Clearing the Decks

So I’ve been getting more and more erratic with the blog, as you, my few loyal and devoted followers, no doubt have noticed. What can I say? School resumed, and since we live 30 miles from my son’s high school, that means enormous amounts of time spent in the car. No, I can’t blog while I’m in the car. Because I’M DRIVING, that’s why. People actually ask me things like that. Well, can’t you just write in the car? I could if I were sitting in a parking lot, doofus, but I don’t just get in my car and sit there for a few hours. That would be weird. Although strangely restful. Why don’t you move closer to the school, so you don’t have to spend hours driving there and back and there and back every day? That’s another one I hear a lot. Well, thank you, there was a plan to that affect but then this little thing called the Mortgage Crisis kicked in and now our house is pretty much unsellable. So—the long, draining, daily drive. Throw in working a second job and all the usual housewifey/mom things and there’s not a lot of writing time left.

Which brings me to the point of the blog: If I use what little writing time I have to tweet and blog and Facebook—is Facebook a verb now? Does one engage in the act of Facebooking? I don’t know what else to call it. (This is how you know Facebook is ultimately going to go the same way of MySpace—it just does not sound like a cool thing to do. Tweeting and twittering, they sound like fun. Pinning stuff—that sounds kind of fun too. Even though I still don’t fully understand why I’m supposed to be pinning pictures of things on the Internet instead of pinning actual pictures on walls, it sounds fun. Facebooking sounds like something cops do when you’re arrested.

Anyway, now I’m really getting to the point, and this time I mean it: the point is, if I’m spending all my time on peripheral writing like this blog, there’s very little time and mental energy left over to work on a new book. And I really need to work on a new book. Not because it will make me rich—it won’t. I need to do it because then I’m a writer. And I just don’t feel like blogging really “counts” when it comes to writing. I suppose that makes me a bit of a luddite. I’ve toyed with doing something very hip and postmodern, like writing my next book online—blogging each new chapter and letting blog readers vote on where the story goes. But I’m too much of a control freak for that. So, I need to focus on the next book. Maybe even more than ONE next book.

And in order to do that, I’ve finally succumbed to one of the craziest damn schemes I’ve ever heard of: NaNoWriMo. This is where a bunch of other creatively frustrated writers decide that putting themselves under an insane deadline and a ridiculous amount of pressure might result in a brilliant—or at least passable—first draft of a new book. In one month. The month of November. Hence the name: National Novel Writing Month.

I suspect this is going to be a disaster for me. I think it’s going to work like a diet. If I go on an official diet, I immediately crave whatever thing I’m supposed to be giving up, even if it’s mashed eels. I then gain five more pounds, get depressed about those five pounds, and eat myself up to an additional five more pounds. Probably I’ll try to meet an insane word count quota for NaNoWriMo and totally seize up. Then I won’t even be able to produce enough words for a blog, much less an entire novel.

But I also think it could be a lot of fun just to give this a go. See if it reignites my dwindling enthusiasm for novel writing. And if it doesn’t, then maybe come December, I’ll be spending a lot more time pinning virtual pictures of things at Pinterest instead. But if it DOES reignite my enthusiasm, by the end of November, I’ll have most of a rough draft done for my next novel. Which is important since I put a picture of it on my bookmarks and told everyone it will be coming out “sometime next year.”

In the meantime, little weblings, don’t despair. As I churn out my 50,000 words for November, I’ll probably still pop in here from time to time. I just don’t plan to be very wordy when I do.

Mostly, I’ll just drop in, say Hey! and leave you with some edifying piece of pop culture, like this brilliantly true piece about the realities of the publishing biz from one of my favorite comedy teams, Mitchell and Webb.



  1. I’ll admit to being tempted by NaNoWriMo but don’t know if I have the stamina.

    • I don’t know if I’ll have the stamina either! But it could be fun finding out. I’d question how many good stories come out of NaNoWriMo, but I know Lani Diane Rich did the first draft of a couple of her bestselling novels that way – so here’s hoping some magic rubs off.

  2. You can do this!! I think it will free you more than stress you. I loved doing a book in a week because people respected my commitment and didn’t jack with me.

    I also discovered great truths–like I’d been shaving hairless legs for years. Damn! I could have blogged about that. Or maybe I did!

    Bottom line–a book is more valuable than a blog. Any day.

    So you go for it. And don’t let any naysaying bastards grind you down.

    • So do it with me!!! We could have a contest. Whoever writes the most words buys the other one dinner. Then we’ll have to finally get together. OR whoever writes the FEWEST (LEAST?) words has to come and visit the other one!!! You can totally fit this in around editing that biography!

  3. Woo hoo! Sounds like fun – I’m doing it!!

  4. Mitchell and Webb: Brilliant!

  5. Go for it chicka!

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