Sunday, December 04, 2005


Now that NaNoWriMo is over, I've been easing back into Normal Life (whatever that is). I've re-introduced myself to my Moleskine, trying to get back into the rhythm of writing Whenever Pages (my version of the Morning Pages Julia Cameron recommends). And I've been simmering the question "What's Next" on the back burner of my brain.

I find myself trying to achieve a delicate balance as I settle into Life After NaNo. On the one hand, I want to give myself a break after its month-long push; on the other, I don't want to let the month's momentum die. If there's anything that NaNoWriMo is truly great at, it's building writerly momentum: having proven to myself that I can write lots of first draft wordcount relatively easily, now it's only a matter of deciding where to direct that creative energy.

Although I don't feel any desire (right now) to return to this year's So-Called Novel, I have been feeling a desire to revisit, revise, and possibly publish all or part of last year's attempt. And after having been away from my Pedestrian Thoughts essays since March, I want to return to the discipline of writing regular, more polished non-blog essays with an eye (again) to eventual publication. And now that December's here, I want to start marketing my incipient coaching practice. So since I seem to have plenty soon-to-be-front-burner dishes queuing on my counter, I guess it's a good idea to rest a spell. There's going to be lots cookin' here soon enough.

How do you manage the ebb and flow of your own writing life? I've talked elsewhere about what I call the seasons of practice: the cyclic pattern of working and resting. So I'm curious to hear how others manage their rest periods: how do you know when you need a rest, what do (and don't!) you do while you're resting, and how do you know it's time to climb back in the work saddle again?


At 12/05/2005 1:42 PM, Blogger John said...

I didn't say congratulations earlier but am now! I think it's really really great that you were able to complete your novel two years in a row. If anything, it's a testament to patience and belief in the writing process.

I know you said you aren't very excited by your story but...who knows, you might pick up your draft next summer and find out that it's really really great!

At 12/06/2005 9:06 AM, Blogger Devon Ellington said...

I try to write every day, at least a little bit. Because I'm usually working on multiple deadlines, I have lists and large calendars of what has to be done when; the paid work is the priority and gets first attention, then I slot in everything else.

A group of us work on something called "Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions" each year -- I'll be reposting the questions on my blog soon.

In the coming year, I'm sorting my projects into categories:

For works in progress, I will have a primary project, with the major focus on it, and a secondary project -- something that pulls me, but can't get my full attention right now.

I will also have one or two projects "resting" between drafts, and something in the editing phase.

I think revamping my websites will be a big help.

At 12/07/2005 5:44 PM, Blogger Lorianne said...

John, I should admit that last year I hated my story...and now I want to go back and revise it. So who knows how I'll feel about this year's story *next* year!

Devon, I'm always amazed by your productivity & range of projects! Although I write in my journal and/or in my blog nearly everyday, other work comes in fits and spurts. Since I teach writing & lit for a living, sometimes I get sick of words and need to get "away" from language. Of course, I usually *read* during these language-breaks, so I guess I never (or very seldom) get *truly* away from it!

At 1/01/2006 7:54 AM, Blogger Fiona Robyn said...

Hi Loraine - I'm enjoying exploring your blog(s!) - and thankyou to my welcome to 100 days.

I 'finished' (send the final draft to my agent) my last novel Aug '05 and thought I'd give myself a month off writing, but after a couple of aborted attempts at starting the next novel I realised I hadn't properly put the last one 'down' - I'd only put it on a shelf in my head for a while.

It was only when I could properly say 'I'll start the next one when I want, in fact I don't have to do it at all if I don't want to' that I think I started to let go of the last and get ready for the next project. And I think I'm there now... but I won't be sure until I'm a few weeks in to the new routine, starting on the 9th!

I think it's hard to know about the 'rightness' of beginnings/ends, esp. maybe for people like me (and maybe you?) who drive themselves hard! Thanks for stimulating the thoughts, Fiona


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