Sunday, January 17, 2010

Hello Old Friend

Hello, old friend. I have been absent for too long. During the month of November, I worked on my novel almost every day. Writing was what I did around the edges of my full, busy life. I added 20,000 words to the manuscript. I brought it to the point where I could finally say that I had a first draft. (Which is not to say that there is a clear demarcation point. There still are holes in it that need to be filled. And I edited and revised as I wrote it, rather than leaving all that for the second draft.)

Then December arrived. NaNoWriMo ended, and I lifted my head from the screen. I realized that Christmas was almost upon us, and I had done nothing to prepare. My loved ones were grumpy from having been ignored for a month. My son was in danger of failing math. The pets had developed new bad habits. All the deferred household tasks had reached the point of being overwhelming. Work was crazy (annual planning and budget time!). I had a big knot in my right upper back from hunching over the computer all day at work, and then coming home to sit at the computer again, writing. My neck made a clicking sound when I looked to the right; in fact it still does.

So, on December 3, I set the novel aside. I struggled to catch up with my responsibilities and my relationships. We celebrated Christmas and spent time with our families and friends. We skied. I didn't write.

Once I stop writing, I find it hard to start again. Everything seems to stand in the way of opening the document and getting back at it. I don't have enough time right now. I need to put another load of laundry in first, or run downtown, or take a look at the local paper. It's easier to surf the net, or spend time on forums or social networking sites.

But today I sat down to my novel again. There it was, my old friend. My characters, were still there, puzzling through their lives, inventing new opinions and troubles while I was absent. I revised a little. I added a little. It was like coming home.

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