There’s 14 days left until the beginning of NaNoWriMo, I’m floundering badly and I can’t get that dreaded Nora Roberts quote out of my head, “You can’t fix a blank page.” Unsurprisingly it’s currently getting wheeled out a lot, with lots of other motivational gubbins. It’s not helping. It’s absurd that completing NaNo last year should fill me with so much self doubt and yet it does. I finished a Wilkie Collins biography a couple of days ago which has left me feeling wholly inadequate. If he wasn’t writing, he was thinking of new stories to tell or meticulously plotting one he had in the works. I wish I had half of his tenacity (and talent), hell, even a quarter of it would see me right. Perhaps the second NaNo is the hardest because of the pressure to repeat your performance. Last year does feel like a fluke and that the only reason I completed it was because I’d been working on the story in my head for at least a year. I knew where it was going, how it would unfold but I don’t have that with the story I’m thinking of for this year. I’ve made notes on what it’s all about but so far haven’t been able to figure out a timeline of events for it and have no idea of how it ends. I know I don’t have to have a masterpiece all planned out but I feel really uncomfortable with this level of uncertainty. The one thing I used to love about creative writing with Mr Mower, is that he gave us a first line to turn into a story of our own. I have a first line, a first line that had he given us, I would have been ecstatic about. I would have been giddy with ideas. When I think of it like that I can’t help but wonder what the fuck happened. I know back then all we had to produce was a few pages in an A5 exercise book, but I’m not even sure I could do that. I find myself asking not how did I do it, but when did I stop being able to do it? Maybe it’s a grown up thing. Maybe over the years life fills you with insecurities and beats it out of you. What I wouldn’t give to be back in Mr Mower’s class right now, huddled over over my exercise book and scribbling in excitement.

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