November Hiatus

Well, where the hell have I been? The short answer is: deadlining. That special, recurring time in every writer’s life when she forsakes everything around her—family, friends, spouse, hygiene—and nothing else matters but caffeine, the word processor and the ever shrinking days on the calendar. It’s a lonely period in which she bleeds red ink after lengthy scraps with a malformed manuscript, and when she’s done she’s so exhausted she’s not even sure it was worth it.

Anyway, its worth is for an editor to decide now. I’m happy to be done with it. (Oh god, I hope I’m done with it.) And frankly, I need a break. Which leads me to answer the question on the lips of everyone in my various writers’ groups:

No, I’m not doing NaNo this year. Sorry guys. I didn’t technically do NaNo last year either. Alex did; I just set my word counter to 50,000 and wrote them. Now, the thing about NaNo is that it’s not particularly hard to write 50,000 words in 30 days. At least, I didn’t think so. The difficulty is in writing 50,000 words that you’re satisfied enough with that you actually keep them. What happened to my 50,000? I started the manuscript over, and haven’t so much as looked at them as reference material in the year since I crapped them out of my head. Don’t take that as my inference that NaNo is BS, but for me it doesn’t do what it’s intended to do: to push out a novel that’s uselessly bouncing around in the to-do pile.

To everyone diving into NaNo this year, good luck. I’m putting my pen down this month.

Sort of.

I’m going to focus my November on revising some of my short stories and throwing them out of the nest. I’ve got a few new markets in mind and I’m hoping for at least one more acceptance before the year is out. We’ll see. I’m in heavy organization mode at the moment, and I want to get some of my writing life sorted before I start a new project in earnest.

In other disappointing news, there will be no more book delivery days for the rest of the year. I had to spend what remained of my book budget on clothes, which kind of hurts my soul a little to admit. However, my read one, buy one policy of not simply buying and hoarding unread books has worked so well I’m going to switch it up in the new year: lose one, buy one. And by lose one, I mean, for every pound I shake off my ass I will allow myself to buy one book. It will pit my two biggest vices—reading and eating—directly against each other. Whichever wins, I’m sure I’ll lose at least a bit of my sanity.

Finally, since not writing is going to open up a huge void of nothingness where my time used to disappear, this month I’m going to finish my goddamn painting! I know, I’ve been saying this since May, but the summer heat has long gone now, so my acrylics won’t dry the second I mix them, and I only have a few more inches and a bit of touch up work to do before I finally complete this project I started in 2010! There’s a reason why I’m a struggling writer and not a struggling painter.

girl to paintI have no relevant image to add to this post, so here’s a cool picture Alex took at Jidai Matsuri this year.



9 thoughts on “November Hiatus

  1. NM,
    I am no even up yet here so I am not even me. I agrr about November so it must be a month of change maybeba month of recharging. I bought the fwg book I could afford and now evil says, now that you don’t write, what will you do…read as if it were were the same as bowling etc.
    I watched a Lou Reed special last night and I didn’t know his beat roots, so I will drag out my Kerouac and Naked Lunch and read beat and November will transition. November will be different.

  2. No = not and agrr = agree and I bought all the fwg books I couldnaafford. No editing on the phone, but could/would you post a picture of an NM oil finished or not?

    • Hey! Alex said you stopped writing. Is everything ok? How are you doing? November is a good month for change, I think. The air is fresh with it. The crispness is good for the lungs and around here at least, the mountain air and the smell of wood burning from the fields is nostalgic. It makes me want to clean; physically, emotionally, spiritually. If you need to chat, let me know, ok?

      I’ll absolutely post a picture of my art here when it’s done, but unfortunately I don’t have the talent to paint in oils. I paint in acrylics, which is a happy medium between oil and watercolor.

      • Well NM, I guess Alex is correct. I don’t feel like I was making much progress and I have put aside my writing. Someone was talking to a friend musician the other day and they were amazed at his original music. When asked, “How do you know when to break, when to reach a crescendo” etc., he just looked down and said “I don’t know. It just tells me what to do.”

        I don’t think it has been telling me what to do. I felt at a time I was a writer, but maybe I was fooling myself as I am surrounded by so many creative people and have always liked it that way. One of the reason I like Burning Man, is the feeling of being surrounded as far as the eye can squint through the dust by every form of creativity.

        I don’t feel very creativity or if I do it is quite buried and it has become increasingly difficult to even get feedback or validation. People I have sent stories or poetry to read have either faded into digital silence, or move on looking straight ahead as if passing an accident on the side of the road and they don’t want to be seen staring.

        It is OK. I am still me. I still talk to much, I just may not be the writer I thought or had hoped I was.

        I would enjoy seeing any art that either of you created. At a certain phase, I was a collector of all forms of art, the requirement was that they had to be original. No prints or posters (unless they were vintage)

        Eduardo barbudo

        PS I love all of my early morning typos. I blame my thumb typing and glazed eyes.

  3. Nothing at all wrong with taking a break after crazy deadline time. This year will be my first Nano, though I totally see where you’re coming from: Puking out 50k words doesn’t seem the least bit daunting. In my case, though, I haven’t got any sort of writing routine and basically just don’t do it. I’m hoping to use it as a springboard to actually get some things out there for myself, mores than wording about the quality of that initial starting point.

  4. Finish. the. painting!

    Also, you won’t mind if I sniffle and rage towards the end of November, when I’m still at 30k and only have two days to go? 😉

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