Category Archives: Writing

Tell Me Everything You Don’t Remember

TELLMECover

Just dropping in, in case any of my readers are still checking on this space.

Happy to announce that my memoir, which details my stroke and recovery, will be out February 14, 2017 from Ecco / Harper Collins

And it’s available for pre-order!

Details can be had on my main blog.

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Filed under The Stroke, Writing

I is for I

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The last time I blogged, it was July, and I was surrounded by heat. I thought that perhaps just for balance, I might blog I for Ice, since after all, it is now wintertime, and when I open my front door, it’s like opening a refrigerator door. Except there aren’t goodies to eat on my porch.

But after some thought, I decided that I is for…I.
(And yes, like Sunny said, I is for I…need to update this site more often).

I is for first person, singular. I is for being the narrator of my own story.

I is for a brand new year ahead, wherein I will prioritize my novel (which btw, is NOT written in the first person). I will prioritize my writing. I have been given the gift of time; the last time I had time to write my novel was in 2009, when I was laid off from my job. In shock, licking my wounds and doing budget calculations in my head with numb precision, I remember limping to my novel-in-progress, determined to make lemonade.

And I did. I finished a complete draft of my novel by year’s end.

I’ve been given the gift of time again. After 2010’s intense work schedule, wherein I vacillated between being grateful for work in the midst of the Great Recession, and being forlorn about having no space to write and wishing wishing wishing for a residency or some sort of fantasy scenario in which I could write every single day…

My dream has come true. I’m moving to NYC. To write. (Well, it’s more complicated than that–but the end result is that I will be in NYC, and have more time to write).

I is for I. I will write. I will have a fantastic 2011. I will take care of my health. I will get back into shape. I will revise my novel until I am proud.

And to my NYC friends: I will see you soon.


Previous letters:

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Filed under Alphabet: A History, Memes, Writing

ah, i sense a pattern

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I am miserable. I am feeling creatively blocked. I hate everything I write. I feel worthless. I feel aimless. I just want to sleep and sleep and sleep. And eat. Everytime I feel better, I veer off the elevated road into a muddy putrid foul ditch.

Out of curiosity, I looked up blog posts in March/April in previous years. Oh. I am miserable EVERY March and April. In this exact, anxious and miserable and self berating way.

I looked up previous May posts. I become happy again.

Maybe I should just take a vacation from my fiction for a month (apparently my Muse goes on vacation then, too). Staring at the screen and feeling like a failure and wanting to cry out of pure frustration is a real drag.

Update: right after I wrote this post, a friend of mine emailed me a nytimes opinion piece by David Brooks on Sandra Bullock. In his article, the writer begins with the following description and question:

Two things happened to Sandra Bullock this month. First, she won an Academy Award for best actress. Then came the news reports claiming that her husband is an adulterous jerk. So the philosophic question of the day is: Would you take that as a deal? Would you exchange a tremendous professional triumph for a severe personal blow?

My answer: no. No matter how shitty my writing goes, I wouldn’t trade my marriage in. Long long ago I asked for one thing out of life: marital happiness. Long ago, I prioritized my marriage above my writing. The happiness and support from my marriage is the platform for my life, one that if erased, would devastate me more than writing failure.

Of course, I’m still miserable about my writing.

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Hello, it’s March

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I’ve been thinking of a way to provide an update/insight into how my novel revision is going but there are no inspiring words to describe. In my head, the psychological video, if I were to play it for you on an uneven stucco wall, entails a lot of exhausted thrashing in lukewarm water. Not pretty, not productive, not comfortable. Not even organized or strategic.

A lot of panic and confusion. All the methodic/rhythmic progress I made on completing the first draft feels like a dream–was that me? Was that *this* novel? But I still love my novel and sit with that discomfort, because it’s worth it.

Some of my struggles stem from the fact that this has been a challenging teaching semester. A student who writes papers reminiscent of KKK philosophies, another student who plagiarized, and another who said made suicidal comments. An overenrolled class. TAs to train/mentor.

I like it, I even love it–but it’s as time consuming and heartbreaking and exhausting as it is inspiring. So, I haven’t had much time for this novel, either. I haven’t had much psychic space. I haven’t been very joyful in the last couple of months. In recent weeks, I have walked into my classroom with a positive attitude and outlook, and changed the dynamics within, so that we now have a strong and positive classroom community.

