“I’m going to write fiction today,” she says, as if it’s the easiest thing in the world to do. “I haven’t written fiction for ages. This should be fun!”
She sits down, adjusts her keyboard and sips her coffee. Aaah coffee. That restorative, life-giving brew that she simply cannot start her day without.
The screen is blank. The coffee is good. She takes another sip. The words “I don’t know what to write about” resonate around in her head. Seriously. I don’t.
“Well,” she thinks, “this isn’t exactly what I had in mind.”
“Come on!” The voice in her head is having its say now. “Did you really think it would be that way? That you’d just sit down and your computer and the words would come? Who are you kidding? You have no idea what you’re going to write about, do you? You’re wasting your time here, chicky.”
She sighs and takes another sip of coffee. “What am I going to write about?”
She closes her eyes and takes some deep breaths. Two deep breaths to be precise. She hopes that an image will for in her mind. She doesn’t care what it is. Anything that could trigger something to write about.
She remembers the last time she attempted to write fiction. She’d taken part in the annual National Novel Writers Month, commonly known as NaNoWriMo, which is an online event that challenges people to write a 50,000 word novel in the month of November. It doesn’t have to be perfect. The idea is simply to get the words down. She’d taken part a couple of times. The first time she started developing RSI a couple of weeks in and abandoned the project rather than risk her health. That was her story anyway.
The second time, three years ago, she had stuck to a schedule and had completed 50,000 words of a story that started out being autobiographical, in the sense that the situation she was writing about was based on a situation she was facing, but that ended up with the lead character getting her man, in a story that had very little in the way of plot, conflict (I believe this is now called “complication”) or character development. However, she’d met the requirements of the brief: write the words.
“Why don’t you visit Clara now and see what she’s up to?” suggested the helpful voice in her head. Helpful was the voice that decided she was going to write some fiction without any ideas or plans and assumed she’d just be able to wing it. Helpful was helpful in the same way that the voice that gets you to sign up for a marathon when you have no experience in marathon running is helpful.
She sighed. She couldn’t actually remember where she’d left Clara in November 2014. She vaguely recalled that Clara had reached a point where she wasn’t going to take any shit from anyone any more and had used the words from the song “Let It Go” to inspire her to reclaim her life. She thought that it was supposed to be a metaphor for her own reawakening and reclaiming her own life and that she’d planned to take the lessons from Clara’s story and apply them herself while she felt inspired.
Clearly that hadn’t worked.
She needed a new strategy.