How are the holidays treating your productivity?
Did any of you participate in NaNoWriMo? I do. This was year three for me, and I failed miserably. Well, that’s not fair. I didn’t get many new words down, but I did flesh out plotting problems and sequencing. I don’t know if sequencing is a real thing, but in my world, it is.
Only this week, I’ve sat back down to write. The project I “worked on” in November is put aside for a project I worked on last summer. Apparently, this is my process. Like, I can’t just get it all out in an outline (as if I even outline) and then go. All the cool, fun scenes begging for release simply add up to a stack of muck I have to come back to and make sense of as they relate to a greater whole. Whether procrastination, lack of work ethic, or simply that my brain takes A LOOOONG TIME to deal with this, it’s become the norm. I get about halfway through a first draft, put it aside, go to something else, set it aside again, come back, put aside, etc., until I have a piece worthy of editing.
The first book I finished, and self-published, took two decades. Literally. Granted, stretches of years passed when I put aside the dream of completing a novel, but the time from inception to completion still stands. I didn’t realize that by taking so long with this first-ever project, I’d created a process (I may hate that word now).
I’d recently preached about how writer’s block isn’t a real thing. Sit long enough, type out enough bullshit, and you’ll find the flow. Writer’s block is just not feeling like it. It’s something toddlers say. Just work.
But this was not happening for me this November. So, I’m eating my words and thinking that, while writer’s block is not my problem exactly, maybe that’s what the phrase means. The soul-breaking abyss of the not-readiness of a project. The need for a story to marinate a little longer. Apologies to all of you I said were full of crap (unless you fall in the not working portion. No judgment. I just took five weeks off because I’d rather binge-watch Agent Carter and the last season of Flash and Arrow. Let’s just be real about it, though).
Finally allowing myself to step away from the blank pages that, for days, taunted me, I reset my sights on another project. This reacquainting with something I hadn’t looked at in at least six months was what allowed me to accept the marinating truth; the truth of my process (insert vomit sound). The same issues I struggled with in November on that project were what had me scrap this one. Those issues have evaporated after the time away. It’s made for a lot of rewrites, cutting, merging of characters, but it’s flowing like–well like things that flow unheeded. I hope this same occurrence will settle over the blank pages of November’s file.
I’m currently in my last days in Central New York. We’ve raided my baby sister’s new house long enough. Sister number three visited last weekend, and it was serendipitous we were still here. So great to see her (it’s been two years), and since we were supposed to be back in Florida before Thanksgiving, it was especially fortuitous. My point is, an early Christmas wrecked my writing schedule, but maybe that’s okay. I’ve written almost 20,000 words in two and a half days. I deserve a cookie. Or a candy cane even, except I’m trying to refrain from all the junk food in this span of a few days between gatherings and traveling when my willpower will fall into the negatives.
Hmmm… I think my point has gotten away from me. Typical.
Whether or not you’re trying to get things done and failing this time of year (let’s be honest, if you’re doing it and doing it well, it will only make us feel bad about ourselves 😉 ) maybe that’s okay. At this rate, my five weeks off won’t accumulate to much lost time. Either way, whether you’re showing up and succeeding, showing up and failing, or just allowing yourself to binge on tiny ginger men, heated cups of chocolate, and peppermint sticks, Happy Holidays 🙂 The writing will be there when life settles.