But I leave class exhausted this semester. Any energy I’ve mustered up is deposited into my students. I guess in life, I too, am thrashing in the water.

It’s March–springtime allergies are making me feel miserable; but my spring break is coming up, too–so I find myself preparing for a good writing week, somehow. That means doing an inventory on what I need to make psychic space and to feed my imagination for that week. Rest, exercise, good food.

I haven’t been getting enough sleep. I have slacked off on exercise this semester. And I certainly have not been eating healthy. Time to change all that.

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Filed under Life, Revising, The Novel, Writing

litmag etiquette–courtesy is a two way street

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<RANT>

I know that litmags demand a certain amount of courtesy from writers who submit work; whether this is courtesy in the form of addressing the editor by name (as opposed to the thoughtless “Dear Editor” or “To Whom It May Concern”) or in the form of standard formatting (Times New Roman, 12 pt font, inch margins, numbered pages, etc.), there is an expected etiquette in the realm of literary submissions.

THAT SAID–I have had my taste of strange (or lack thereof) etiquette in return from litmags lately. Most litmags are not guilty of this, but I still find it odd that the establishment (and yes, it’s an establishment) of litmags won’t return courtesies…

Earlier this year, during the holidays, I got quite a few letters from litmags asking me to donate. I shrugged.

There is one litmag to which I will donate, and that is ZYZZYVA and its editor, Howard Junker. He opened the door to my writing career, and for that I am always indebted, and for that ZYZZYVA will always be first in line (okay, maybe when Haiti has an apocalyptic earthquake, they get my money first). This is all to say that I’m no stranger to donations.

But when a litmag that has rejected me multiple times with curt letters (nay, I wouldn’t even call them “letters”–more like a sentence or two, which technically isn’t even a paragraph), asks me to donate, it leaves me with a bad taste in my mouth. And before you think I’m anti-litmag, I’ll let you know that I’m the fiction editor at a litmag that runs on a shoestring budget. I’m pro-litmag, and pro-donation-to-litmags.  Writers should read, donate, and subscribe, to literary magazines.

My friend who used to work at one of the litmags that sent out the letters protested when I said the donation queries disgusted me. She defended the litmags saying they need the money, and we should give money without thought to our personal experience with being rejected. True, I told her, true. We *should* give even if we were rejected by the litmag.

But out of *courtesy*, why can’t the litmag figure out a different form letter to send those whose work had been rejected? Just a touch of courtesy might pierce my scarred, cold heart. To that, my friend agreed. That would be a nice touch.

My other pet peeve these days have to do with litmag contests. Specifically, my pet peeve is about litmag contests that don’t bother to notify the losers entrants whose work didn’t win.

I entered two litmag contests months ago recently. I did it on whim–knowing I probably wouldn’t win. In the past, my work has been named a finalist, a couple of times in various contests. (Many, many other times, my work has lost). I’ve noticed in the past that litmag contests sometime fail to notify everyone of the winners, and to notify folks who didn’t win, that they didn’t win. I thought to myself, “Huh. Maybe the letter got lost in the mail.”

But I’m beginning to notice this as a trend. There is no such indication in the contest submission instructions that winners will be announced on a particular website (implying no notification otherwise)–so there’s no way to think you won’t be notified personally.

Zoetrope’s Fiction Contest clearly states that winners are announced on its website, and that’s fine by me. And the venerable Glimmertrain with its multiple contests, always manages to notify its writers (winners, finalists, honorable mentions, and outright rejections alike) in an organized manner.

But when litmags don’t state how entrants will be notified, I assume I’ll be notified either by email or by postal letter note. Both The Missouri Review Editors Prize and The Mississippi Review Prize posted the winning writers on their websites, but didn’t notify entrants.

I’ve gotten used to the 2 inch x 4 inch xeroxed rejection slips sent to me in the postal mail. In fact, I’m so used to it that when I see a handwritten note scrawled on a rejection slip with a six-word-long encouragement, I get quite excited. I’ve gotten used to the one sentence rejection emails. I’ve gotten so used to the rejection form letters that have been xeroxed over and over again so that my copy is barely readable, that I am not offended at all. I understand that there is a balance of power, here, and that as a writer I don’t have much power at all.

