been stricken with a sudden case of “Who Am I Kidding?” I have a portion of a novel written and even though a week ago I thought, “Hey, I can do this; it’s not bad,” recent days have left me convinced that it is boring and stupid and bad. Who am I kidding? (Not me. I am not fooled by myself.)
Listen. Anne Lamott says you have to write a “shitty” first draft (her word, not mine, but it is the perfect word for the occasion). I repeat that to myself. But I wonder if I can even do that. As an alternative, I think a memoir would be just the thing . . . and then I think I am delusional. And then I want a cookie and a nap.
I am bracing myself for a hard slap of reality, accompanied by a big dollop of rejection. I am a pessimistic person by nature and now I am drowning in a sea of gloom. I’ve got to snap out of it! Or eat more cookies.
I was at a dinner party recently and someone had to mention that I am writing a novel (which is not entirely accurate–mostly I am avoiding writing my novel because I am paralyzed with terror) . . . and someone said, “Tell us what it’s about,” and I had the good sense to say, “No!” Everyone laughed. I was off the hook and the conversation moved on. I am embarrassed to be writing a novel because it seems foolhardy and insane. It’s like telling someone you are building a house with your own two hands when you don’t even own a hammer.
But in a couple of weeks, I need to be able to answer that question (“What is your novel about?”) in a tidy paragraph. It would be helpful if I came up with a title. Calling it “Novel Ha Ha” is not going to cut it.
I think I’ll bake some cookies.