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.
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.