Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Failure is Not My Muse

NaNoWriMo gives me the following advice:

Tell everyone you know that you're writing a novel in November. [...] Seriously. Email them now about your awesome new book. The looming specter of personal humiliation is a very reliable muse.

Humiliation. Well, that used to be a great motivator for me. Lately, however, the fear of failure has been sending me directly to failure. For example: Recently, a job became available as desk help at a local hotel. I was incredibly excited by this. So excited that I began to worry about being rejected. Getting an e-mail from a fast food place telling me that they have no open positions I am qualified for is an annoyance. Getting one from some massive Graphic Design company is disappointing. This was something which felt reachable.

The first day, I sat at my computer and tried to distract myself enough to calm down. The second day, swamped with guilt, I lay in bed alternately staring at the wall and sleeping. The third day, I hid beneath the covers and cried.

I later confessed my nerves to my father, a huge mistake on my part. I should know better by now than to hope for encouragement. Instead, he reminded me that a former boss of mine (a woman I couldn't stand, who fired me when Workforce Development stopped paying her back half my wages) eventually left to work at this hotel.

"I was fired from that job, you know," I told him. He just grinned. I don't know why. Why was he grinning at me? He seemed to think it amusing. Anyway, I spent the next two days alternately sitting at my computer and sleeping, and never went in to get an application.

Despite the likelihood that I will not manage to write a 50,000 word rough draft of a novel, I have told a couple people.

I will not be telling my family. As much as I long for their approval and support, that is not what I would get, if anyone managed to read it. Whatever I write seems to apply directly to them. My sister read a play I wrote, which was based on characters I'd used and changed multiple times; she decided that I had made her a cripple and was bashing her.

Actually, the only reason the main character had a brother at all was that I originally created the pair for a role-playing site which needed more single male characters. I crippled the brother for the same reason I killed his mother in my play, to give my protagonist a deep source for his guilt. Not because my parents are divorced and... I don't even know why I'd injure my sister. Except that she trashed my work.

So there's no reason for me to worry about pleasing anyone with what I write. I'm telling you, because you're all very supportive and I love you all to pieces, and two of my friends know. If I fail, I will not feel humiliated, and that's good. Now I just need to decide what to write about.


  1. I'm personally awaiting a signed first edition of your smutnovels.. But I have the patience of a saint, so I don't mind waiting.


  2. You do indeed have the patience of a saint. It's been how many years now since I started the first? At least I've been writing in the meantime, if not anything I can print, bind, and sell.