On Losing the Plot

Not literally, mind you. Mostly because I haven’t found it yet. The darn characters keep changing on me, and I can’t seem to make up my mind about the setting. Regarding the latter, I’ve decided to go with the old adage of ‘write what you know’, so the first act is now moving to South Africa. (Act 2 and 3 will, by necessity, be located in exotic locations I’ve never visited, but I’ll just make that up as I go along.)

But in any case the novel will get done in its own time. I’m for all intents and purposes withdrawing from NaNoWriMo 2014. I’m over fifteen thousand words behind schedule and am at present suffering from severe stare-at-a-blank-screen-syndrome. I’ve been trying to write every day since returning from my conference last week, dutifully opening Scrivener, staring at my notes, but since Sunday I’ve only managed a little over two hundred words.

I suppose it’s still possible for me to finish. Three thousand words a day would do the trick, but at the moment I just don’t have any words to write. As I said, I’ve lost the plot.

To start with, my conference was really good, but while I went there for ideas and inspiration, all I came back with are questions I do not even begin to know how to answer. Not academic questions, to be clear, but very distracting personal ones, about where my life is going (or not going), what I will find when (if) I reach my destination, whether I’m even on the right path to start with…

As if that wasn’t enough, I came home to the news that a good friend and former colleague had passed away. I’m going to her funeral in an hour, but it still hasn’t hit home that she’s gone. We’ve lost touch the past couple of years as she moved to a different school and I left teaching entirely, but I’m incredibly sad at the thought that she is gone.

So writing is hard at the moment and NaNoWriMo is just not that much of a priority. It’ll pass, but for now I’ll just let myself feel what I feel, and meanwhile I’ll keep staring at the screen hoping the words come, however few they may be…