Normally, when you tell someone you missed your exit because you were too busy talking to yourself, they give you that look. The are-you-joking-you-might-be-clinically-insane look. As a writer, however, you get a free pass for a lot of questionable behavior such as this.
I was going to work (like I do 5 out of the 7 days of the week). And I was talking to myself, recording it with a handy dandy app. Why was I doing this?
Well, I’ve officially hit week two of Nanowrimo, which means I have a hurdle to hurdle. Week two is classically the week where a lot people run out of steam. And I, alas, have hit a roadblock. I’m still stuck in Chapter 11, where I can’t find a smooth transition from the streets to the palace, and my MC is a bit too grouchy to have the serious conversation I planned. Sigh.
In this, the direst of hours, I decided to dictate on my way to work. Usually, I don’t like the sound of my own voice on a recording device. But I figure since no one really does, I could suck it up and see if it’s helpful.
A lot of times, I talk to someone just to get my ideas out of my own head. Talking about things allows our brains to process it a bit more. So I started off my recording by complaining about the temperature, traffic, and my car troubles. Then I moved on to explaining how I didn’t know where I was going next in my novel.
THEN (here’s where it all went south), I started speaking the dialogue from a scene that I wanted to happen. It was relatively dramatic, and I was switching between an angsty, emotionally distraught voice and a soothing calm voice. I was getting really into it, sensing the build-up of emotions, adding a few dialogue tags here and there.
And that’s when I saw it. The exit sign, off by a single digit. I’d missed my exit and was about to miss this one too. I swerved, braked, and left the freeway in an astonished huff. I’d never actually missed an exit before. Sure, I’d gotten lost or forgotten, but never simply missed it.
Needless to say, the remainder of the recording captured an array of emotions on my part:
- More anger
- Confusion (How do I get to work from here?)
- Determination (Pull over, consult GPS)
- Anger again (GPS SIGNAL NOT FOUND)
- Determination (I’ll just drive that way)
- Deflated (Just kidding, now I’m in downtown. I need to go north.)
- Distraught (WHERE IS NORTH??)
- Anger in the form of fury (GPS signal not found (but I’m in a city, not the middle of nowhere!), and Car making funny noises the day after I got it repaired!!)
- Hopelessness (So much for getting into work early!)
- Embarrassment (I’m pretty sure the Recording App just picked up a few choice words that I rarely speak aloud)
- Wounded (GPS finally operational, head back to work)
- Vengeful (Lock GPS in Glove Box, sentencing it to four days of solitary confinement.)
- Hopeful (Rescue a surprise piece of beef jerky from glove box, consume at leisure.)
What did I learn? GPS should not be relied upon. My sense of direction is not always accurate, and sometimes it’s bass ackwards. I am easily distracted, and cannot be trusted.
Speaking into a recording app, while unconventional and potentially ear-grating, is helpful!
Even though I missed my exit, I did so because I really got into the emotions and scenes of my novel. And despite all of the emotional consequences, I came out of the ordeal with a half-written scene and a belly full of beef jerky.
And that’s what writing is all about: inspiration, hard work, and snacks.
If being a little late to work is the price I pay to keep producing words for my Nano Novel, then that’s A-Okay!