I wanted to give her a handwritten letter, something tangible that she could look back on through the years with either revulsion or affection, maybe both. Instead, I bought her dark chocolate from a local merchant and a too expensive bottle of red wine (a label I knew she adored), which was better than last year, when I gave her stolen clothing that happened to be just her size.
I’m lucky like that.
Like the time I found 400 dollars in a small paper sack while walking to the grocery store. I stood in the center of the sidewalk, holding the money in one hand, the empty sack in the other, looking around like I had actually done something wrong. When no one rushed at me or screamed, hey, that’s mine, I did what anyone would have done. I put the money in my coat pocket and continued on my way.
I think I bought a leather jacket.
For the second year in a row, I spent most of November writing the first 50,000 words of a novel. I love the concept of NANOWRIMO, even if I don’t actively participate in the local events or upload my pages to the website. I like the idea of having a daily and final word count goal, but I know my books will not be finished at 50,000 words. I still count reaching that number as a win. Maybe next year I should actually play along, see if I can complete the story in a month.
Last November, writing was a wonderful, sometimes frustrating experience. Some days I felt humiliated by my own inability to write. Some writing sessions defeated me. Four or five times, I quit working well short of my word goal. I kept fighting, scraped for ideas and pushed words out of me. Finally, sometime on the last day, I reached 50 thousand. The story wasn’t finished (that would take another four weeks), but looking at the amount of words I had put on the page gave me a huge feeling of accomplishment.
Over the next five months, I edited, edited some more, then edited again. Some fantastic people helped me find mistakes I never would have caught on my own, and offered suggestions that made the writing stronger. I am grateful to the readers who volunteered their time and efforts to offer me differing opinions. Their efforts made a hastily thrown together book something worth reading and something I am very proud to have written.
Sadly, I have not had much success finding an agent who feels as passionately about my book as I do. I’m still hopeful, but it is a discouraging process.
This year, the writing went much, much easier (can I say much again?). Only once did I fail to reach the 2000 word goal. Many days, I surpassed it. Even with skipping most Sundays (and a great portion of Thanksgiving weekend), I went into the last day only having to write a bit over 2000 to reach the goal. I still had days when every idea seemed like a bad one, especially if I let myself ponder the book after trying to go to bed. Part of that comes from knowing this book is so much different than the previous one. Last year, I was uncertain I could write a book. This year, I was uncertain I can write THIS book. The subject matter is vastly different, and while both books have what I believe to be strong characters, this new book is more plot driven. I can say that writing this second book has been much more fun, and I have tried to pay more attention to the process of writing. I am succeeding again.
I’m taking today off from working on the book, but have my word count goals for December set in my head. I will finish before Christmas again. Then I will edit, then edit, then edit some more. Agents?
I love writing.
Also, if anyone has interest in reading the first book, I’m likely to let you. I still have hopes of publishing it (maybe on my own eventually), but as a writer, I want it to be read. Email or ask me if you’d like to give it a go.