Which is what I’m going to do today. Somehow, despite deliberately not joining NaNoWriMo this year, I have managed to write about 14,000 words so far this month. I won’t get to 50,000, but I’m going to keep writing. Some of this was from the rewrites on Trust Me, but most of it is on a new WIP. That active mind is actually a little hyperactive and when combined with a keen imagination, all sorts of wonderful things can happen.
I am so close to finishing the revisions on Trust Me, I’m a Lawyer. I am up to Chapter 22 and have about 120 pages left. Thank goodness for beta readers who can catch everything from typos to plot holes. Now I need to decide whether to combine two scenes into one, which I hope will tighten up the middle, and I need to rewrite the last chapter to wrap up some loose ends.
While my Inner Editor is trying to focus, my Muse is already starting to look ahead. Yes, I do hear both of their voices, like a pair of bickering sisters. In the last week, the Editor has been winning. I’ve been really productive, getting through large chunks of the book in each sitting. But the Muse, she tugs at my sleeve and points out all sorts of new shiny ideas.
Look at the calendar, she says. It’s almost November and you know what that means — National Novel Writing Month is almost here!
Yeah, Muse, I know. I’ve attempted NaNoWriMo many times in the past. But right now, I have a finished novel that needs to be revised, polished and sent off by November 11. That’s going to cut into my drafting time for NaNoWriMo.
Ah, but remember that excellent character I gave you? the Muse reminds me. The impetuous one? With good intentions, but a bad track record? She’s going to be so much fun to write. You don’t want to put that off.
Well, I may not want to, but I have to. I have these other characters that you gave me and I’d like to get their story published.
Yes, but how about this? *Hands me a fortune cookie.*
You’re good, Muse, very good.
I am, aren’t I?
Fine, one hour. Then I’m going back to revisions. Then you’ll leave me alone until I finish this project?
Oh, yes. I promise. I won’t bother you unless the next idea is really good and perfect for you…
I just realized that today is the second anniversary of when I decided to start writing on the internets. Yeah! Two years of rambling. And sometimes photographs if I can’t think of anything to say.
I should probably go find a photo to post because I don’t have a lot to say about this anniversary, except that I’ll keep at it. I just thought I should mark the date.
“This is a terrible fortune,” I said.
“No, it’s not,” my sister said. “It says you’ll be rewarded.”
“It says suitably rewarded. Commensurate with my talent. What if I have little or no talent?”
“Sometimes having lunch with you is a real downer.”
I kept the fortune anyway. I keep all of them, unless they contain incorrect grammar. Everyone should have a hobby, I guess. This one I had on a magnetic board in my office, even though it didn’t promise health, wealth, or unending happiness. It’s a good reminder of the nature of talent. Is it innate? Or is it developed?
Do I have a talent for writing? Or do I have an interest in writing, developed and honed over time because I enjoy it and practice often? I grew up hearing that I was a good writer, so I did more of it, because who doesn’t like praise? At some point, it became a habit, something I need to do, a way to empty out the stories in my head.
And when I indulge in that habit, when I practice, I can feel my writing improve. I’m nearly to the end of a WIP and I went back to read the first chapter. I can see how to make it better when I finally get to the revision stage. Since I started the book, I have listened to probably 100 various writing podcast episodes, read hundreds of blog posts and articles on writing, and several writing books. Plus, I’ve gotten excellent feedback from my critique partner that was specific to this book. I don’t feel like I’m more talented, but I do think I’m a better writer now than when I started.
This has not been a writerly month (it’s a word) (I had to check). The reason? I will be spending November in trial and when that happens, the month before is spent preparing for that trial. When preparing for or in trial, my client deserves my full attention. So no guilt that I only wrote 3,825 words in October. Frankly, I’m not sure when or how I managed to get that many words onto paper.
Here’s the break-down: I wrote on six days last month; I wrote 3,263 words on the sequel to the novella, 152 words on the suspense novel, 168 words on last year’s NaNoWriMo project, and 242 words on the novella. Not great. Still, it’s better than last year, when I wrote one day and only logged 368 words in October. Yes, I had a lengthy trial last November, too. I really need to schedule work better so I can take part in NaNoWriMo next year.
I’m now at 128,256 words for the year. That’s not too shabby. Even with last month’s anemic efforts toward my writing goals, I’m ahead of last year at this time, when I had 85,019 words done. The end of the year is fast approaching, though, and one of my goals is to finish something in 2012.
While not writing, and when not working, I have been thinking a lot about story structure, raising stakes for characters, and motivation. I have many handwritten notes about what I want to do once December arrives and things return to normal. At the top of that to-do list is “nap,” but a close second is “write.” I’m actually looking forward to the second item more (and I do love to nap).