Friday, November 25, 2005

I can't not write

Not that it has anything to do with what you're about to read, but here's a close-up of my Thanksgiving centerpiece. I'm crazy in love with white roses.

I recently finished a manuscript and sent it to my editor and then announced to my hunk o' burnin' love that I was going to take six weeks off writing.

He snickered.

Oh, I had big plans. First I wanted to clean my office and streamline my files and records, including those on this computer. Then I meant to revamp my website (which has suffered from my inattention during the eleven months I've been blogging). I also planned to read lots of books, make at least half a dozen trips to the movie theatre, do some antiquing, and catch up with several old friends by inviting them to lunch with me, one at a time. Not until the first of the year would I dive into another manuscript.

I started writing five years ago, at the end of November 2000. Until that time I had never tried (not even when I was in school) to write fiction. Because I fell so hard and fast, this five-year anniversary seemed like a good time to step back, take a break. "I'm afraid I'll burn out," I explained to my husband. Surely it was past time to thoroughly evaluate what I'm doing and why. Shouldn't I have some career goals and a business plan?

I stopped. I looked around. And after the first week I realized that I don't want a business plan. The spontaneity of my writing, the freedom to drop or pick up a story idea on a whim, is something I treasure. And since I've always measured my writing success by my level of personal satisfaction rather than by the books I sell and the money I earn, there doesn't seem to be much point in hammering out a business plan. Could I sell more books, faster, to more publishing houses? Perhaps. But that's not what I'm writing for. And that's the primary reason I've never signed with a literary agent.

I quickly decided to forget the business plan and glory in my eccentricity. But taking a break from the writing was still a good idea, I thought. I could soak up lots of new experiences and freshen my perspective before plunging into my next writing project. A month off would be good; six weeks would be ideal.

I'm not going to make it. I woke up at 3:00 this morning (not an unusual occurence), in the mood to create something. I stumbled down to my office and powered up the computer....

And remembered that I currently have no writing project in the pipeline. For the first time in five years, I don't have a plot to flesh out, revisions to pound away at, or a manuscript to fine-tune. And I don't like it!

It's time to start something.


Bonnie Calhoun said...

You go girl, I understand that feeling!

Last night at 3AM, I finished my NaNoWriMo project. For the last few weeks, I kept looking forward to this day, so I could rest.

This morning while I was cooking breakfast, I came up with a plot for another novel that I just had to write down......:-)

Brenda Coulter said...

Wow, Bonnie--you finished the NaNoWriMo story almost a full week ahead of schedule! Congratulations!

Be sure to tell lots of other NaNoWriMo participants about your accomplishment; I'm sure they'll benefit from the added stress!


Bonnie Calhoun said...

Yea, right....I think that goes along the lines of how to win friends and influence people!

Always best to do, when they don't have the ability to hurl sharp projectiles!

Danica said...

LOL Bonnie, I am SO with you. I am *this* close to finishing my Nano book, and I'm already itching for a new project-even though I have others that I must edit first.

Brenda, I hope you get your rest, but it sounds like those voices aren't going to give you much time. :)