Heavens to Murgatroyd, it’s happened again. Shameless, hopeless, blog neglect. You would be forgiven for thinking I was dead.
Well, I’m not. But I have been in a funk.
The Cambridge dictionary defines ‘being in a funk’ as ‘being very unhappy and without hope.’
Yep. Little bit.
You see, I got some bad news about my book. Not the ones you see on the side of this page. They’re out in the world (digitally anyway) and people are being mostly kind about them (although I could do with some more sales, so if you feel like a light-hearted romantic romp, do buy one!).
No, the one I’m talking about is the one I thought was the next big thing. Which WAS the next big thing, for me. A longer, more involved story, dealing with themes that are important to me, that I researched to death and worked very hard on for a very long time. I finished it. Finally. I neglected the blog and quite a lot of other things to do it, but it was finally DONE and I was happy with it. I thought my big resolution scene was strong. All of that. My beta readers loved it.
But my agent, not so much.
Now, I could have ignored her opinion and of course, I was tempted. But her comments were industry related and knowledge of the industry is why I have her, so that would have been foolish. Tempting, but dumb, and I try not to be dumb. So I was forced to take the comments seriously.
I am not going to go into the details of the crying and throwing things. They didn’t last that long. (It is possible that I am finally growing up.) But the fear that maybe I should chuck the whole thing and become a plumber lasted a little longer.
However, I am pleased to say that, thanks to my friends in the Romance Writers of Australia, my friends in real life, my wonderful husband and child and my own bloody-mindedness, I think I am out the other side of the funk. Now, I have an idea, I think I know what I did wrong and I am all fired up to write something new which will put my agent’s objections to rest and, oddly enough, make it easier to rework the existing story.
I am also beginning to believe that anything worth doing will break you and that only wanting it really, really badly will get you through the pain. I kind of knew that before, but with each step further along the path, the breaking gets worse. However, I am not giving up yet.
So, I have cast off (mostly) the funk and I am throwing myself into the insanity that is NaNoWriMo – at least in a manner of speaking. For the uninitiated, NaNoWriMo is a writerly piece of lunacy where writers attempt to write 50,000 words in the month of November. The idea is to get a novel written in a month. Or a draft of one, or half of one.
Now, I have never been good at word counts as a measure. I write in chunks – a legacy of my copywriting background – so although I may write thousands of words in thrashing out that scene, chapter or whatever, I only count the ‘finished’ words. So word counting tends to give me hives and is not, for me, terribly productive. Also, for this new project, I want to have a stab at doing a much more detailed plan – which means that first cab off the rank is not word count, but index cards and brainstorming.
There is also the fact that November is a completely crazy month for me in my non-writing life.
But the discipline of committing to a much larger than usual output is, I think, useful. I can certainly use a boost to my productivity and since I am starting something new and need a kick to get out of my funk, I am going to commit to productivity measures this month.
So, here’s what I’m planning: During November, I will commit to working a solid three hours on my novel five days a week (given the aforementioned craziness of November, 7 days is unrealistic). That’s three hours of actual, worked time. I will stop the clock for tea making or any other kind of break and during my three hours there will be no internet whatsoever. Nor will there be research or other time-sucks. Just story work. I will work as fast as I can and once my plan is done, I will commit to producing a minimum of five pages in my allotted time.
And I will (deep breath here) report on my progress, every day that I do my three hours. Gulp. I will try to make those posts useful, for the writers among you looking for NaNo inspiration (or procrastination) but there may also be some inarticulate wailing, should the day go badly. There may also be pictures of flowers and puppies, for purposes of sanity. It remains to be seen.
For those doing NaNo, best of luck – if you get a moment to breathe, wish me the same!
PS: If you are doing NaNo and are scared witless, you might want to check out Alexandra Sokoloff’s fabulous blog for writers, and the indefatigable Chuck Wendig at Terribleminds. Just sayin’… 😉