I would not be kvetching if etiquette and courtesy weren’t such a priority expectation in the litmag world, but it is something that litmags expect out of writers. Shouldn’t we writers expect the same in return? Even if one sentence long, shouldn’t writers get the courtesy of notification? Even if a different form letter, shouldn’t writers get the courtesy of an acknowledgment that their work has been rejected, but they’re still being queried for a donation?

</RANT>

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Filed under Publishing, Writing

Revving up for revision

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I am not one for going into situations unprepared. I love to plan–I have backup plans, and backup-to-the-backup-plans. When I teach, I make sure to have at least two backup lesson plans, if not three backup plans, plus a sure-fire, “fun” lesson plan in my back pocket for the occasion where students might not respond to anything I throw at them. (p.s. this only extends to my “work”–when I’m on vacation, I go without nary a list of things to do or schedule!)

Still, I plan in order to gain a sense of security, despite knowing that plans do not cover all bases–because I know that once I enter my classroom, I’m walking that high wire without a net. If I don’t listen to my students, and don’t think on my feet in response, there is no way any sort of plan will save me from rebellion. Oftentimes, I deviate from plan with verve. So much of teaching is intuitive.

My friend Elizabeth tweeted the following link detailing Zadie Smith’s lesson on craft: Are you a macro planner or a micro manager in your writing? Intrigued by these two approaches to writing a novel draft, I clicked.

According to the summary of Zadie Smith’s craft lecture, I’m a macro planner, someone who organizes everything in advance–so much so, that I can start writing from anywhere in the novel (at a certain point, I started skipping around with my chapter-writing, because I had such a clear vision of my structure). At first I ventured out without a plan at all, and then swam back to shore, before I drew up a plan that finally got me across the finish line.

Micro managers do not start with a grand plan, their novels only existing “in the present moment,” written from the beginning to the last word, not knowing what the ending will be until she gets there. (Not me. Might be you?)

Still, like my teaching, so much of my novel writing is intuitive. While I have a clear idea of structure and have an outline, at a certain point in the story, my novel tells me what to do. My characters rebel against my dictatorship and go on strike resisting what I tell them to do until I let them do what they need to do; for example, if they’ve been miserable, I have to let them do something fun. There’s a lot of negotiation going on–and it is at that point of the novel, where I begin to experience a lot more joy in my writing.

This is all to say that..I’m gathering together a sort of plan before I start my revision. I’m a plan-in-advance kind of girl, one who, after a certain point, is more than willing to throw away her plans and go off intuition….but in general, I really do need a plan to start. And this is all new. So I’m feeling freaked out. One of my writing mentors told me that the “real writing” occurs in revision and that too, is freaking me out, because the first draft was hard enough to achieve.

(Also freaking me out is how a Famous-Writer-who-has-won-many-prestigious-awards told me he never revises–he just writes the novel from scratch). But I will ignore that. I will.

Here are things I know to do:

  1. I’ve printed my manuscript out, in hardcopy.
  2. I need a pen–to mark up the manuscript, and to jot down things like continuity errors in a notebook.
  3. A deadline. (I hear a novel can take 2 weeks to revise–others say a month? Spring is busy for me, so I’ll be taking longer than 2 weeks to revise).
  4. I’ll read the manuscript all the way through. I’ll indicate sections that are good, sections that need work.
  5. Definitely mark sections that seem expository and go back and provide details.
  6. I’ll examine character/s: do they each have a purpose for being in the story? Do they make their exits and entries in a sensical way? If they change, is there a sensical reason for their change?
  7. I’ll examine theme/story: I don’t have to resolve every single conflict/mystery, but are most of them resolved by the end of the novel?
  8. Does each scene matter? Are there are least three reasons for the scene to exist?
  9. Examine language closely. Do the characters speak in consistent ways throughout? Is the narration unique, free of clichés…? Are their vivid verbs and nouns?
  10. Mark BIG continuity errors in the notebook or with a different colored pen. (i.e., make sure the character lives in the same place throughout–that the building is the same)
  11. Where does the story drag? That’s where my writing’s flat.
  12. Where does the story move too quickly?
  13. To be continued….

My novel manuscript awaits my return, sitting in an envelope. Soon, soon, soon!

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Offending Family

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I was in tears over a piece of writing, and it wasn’t because of a poorly written manuscript or because it had been panned. In fact, the few people I’d sent this essay to read/preview/critique were excited and touched by the essay.

