Following my disastrous first two days of NaNo I have continued the trend by learning another lesson. This one you’ll laugh at, probably.
Lesson 2: Save your work.
Sounds simple right? You’d think that any self-respected writer would know to SAVE their work before leaving their laptop for two minutes. But oh no, not me.
Me and my fish brain.
I honestly have the most terrible memory these days, and after writing an abundance of words, I forgot to save my work. Then my son wanted to jump on my laptop and play Pet Simulator on Roblox.
When I finally prised the laptop back off my son, (hours later) I tried to find my book. “Love Me, Sweetie.” Unfortunately, the whole book was GONE.
Turns out, at some point in the day, my son had drained the battery to the laptop and let it die before plugging it in to recharge. Normally documents auto save or can be recovered but it appears that luck is against me because for once, my hard work was lost forever.
I feel like Leonardo DiCaprio in the Beach when he cries out at the sky and screams “Noooooo!”
But, I am simply determined NOT to let this run of bad luck deter me. I WILL do this! I will write my novel and be a NaNo 2018 winner!
I will, I tell you! I will!
So, I started again. Thankfully, I was able to retrieve the text I wrote on day 1 and paste that into the document and just write from there. So it’s not all lost, eh.
Soon enough, the words started to flow fluidly, like a steady trickle of water along a river bank. Actually, scrap the water analogy, that will make me want to get up to go to the toilet and now I am paranoid that if I leave my laptop before I’m finished for the night, my hard work with somehow get corrupted, lost or banished. You can never be too careful.
As my sweet story took a sour turn, my main character Ada, lovingly showed me something I was unable to see before. It was like I was able to look at my memories of my father in hospital, dying, and see if as if I was not in my body. As I typed the words, Ada whispered to me “It’s alright,” and I instinctively knew what to write. My hands trembled a little because the experiences, the setting, it was so raw to revisit. It required me to access painful memories that were sealed up in a vault, not to be retrieved. Although Ada’s story is different to mine, she was in the same hospital, same Intensive Care Unit and it all felt very, very real.
They do say that you should write about what you know. I suppose it makes sense that my character would end up in a setting that I knew a lot about. What I am curious about is how this event will affect my character? How will it shape the way she forges relationships in the future, how will it impact the choices she makes later in the story? None of that is known at present, I’m just going along for the ride.
I know this sounds like I have some crazy mental thing going on. Like a hallucination or multiple personality disorder, but unless you are a writer yourself, you wouldn’t understand. Our characters are real, they have a story and it’s theirs to tell. Well, Stephen King gets it anyway.
What I find the most interesting, is that Ada is helping me to process the trauma that I experienced when I visited the hospital to see my father as he was dying from interstitial lung disease. (Which I did not know at the time, we all thought he just had a really bad chest infection.) The smells, the environment, the sounds, the people…the beeping of the medical equipment, the dimly lit halls…the glass windows to the rooms with people laying in beds attached to all manner of wires and tubes. Some of the things I’ve seen…they reminded me of Alien. They reminded me of horror.
They were real-life horror. To me.
Yet here Ada is, making me type it all out in her way, showing me the beauty, the soft-edges of it all. Helping me to SEE, more than I ever could.
They say writing is therapeutic and good for the grieving process. I had no idea it could help me to see some things from an entirely different viewpoint.
It’s going to be a long night. The inspiration is here, the household is asleep and my fingers are itching to go.