No, no, NaNo!

Stuff from my yard. CC BY SA 3.0 — Image by Natania Barron

So I’m not saying I’m not doing NaNoWriMo. And I’m not saying I am. I’m going to be mercurial and special about it, so there.

Life is moving in about a thousand different directions as we speak (I haven’t written much this weekend but… I collected pine cones from the yard, and spray painted them and made a wreath and a tree sculpture thing and designed and painted the Steve head from Minecraft for my eldest kid, while he critiqued every brush stroke and also dealt with his total meltdown at AC Moore–all while still trying to process that he’s likely got Asperger’s and “something else” and there’s nothing that I did wrong, but it’s still going to be this way for a long time, and it’s never going to be “easy” and how the hell am I supposed to get everything done with this teething baby and… oh, look… shiny pinecones!), and while writing has been happening in some capacity it’s not exactly, um, as fluid or as streamlined as I’d like it to be (read: I wrote 7K this last week, and deleted 2K, and… most of it has happened after 11pm). I just got over one of those humps during the editing process. You know what I mean. I just got tired of my own writing. I started to contemplate abandoning ship, taking up the mantle of another job altogether, and moving on. Of course this is natural. Just a few days ago I was contemplating how great the book is, how much I love it, and how I can’t wait to share it with the world.

This is why I started using the #writecrazy hashtag this week. It’s been like that. Also scotch. And wine. And chocolate.

Anyway, writing for the month of November won’t be NaNoWriMo numbers. I’m mixed, to say the least, on the approach, but I can’t say it hasn’t worked for me (considering my only published novel started its infancy as a NaNoWriMo book, even if only about 20% of that original draft made it into the final round).

But! What I’m doing for November is changing the tape. Flipping the disk. Going to side B. I’ll be putting down Rock Revival and starting up again with The Other Country. I had been stuck for quite some time with TOC, and I let it go during my pregnant months. Then, last night, awake while I was supposed to be sleeping, I started “playing the tape” of the book in my head and seriously considering where it might go. And lo! Just like that, I knew the next scene, after months and months of scratching my head. It’s going to take some heavy lifting. Unusually for me, I’m having a tough time with the main character. The current draft has his name as Charlie, but that’s totally not staying. Or maybe it is. I don’t know. I have to get to know him better.

And maybe that’s one of the reasons I’m choosing this book. I feel like Charlie and Kate from Rock Revival would like each other. They’d get each other. Right after I finished Queen of None I started working on Pilgrim again. And I had this odd hitch where I felt like Maddie and Anna hated each other. And I was seeing Maddie with Anna’s eyes and… yeah. #writecrazy all right. That’s not to say that everything is connected. But I think it’s perilously important to choose complimentary work when you can. Charlie and Kate’s stories couldn’t be more different, but they both still are my “kids” if you will. And I need to make sure everyone plays nice. Especially at this moment when Real Life and Everything seem too big and pressing and overwhelming to be of much help.

So, anyway. I’m not not doing NaNo. Not exactly. Good luck to those who are. Or aren’t. Here’s to those telling stories every day and those who do it just one month a year. The most important part is the telling, after all.