I was in tears because my family wasn’t happy with the essay, a personal piece about one particular in-law, someone who passed away in the last few years. I’d sent copies to get their blessing, assuming I’d receive the same kind of support I’d received from writer friends, but when I got the email saying, in so many words, that it was not a good idea to publish the piece, I felt destroyed. They asked for a few changes, but all I heard was “No no no no no no no….”

I hadn’t written anything derogatory–it’s just that they didn’t want family to be mentioned in my writing whatsoever. As a member of the family, I felt deeply hurt because I didn’t know what could be so wrong about a tribute to my relationship with that person; in fact, I felt that I was not being allowed to grieve, and display my grieving, in my unique way. At the same time, I understood their desire for 100% privacy, given circumstances. But as a writer, I felt censored, my creativity stifled.

A “good girl” at heart, someone rule-driven and eager for the approval and acceptance of others, I felt demonic for wanting to express myself. A writer, I hated the “good girl” for allowing myself to consider censorship for the good of the family and to the detriment of my work.

How did I deal with this internal conflict? I sat in the car in the parking lot of Trader Joe’s and cried, my sobbing breaths fogging up the car windows. Eventually the “good girl” and “the writer” working together, got me to call a friend intimately familiar with the conflict of artist/family expectations (her book pissed off her family), who texted me back with what I needed to hear: permission, for the “good girl” to allow the writer to thrive. She told me to go for it–to make some concessions, but to try to get the work out there.

So I’m putting the piece out there. (In the end, my family said it would be okay so long as I left out names). I know this will not be the last time my writing might conflict with family comfort levels, but maybe someday, I won’t have to call someone to give the writer in me, permission, to go go go.

And maybe maybe maybe, someday my in-laws will understand what it means for me to be a writer.

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3 years later

I repeat my tweet today from Tahoe:

“I FINISHED the 1st draft of my novel–and on the 3rd anniversary of my stroke that left me unable 2 write fiction for a year, no less. :)”

It feels very bizarre to be done with my novel first draft, but in a good way.  Now, on to revision (and revision and revision)!

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Balancing Act from Writerland

In the news I read that fewer people are having babies these days thus ending a baby boom, even though I greet that news with great disbelief. This year and last year was full of newborn babies in my life, and friends celebrating motherhood for the first and in many cases, the second time (and third!) time. Along with the baby announcements have been tweets and blog posts about their struggles to balance writing with their new children.

There was one blog to which a friend pointed me that actually advised mothers to prioritize their writing to an extreme: the writer said one should NOT go to their children’s activities, and work on their manuscript instead.  My friend (a new mother) and I whispered (if one can whisper on twitter) that just seemed a bit extreme.  (The writer also suggested other extreme items, which I have blocked out from memory, they were harsh enough for me to wonder why it was the writer had children in the first place–children are not pets that can be crated, people!).  But that still begs the question–how to do it? How to balance writing with children?

I asked my friend Meghan who blogs at Writerland, that very question…and she has graciously obliged me with a guest blog post:

People ask me whether I have time to write with two kids—one who just turned two and the other only three months. The answer is, “Yes, but …” Yes, but only while someone else is taking care of them (i.e. I’m paying someone else to take care of them) or after they go to bed. I’m fortunate this time around because my newborn is already sleeping through the night. So after 8 p.m. I’m “free.” Free to eat dinner, wash the dishes, fold the laundry, pay my bills, check my e-mail, catch up on editing, etc. etc. etc.

So I find myself staying up late at night, usually until 12 or 1 a.m., and then getting up at 8 and feeling semi-tired all day. But there is time to write. It’s just compressed time, which means I need to be more disciplined than ever. If I want to accomplish anything, I can’t spend my time e-mailing, reading blogs, and Twittering. I can’t go the gym, have lunch with friends, or watch TV. If I do, I don’t write. Or I don’t sleep. And then I get sick. Which I did two weeks ago.

Unfortunately, the fact that I’ve completed my first book and am trying to get it published makes me feel justified in spending all my time online rather than putting words on the page. I’m itching to start a new project, but I don’t want to be one of those writers who has several unpublished books lying around, so I’m trying to focus on getting my first book out there instead. I wish I had time to do both—to use the social media tools to their fullest extent AND write AND exercise AND spend time with my kids … but I don’t.

