Photo Credit: JosephGilbert.org via Compfight cc
The words won’t come. I try to coax them out into the open. Sweet sing-songy platitudes call them forward, but they remain just beyond my sight. I know they are there somewhere, but the miasma has engulfed them. Frustrated I call louder, more urgent, insistent. Still the words won’t come.
I give up the pretense of being calm or rational and slam my fist as I demand they answer me. I know they are out there and now I can feel them laughing and mocking my building rage. I feel them, but I cannot hear them, they won’t even give me that much.
So many times they have lead me by the hand, feeding me reassurances that I possessed a measure of talent. They enticed me with visions of worlds yet explored and tales unconquered. How could I have not been made to think this was what I was called to do? My whole life believing, with a sense of entitlement, that these words belonged to me and me alone. Knowing that one day I would hold them close and they would tell me all of their secrets. I would wield them like a well sharpened sword and cleave a path to my destiny. Only now, they refuse and I can see my path crumbling like over-baked clay. The more I struggle to collect them the less substance they hold. Soon they will blow away and I’ll be left alone.
I thrust my hands into the darkness and flail helplessly trying to find some small purchase to take hold of. I almost think I’ve got something, but I’m overeager and loose my grip before I can even begin to reel it out into the light. I feel the anger rise up in my throat like bile and I spit it out into the air around me letting it fill the room like a heavy fog. With no vent to escape the dense clouds instead double back on me causing my eyes to tear up as my self inflicted hatred wounds every exposed part of me.
It is in these times I know the terrible truth of myself. My fraudulent nature, my unfulfilled desire to be more than I am. I know and I mourn the things I can never allow myself to want because in these moments I know I do not deserve them.
The cursor blinks on the empty screen, still waiting for me to begin. The words won’t come.
Of the handful of people who follow my blog I’ve noticed a surplus of wildly brilliant creative types. You guys clearly have great taste so I thought I’d pass some info along for any aspiring short-story writers to jump on. Hofstra Law, with Professor Alafair Burke, and Mulholland Books is hosting a Mystery Writing Competition . The contest is being judged by some high profile crime novelists and the first place winner will be published online and promoted by Mulholland for added exposure, not to mention a pretty sweet cash prize as well.
There are a few guidelines mentioned on the flyer; the main character must be a lawyer, stories should be unpublished works of less than 3,500 words, and the whole thing should be submitted in a double-spaced 12 point font that Microsoft Word won’t object to opening.
I’m on the fence about trying to come up with something for this, I have plenty of work I’m already neglecting, but since there is a clear deadline I might give it a shot if inspiration strikes. Ah yes, the deadline is May 1st to email your story. Like I said, cash prize and some well earned online kudos sound pretty sweet. Let me know if you’re planning to send something in so I can shout encouragement while I contemplate my own procrastination.
Hit the link here to check out the competition flyer and submission guidelines. The game is on!
Just in case anyone was wondering, I did not in fact drop off the face of the earth. I’ve actually been rather busy as of late making an honest effort at doing that whole novel writing thing. As you’ve probably surmised, last month was National Novel Writing Month and I was an active participant. It was stressful and frustrating, but in the end I managed to put down more words towards an original story than ever before so I’m counting it as a win. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that I also managed to hit 50K by the skin of my teeth so my competitive nature was also rewarded.
Through the course of the month I read a lot of rumblings about how Novel Writing Month was a foolish endeavor, taken up by people who didn’t have the wherewithal to just sit down and write a novel on their own. While I’d be the first to admit that my 50K is little more than a glorified rough (very rough) draft, I do take some offense to the idea that only talentless hacks would bother to claim novel status for anything written for numbers rather than content.
Sure, there is some tremendous drek churned out in November, but statistically there must be some gems mixed in as well. I cannot fault anyone for chasing the dream of being a writer, or any dream at all come to it. If it takes a special month of feeling accountability to give them the push they need then so be it.
Currently, I’ve stepped back from my first draft to give the novel time to settle so that when I go back to edit I can come at it with a fresh perspective. Large portions will have to be cut, even more will have to be rewritten entirely. That’s fine though, that’s what I expected going into this and I’m actually looking forward to watching my story grow and mature with every draft until it’s ready to flutter off to a proper editor and someday perchance an actual agent.
In the meanwhile, I have some other projects that I’ve been neglecting and a mountain of reading to catch up on. I’m planning to pick up with a more defined writing schedule after the holidays. Hopefully this will include adding more to this blog in addition to some of the other places where I share work.
Gaming aside, I think I most missed having time to just read during the hectic whirlwind that was my November. Gotta admit, it’s nice to be able to have other hobbies again now that I’m not desperately struggling to make word count every night.