Complacency catastrophes By Annie Try

Here is the result of becoming complacent owners of a six month-old puppy. When we first had Flossie, everything was put out of reach. Many things still are up high. But until last night, Flossie had not shown any interest in electric leads at all. Gradually I became complacent leaving plugs in sockets with the switches turned off. 

Yesterday morning I discovered the lead from the adapter to my laptop has been completely demolished. It is a very neat demolition job, each section measuring about an inch. I’m afraid my first words to Flossie were not commending her on her mathematical abilities. I don't know how long it took her to create the damage, but I do know I spent much of the day trying to source a new adapter with its attached lead, so far without success.

In a similar way, I went out of the room about two weeks ago leaving four balls of wool safely in a drawstring bag. I was gone for less than three minutes and came back to a huge web of tangled wool covering half the carpet. My friend and I spent about half-an-hour rewinding two of the balls but the knotted remainder awaits my attention when I have a spare hour or two. I should have known better.

I am telling you about this because National Novel Writing Month is looming and, along with possibly millions of others, I use the month to write a first draft. Mostly the ideas flow and my fingers fly across the keyboard. But, in my haste to reach each day’s target of the right number of words, I find myself thinking ‘Oh, I’ll write that for now, I’ll sort it out later.’ Or I repeat things. Yes repeat things. Or change names. Or muddle dates. Or my sentences or even words end unfinis …

In other words, I become complacent about the quality of my manuscript. I am left with something almost impossible to work into anything coherent. From a few years ago, I have a lovely dystopian tale - correct in length for a YA novel, but too tangled a mess to be anywhere near ready. Each time I put something right it has the knock-on effect of messing up something else. My research and preparation was hopelessly inadequate. Writing it was incredibly fast, but it will take many, many more hours than that to rewrite it to a state where it can receive its first edit.

This year I will aim to write at half speed and be careful, not complacent. I shall use the same amount of time but produce half a workable YA novel, the sequel to the one coming out next month.

Who thinks I can resist the lure of the word count and cope with a line dropping away from the projected course on the NaNoWriMo graph? This will be even more of a challenge than the 1670 or so words a day.

Proverbs 14:8a

The wisdom of the prudent is to give thought to their ways

Annie Try writes for both adults and young adults. She is the creator of the Dr Mike Lewis stories and her next young adult novel, The Dangerous Dance of Emma JJ will be published in November 2022 by Kevin Mayhew Publishers.

Post a Comment