Writing with little kids is all about choices. It’s about running instead of going to a yoga class because it saves me time. It’s about sharing my kids’ attention with a nanny and being okay with my son accidentally calling me “Dolores” from time to time. It’s about forking out a lot of money each week in order to buy myself the freedom to write, which is a tough choice when I’m making so little money from my writing. It’s about spending my evenings on my laptop instead of curled up on the couch watching a movie with my husband. It’s about being tired most of the time. Is it possible? Yes. Is it hard? Hell yes!

Yiyun Li, who was my thesis advisor in the Mills College MFA program, said she once heard that a writer’s career is delayed by two years for every kid she has, and she agreed. I agree, too. But when I look at my son’s sparkling blue eyes when he giggles with delight at being tickled, or when my baby girl smiles when she sees my face, I figure it’s worth it. Like the Peace Corps motto, parenting is the toughest job you’ll ever love. I think that’s true of writing, too. Combine them and you’ve got two tough jobs to love—double the work and double the pleasure.

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Rejected

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I once wrote a short story and titled it “Rejected.” It got rejected a kazillion times. I thought to myself, “Perhaps that’s not such a good title for a short story.” I changed the story title, and…it still got rejected a kazillion more times, until I retired it.

Retirement meaning: I forgot about it. It’s gathering dust in my hard drive. What the hell do writers do with stories that never ever get published? I feel like I should have some sort of burial ceremony. For every story of mine that’s been published, there exist at least a few more that will forever be wallflowers, never asked to dance, lingering on the sidelines. Poor dears.

So in a sense, there are quite a few stories I’ve written whose titles are unofficially, “Rejected.”

My friend at Writerland wrote a post titled (and about) “Dealing With Rejection”. It is a timely post, at least for me, because even though I’m always dealing with rejection as a writer, this week has been especially tough on my psyche.

I don’t deal with rejection well. My first short story was published in ZYZZYVA a few years ago in the early 2000s. But here’s the thing: the published story was written eight years prior. I didn’t submit it anywhere other than ZYZZYVA–it took me eight years to send it out, because I couldn’t deal with the thought of being rejected.

After that acceptance (what a bluebird! It was the only place I’d sent my work), I was buoyed, and sent my stories out. I have since been rejected hundreds of times. It’s awful. Sometimes, I brush a rejection off. Other times, I want to burrow under the covers and stay there for weeks. I’ve been driven to suicidal thoughts, I’ve thought of giving up. But I’ve kept on going.

I’ve kept on going with my writing, not because of any special coping device, but simply because there’s nothing I’d rather do than write. Even if I feel that I only produce mediocre, trite writing…it’s still all I’d rather do, and the thought of a life without writing drives me to dark insanity.

I deal with rejection in both healthy and unhealthy ways:

  • I feel sorry for myself. I wallow in self pity. I question myself. I become imbued with self doubt.
  • I go for a run. Hell, if my psyche’s suffering, then I should do something good for my body. Besides, endorphins are real.
  • I go for a walk, especially on a beautiful day like today–a late autumn day with golden light and a chill that requires a warm jacket. It’s peaceful.
  • I eat an entire bag of chips. Sometimes it’s Doritos, lately it’s Pirate’s Booty.
  • I used to eat chocolate, but I’ve been “off” chocolate for over a month now (resulting in weight loss, but that’s a different story). But you know–emergencies require chocolate.
  • I will email a good friend to tell her how awful I feel.
  • I will tweet my misery.
  • I will call writer friends to vent.
  • I will read a good book (right now I’m reading Victor LaValle’s Big Machine–it’s good!).
  • I will blog.
  • Sometimes, I drink. Today, I added some vodka and cointreau to my pineapple juice. I’d have added a splash of grenadine but I couldn’t get the bottle open, because it was glued shut with sugar. That kind of gives you an idea of how often I drink (rarely).
  • I’ll go see a movie, turn on the TV and veg out.
  • In the growing season, I’ll go putter in my vegetable garden.
  • And most recently, I’ve clung to this quote from Cormac McCarthy who in his WSJ interview said, “I’m not interested in writing short stories. Anything that doesn’t take years of your life and drive you to suicide hardly seems worth doing.”

In sum, rejection is like heartbreak. There is only so much you can do, like running and commiserating with friends, to stave off the devastation of heartbreak…but in the end, you have to let the devastation wash over you and run its course. The more in love you were, the greater the heartbreak. The more hope you had in a writing opportunity, the greater the impact of rejection.

