Monday, November 5, 2018

November Update: Grief and NaNo

I finally took my break after finishing writing book three. And of course by "break" I mean I didn't get my 15k words written.

I did stay busy, though.

I beta read a book for Ashley. I finished up edits for Kevin's book. I did a lot of brainstorming for my National Novel Writing Month story. And, I actually started edits on book three.

It's a very perfunctory edit. I'm tweaking minor things, but mostly I'm writing chapter outlines and adding editing notes for when I have the time and energy to dive deeply into it. Which, considering I can't stop thinking about it, will probably happen sooner rather than later. I'm really excited about it, still. I've figured out a few things I wasn't happy with. I've only made it about two-thirds of the way through at this point, but I will probably still try to juggle it with NaNo.

I've decided to follow my creative energies and have ultimately put off editing Druid Wars for sometime next year.

But, my creative energies come and go unexpectedly lately. My dear friend and colleague Kevin died a week ago. And the aftershocks of that keep hitting me. Mostly I'm devastated that I took so long to edit his book. He never got to finish it. Maybe if I'd turned it around in the two weeks I normally did, he would have.

Despite everyone assuring me to the contrary, I still can't help but have a lot of guilt about that.

And guilt is not great for writing.

Except when it is.

My NaNo project so far has been a lot of me dealing with my grief. Which, if you'll remember, was what the whole MystWatch trilogy was. And I was finally at a point in my journey, losing Mom, where I'd developed a healthy grieving process and moved on, in a way.

And now I'm starting all over.

But I think it'll go better this time. I'm balancing writing it with editing book three, so I have Diana telling me how to grieve properly. It's almost like she's speaking to my new MC through me. We're both going to be okay. It's just kinda funny to me that Diana of all characters is the one helping us through it.

Anyway. Yeah. It's NaNo. I'm writing and participating in events and active on the discussion board. But. I'm behind. Sorta. If I only count the words written toward my new novel, anyway. If I count work I've done on book three, I'm not. What I've realized is my relationship with NaNo has changed. I'm taking full advantage of the energy and other people writing and the events and all that. But at some point, maybe on day two or three, I realized I'm not actually expecting or even really aiming to hit 50k.

I have hit a point in my writing process where I write around 15k every month. I've already written 145k words this year. Back when I used to do the full NaNo experience, that 50k was about the only words I wrote a year. In the fourteen years I've been doing NaNo, I've developed a writing practice. And that's in large part thanks to NaNo, which is why I will always participate and always donate and always support people who want to throw their whole selves into it.

But the likelihood of me ever being a "winner" again is slim. I only need 25k this month to keep my monthly average at 15k for the year. More if I don't write in December, but I have no idea what I'll be up for in December yet, so I'm not making any plans. December is always my planned break month, so typically anything I get done in December is bonus.

So yeah. That's where I'm at this November. I hope I can get around 20k written on this new novel. Maybe more. More would be great. But I also want to get through my first editing pass of book three, and I need to write a Cafe story. That's enough stuff that even if I wrote 50k words this month, they won't all be on this new project.

And I've decided that's okay. NaNo is still a tool that I use. But I have learned, especially over this last year, that I need to follow where my inspiration is right now. I have the freedom to do that. Someday I will get published and have to force myself to work on X project by X deadline. But right now, I can work on what I am most passionate about.

And that varies throughout the month. I'm happier when I have more than one project to juggle each month. Also, writing 15k new words a month, whether in brainstorming, outlining, or actual stories, is extremely do-able for me. It's high enough that I have to push myself through the I-dun-wanna's but also low enough that if I have just a really crummy month, my really good months make up for it. It's also low enough that I can fit in editing and beta reading.

Some of this info would be better suited for the end-of-the-year post, but I wanted to bring it up now, so I don't forget.

That's about all I've got right now, though. Which is more than enough, honestly. I'm mostly just heartbroken about my loss of a friend. The world is worse off without him in it. He was truly one of the good ones.