Mountains Out of Molehills: Overcoming False Muses and Distraction

In NaNoWriMo terms, I aspire to be a prepper, not a pantser. I fear, however, that even though I began prepping for my novel in August, I will ashamedly be a pantser come November. (Even the sound of the word incites dread.)

I have responsibly scheduled time for brainstorming, research and planning, hoping to unearth brilliance. I am determined to make this work. I am ready to fight off the pests of procrastination and unproductivity! I am ready to write!  

But after a month of purposeful thinking and research, my greatest efforts are undermined by false muses…I got nothing. Not even a general idea, let alone a world, characters and storyline. 

I’m trying not to panic. (I still have two months, right?) I hope something is burrowing beneath the surface, but I’m watching for an idea that hasn’t yet reared its ugly head so I can whack it! Yes, I am getting violent…metaphorically, of course. 

Today’s dedicated time, for instance, ended in a winding, dark tunnel. With best intentions, I began studying an inspirational author who defied societal standards, created a masterpiece structure to be emulated for years, and is still being excavated by literary and historical experts. This breaking of ground started well…and then I started researching moles.
Yes. Moles. 

I thought I was on to something. A play on “making mountains out of molehills” to guide the theme of my social-commentary novel. It was an exciting idea. (Yes! It was. Stop laughing!) But when I came to a dead end, the butterflies of excitement turned to wriggly worms of regret.

In realistic consideration of the planning that goes into developing ideas, I had set aside time for such meaningless digging. But I felt this precious time had crumbled into oblivion. 

Sure, I can hold the life lesson in my larder for later use…or so I tell myself. But meanwhile, the first rains of the gathering storm that is NaNoWriMo press down on what (very little) I have cultivated. I have failed. My legs have buckled on a soft spot in the earth, and I have fallen.

Ok! I’m exaggerating! And I still have almost two months. But that doesn’t mean this little failure won’t effect me. 

Failure can bury us in disappointment, or it can smoke out what we had been trying to catch all along. It’s a double agent, but you choose which side it works for. 

We write from our experiences. So while the topic of moles may never pop up in my writing, I trust this experience is part of a complex network of ideas.  

So, don’t get discouraged by failure. Or, do, because really you should, at least a little, if you are at all realistic. But then re-emerge from the molehill, acknowledging it isn’t actually a mountain. 

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What disappointment have you faced that has turned into greatness?

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