Normally December for me is a time of hectic productivity for me. Each NaNoWriMo leaves me with tremendous momentum and a story in the vault that likely would never have been written otherwise. I am reminded to write without fear, to get the ideas down and worry about the niceties later. I’ve been away from my main projects for a month and there are things I been looking forward to fixing in them, or new ideas on how to give a particular bit of dialog some extra wallop.
Not this year. I’ll make the word count goal again for the fifth straight year, but given my current lifestyle, that’s no big deal at all. I expect there are very few months in which I don’t write 50,000 words.
There are several reasons for this, I suppose. for one thing, this will be the last time I write anything I dare call a novel without planning it carefully first. I can see the germ of a really fun story in what I did this November, with some true Douglas Adams-style blink-blink moments of complete cultural disorientation that power forward what really is a funny story. Or at least it would be funny if there weren’t vast sections of it that just don’t fit together, and lots and lots of filler, and a few spots that just plain suck.
Another, bigger, reason is that with one novel complete, and another approaching completion (um… sort of…), I am forced to recognize that in the long run adding another unpublished work in the hopper isn’t moving me forward professionally. So as a significant annual milestone I have to look back on the year and take stock of my progress. I finished a novel. The whole damn thing. On the way I deleted and rewrote hundreds of pages, honing the language while (hopefully) not eradicating the soul. So that’s a good thing.
It is far less than I had set for myself to accomplish in the last year, however. According to the timetable I set out at the end of last November, I am supposed to be finished with The Test, and well under way with my American Road Novel, tentatively titled The Fish. The Test has some brilliant moments (if I do say so myself), but lacks structure. It’s taken longer than I expected to get it under control, but that’s all right. It’s big, and one of my challenges right now is to split it into two satisfying stories. (I will not put out of these so-called “series” which is really just a single, rambling story. I hate getting to the end of a book only to discover that when I shelled out my money for a story, I only got a fraction of a tale. Or, worse, buying a book and finding myself in the middle of a story with no clue what’s going on and who the hell all these people are. But I digress.) So, okay, writing a novel (at least one that doesn’t suck) takes a long time.
The business part of my chosen profession is a bigger problem, however. It is languishing. I have identified likely agents, identified their requirements and prioritized which ones to approach first. The shotgun method is not appreciated, so this will be a time-consumong process. Well, it would be time-consuming if I was spending any time on it. At the rate I’m going now, the ETA (estimated time of agentedness) is, um… (… carry the four, take the hypotenuse…) infinity.
So this December, rather than pick up my real writing projects, I think I’m going to take that energy and channel it where it needs to go. It is a measure of how much I like my “job” that I can use allowing myself to work as a reward when I make progress in other areas.