I am listening to Jason Mraz’s Clockwatching and it’s such an apt song for what the month of November stands for, for a special breed of creature. This creature is recognizable by the copious amounts of coffee it consumes, has a perpetually glazed look and can be found muttering to itself, mostly in dark corners. Its best friend: A laptop.
I am talking about the WRIMO, my fellow writers, a creature so brave as to attempt writing an entire novel of 50,000 words in 30 days. Call it a quest, a hunt, an adventure, a dream come true, call it what you want but there is nothing braver and scarier than sitting in front of a blank screen and waiting for inspiration to strike you, much like lightning does. And chances are, lightning might, but inspiration is a very tricky babe. And then cajole, curse and coax this tricky babe into helping you out till you hit that magical number: 50,000 and THE END.
There are many pitfalls on this obstacle course (another nickname) but the first and all-encompassing one is called Writer’s Block. Or as I like to call it: ‘Go scream into the pillow because I am worth nothing’ Syndrome.
Some say write on, others say write crap, still others say sit back and review, don’t write till you’re sure. But when you’re writing your magnum opus in 30 days it’s a bit difficult to shake those gremlins of self-doubt and plod on. I, personally, suffer from Writer’s Block every other day that I am writing and I know of no cure to make it better except to fall in love.
Predominantly, I write about love. Two strong people falling in love, with each other, with life, with the work they’re doing and with love. It’s not necessarily always romance (of the hand-holding, declarations of love types) but it is love. Chaotic, consuming, can’t live without each other kind of love, as the inimitable Carrie Bradshaw says. And love, my friends, is like riding a dragon. The only way to tame it is to let yourself go.
And the only way to let go? Fall.
It took me four seconds to look at a W cover of a half-naked Hugh Jackman to decide I’ve found my hero, my Brandon Rice. The White Knight I am dying to write about. With Krivi Iyer, it was a mix of several different heroes, all of them hunky and damaged in their own ways. And with my new MS (that’s unfortunately not a part of NaNo2014) it is a single image of a strong man with very strong values and a work ethic, heroically not breaking down despite overwhelming odds. I got that image in my head and BAM! my block ended, I fell in love with my story and the words started flowing again.
Needless to say, not everyone has a hero’s image fixed in their head when they write, but it does help to fall in love with that one thing that keeps you connected to your story. Every day, for all the 30 days and nights that your laptop becomes your best friend and worst enemy: It could be an image, it could be the lines to a song, or a complicated plot map that you took ages to make and that is taking shape in chapter and verse.
Once upon a time a young girl (a two years younger me) had a small dream. She read Scott Westerfeld’s opening Nano Peptalk and imagined the honor, thrill and joy she would get if it was she who was talking to her fellow writer friends. If she was telling them to write on, never stop, not even when November ends.
And so, I will end my piece with just that thought. Write on. Never stop. Not even when November ends. Your novel deserves it and so do you.
Aarti V Raman aka Writer Gal
Aarti V Raman is an established novelist in the romantic thriller genre (White Knight, Kingdom Come). 28 year-old Aarti V Raman is a Mass Media graduate from Mumbai University. It was as a student of Creative and Professional Writing at Deakin University in Melbourne that she learned to hone her craft and achieve her lifelong ambition of writing romances that had strong characters and stronger stories that remained etched in the reader’s minds.
Her first novel “White Knight” was published by Leadstart in 2012. In 2013, her work was excerpted in the Tamil Edition of Mills and Boon novels. And in 2014, her short story “Post-Coital Cigarette” was chosen to be part of the Rupa Romance Anthology, “An Atlas of Love,” curated by bestselling author Anuja Chauhan. Her latest novel “Kingdom Come” (Harlequin MIRA) has enjoyed a brief stay on the bestseller lists of Amazon India. She is represented by Red Ink Literary Agency, India.
Aarti loves to hear from her readers and friends on email at firstname.lastname@example.org, on Facebook as Aarti V Raman-Author and on Twitter @RT_writes