And yesterday I took it off, hanging it on the nail that sits not far from where I do. Actually, there is no hat, or nail for that matter. What matters is that I’ve been writing a book, and yesterday, I finished it.
During the last few years (2009-2011) I’ve completed a lot of manuscripts. I’ve published eight of them, not in chronological order, one was even written back in 2008. But the words have poured from my head and fingertips, a strange flood that I was powerless to cease. Not all of them will see any more of my attention, but some will, enough that I have books up the wazoo, but I still write, I cannot stop writing. I have curtailed the writing, in part due to my eldest daughter’s wedding, publishing, not wanting to work so hard. But I didn’t want to miss Camp NaNoWriMo; June was a whirl of nuptials, but in August, I was going to write a new novel!
And I did! Splitting the Sky ended up at 92K, will probably be published, someday. I had no idea I was going to write a sci-fi tale; it hit me after Sally Ride died. The previous idea never grabbed me enough to force the issue, and Splitting the Sky was written per my usual routine. I wrote. And wrote. And wrote just about every day from 1 August, and when I finished yesterday, shortly before lunchtime, I was thrilled. Exhausted. Amazed. No matter how many first drafts emerge, I am always shocked.
I did it. I wrote a novel.
However, I did not feed the hummingbirds, and they’re floating around, looking aggrieved. None inside the house are starving; thank goodness my kids know how to cook. My husband was sick, so I took care of him. My brother’s been fighting fires all month, so I wrote to my sister-in-law and my nephew, and will hopefully get over for a visit next week. I talked to my parents, watched sport, finally watered some sorry-looking plants, and wrote. This might sound odd, but I had forgotten how draining it is to write. It’s not as easy as it looks.
Even when the words tumble from buckets, it’s still butt in chair. It’s also an odd, unyielding focus. It’s pulling stuff out of a hat, sometimes a writing hat, sometimes a cap squeezing like a vice. And sometimes it’s just pulling words from one’s backside. I’ve had some of those days too.
During those very fruitful years, writing never felt this wearying. I’ve been sleeping very well since the beginning of the month, and last night I conked out before eight, I just couldn’t go anymore. I’m not that much older than I was three years ago, I can’t pinpoint the reason for this level of blah, other than at the end of last year I started taking a more relaxed tone with the writing, which continued with the book I finished this past May. Splitting the Sky was back to my no-nonsense method, and yeah, I can write a novel that way. But maybe I don’t want to write that way anymore.
I don’t want to work so hard, not with publishing, and apparently not with writing either. I cut my teeth on NaNo, a hard habit to break. I chucked what was going to write this November because it needed more research than I’ve had time to do. I like wearing my writing hat, I really do. I can’t publish without writing, but as everything evolves, so does how I get those words on paper. After pulling back a bit, this month I jumped head-first into the NaNo pond. Now I’m standing on the edge of the grass, shaking out a sopping hat, wondering how the water will be in two and a half months.
I suppose come November, I’ll find out.