I’ve gotten used to the writing roller coaster over the past couple of years. The highs are often followed by plunges into self-doubt. I’ve accumulated enough rejections to paper a wall or two – thank goodness for e-mail, and I’ve had a few pieces published. The essay and non-fiction articles seem to be rolling along, but the fiction and long-form train is stuck. I want to write fiction. In my head, I’m a novelist, a short story writer. Thus far, editors and one agent disagree. Even those who love me have reluctantly confessed (after the professionals broke the trail) that they prefer my essays to my stories. Now, this isn’t the first time that my internal self-image has crashed into reality. In my head, I’m also well travelled and adventurous. My passport hasn’t been valid since 1984.
I’m also stubborn to the point of delusion when it comes to clinging to my world view. I want to write stories, damnit! I want to write a book. At the moment, I have four short stories in various stages of completion/revision, several stories that have been rejected enough times to tell me that they need to go back to the factory, a draft of a novel that even I know isn’t going anywhere at the moment, and a hodgepodge of essays attempting to be a memoir but lacking anything resembling structure. I have a couple of choices: pick something, finish it, and get serious about submission, or do something completely different.
Since the multiple partial projects are colluding with my latent ADD to drive a complete lack of productivity, I’ve decided to check out door number two. NaNoWriMo is coming. NaNoWriMo may look like a Disney (circa 1950) version of a Native American name, but it is actually, National Novel Writing Month. This is a world-wide project in which the literarily insane (or the very stuck) work to produce 50,000 words of a novel during the month of November. Now, I don’t think a bona fide, ready to read novel can be churned out in a month – certainly not by me. However, I’m hoping that forcing myself into the discipline of working on one project every day for 30 days will shove me back onto the track of inspiration.
So, here I go: as of November 1, I will begin work on a middle-grade fantasy/sci-fi novel. And, I’m looking for support. Bug me about it. When you see me, ask me how the novel is going. I’ll post excerpts periodically. Comment, critique, be mean -- it’s okay, I need it. Hold me to this project, but forgive me if I don’t hang around to chat. I’ve got a book to write.