Right now: I’m feeling the heartbreak. I’m making loved ones around me miserable. I’m miserable. If you’re not a writer, you won’t understand what it is I’m going through. If you’re a writer, then you, unfortunately, understand.

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writing playlist

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The other day, a friend asked me what’s on my iPod’s “writing playlist.” (If not in quiet, I write to two items on my iPod: Mozart’s Requiem…or my writing playlist). I promised her that I would share my playlist, which is as follows (in order):

  1. Come to Me (Peace) –Mary J. Blige
  2. Beautiful – Akon
  3. Viva La Vida — Coldplay
  4. Death — White Lies
  5. Everybody’s Changing – Keane
  6. Death and All His Friends – Coldplay
  7. Chasing Cars – Snow Patrol
  8. Fix You – Coldplay
  9. High – James Blunt
  10. How to Save a Life – The Fray
  11. Crack the Shutters – Snow Patrol
  12. Somewhere Only We Know – Keane
  13. Lovers in Japan/Reign of Love – Coldplay
  14. In Your Eyes – Peter Gabriel
  15. Med sud i eyrum – Sigur Ros
  16. Sense of Touch – Mark Isham
  17. Goodbye My Lover – James Blunt
  18. This Woman’s Work – Maxwell
  19. Hurt – Johnny Cash
  20. Wuthering Heights – Kate Bush
  21. Same Mistake – James Blunt
  22. Hallelujah – Jeff Buckley
  23. The Blower’s Daughter – Damien Rice
  24. A Whiter Shade of Pale – Procol Harum
  25. Breathe Me – Sia
  26. Nothing Compares 2 U – Sinéad O’Connor
  27. Life in Technicolor – Coldplay
  28. Svefn-g-englar – Sigur Rós
  29. Green Grass of Tunnel – Mum
  30. Vid Spilum endalaust – Sigur Rós
  31. Marl1 – Tsewer Beta
  32. Alone in Kyoto – Air
  33. One Perfect Sunrise – Orbital
  34. Deep Blue Day – Brian Eno
  35. Halcyon On On – Orbital
  36. Adagio for Strings – Tiesto
  37. Love U More – Sunscreem
  38. Stay Down – Mary J. Blige
  39. How to Be Dead – Snow Patrol

(Yes. I listen to James Blunt).
I have other playlists too, like an “upbeat” playlist to which I workout/jog/run. Because my writing playlist is chock full of emo music. And emo music is sucky for workouts.

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Cheering from the bleachers: NaNoWriMo

NaNoWriMo, aka National Novel Writing Month is upon us. Several years ago, I heard about NaNoWriMo and signed up with enthusiasm; the idea of writing a novel within a months’ time was too tempting to disregard. It had been my dream (and still is) to write a novel.

I learned that NaNoWriMo isn’t for me. It was such an oppressive process (write 50,000 words in a month, nearly 2,000 words a day, without regard to quality) that I was driven into a six months long writers’ block afterwards, throughout the long winter of 2003-2004. I was miserable trying to keep up the pace, and I dropped out after a couple of weeks with a collection of words I can only describe as gobbledigook. (Over at Writerland, Meghan’s description of her NaNoWriMo book jibes with what I produced in those two weeks).

NaNoWriMo isn’t my process. I’ve been plugging away at this draft of the novel in earnest for nearly a year now, and I’m about two-thirds of the way through. I’m not editing as I go, but this is the speed at which I write, and my process doesn’t involve writing fifty thousand words in one month (p.s. my novel’s first draft is going to end up at around 100,000 words, double the NaNoWriMo goal).

I estimate that I will probably revise the draft at least five times, if not ten times, before I consider sending it out to an agent. And then after that, I estimate, I will have to revise the draft again (maybe another five times). This entire process will take years.

NaNoWriMo is a great exercise–but that’s exactly what it is: an exercise. For those of you who did sign up for NaNoWriMo, I cheer you on (wearing some of my many NaNoWriMo tshirts). And hope you get what you need out of it, whether you are a new mother re-engaging with her writing and using NaNoWriMo to kickstart that re-engagement, or someone who wants to get all the words down on the page.

And for the record: my friend Tayari Jones, the author of Leaving Atlanta and The Untelling, has a post up on why she doesn’t participate in NaNoWriMo. It’s well worth a read, whether or not you agree with her.

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