Autumn Writing Magic

I don’t know what it is, but whenever the calendar hits October, I get MASSIVELY motivated/inspired to write. I can’t put my finger on exactly what happens, but there is a switch that gets flipped the instant October hits. Suddenly any hesitancy, sluggishness, fear, anxiety, or desire to hide from my writing disappears and I kick writing into high gear.

It’s probably a combination of nearing the end of the year and wanting to make sure I can look back and feel I have achieved something, excitement because fall is my favorite season and I’m just generally happier during it, and a deeply ingrained association of fall with NaNoWriMo, which for the past many years has meant I spend my autumn months deeply entrenched in writing projects.

Whatever it is, I’m not going to question the magic of autumn and what it does for my writing productivity. On October 1st, I fiiiiiinally finished reading through draft one of my novel. That took almost all of September for reasons I can’t entirely figure out (September is not at all part of the autumn magic, even in its last week).

I spent the rest of the 1st organizing revision notes and draft 2 goals. Most of the revision work belongs in the last third, which unfortunately turned out to be JUST as big of a mess as I had feared. I’m hoping it will resolve itself naturally as I work through this revision, but I’m trying not to freak out about it.

I’m just reminding myself over and over (and over and over and over x100,000) of the following:

  1. Writing is rewriting.
  2. When this project was initially a novella, I had the EXACT same problem (on a smaller scale) with the end of that project (which is now the first 1/3 of the novel) and it took around four drafts to get the pieces right. Right now Mega Disaster Ending is only in first-rough-crap-word-vomit stage, so getting it through a second draft should improve it by a huge factor.

So yesterday I revised the first chapter. It only took three hours. Ha. Which is great because now that chapter is technically in its fifth draft. So by my calculation the rest of the book should only take 823 hours to revise. Yay.

Regardless, I’m giving myself till November 30th to finish draft two. I’m hopeful that I will be finished before that, but I’ll be treating this draft + subsequent drafts (if I finish draft 2 before November 1st) as my NaNo project.

Whiiiiiich is a little bit sad, to be completely honest. But my Achilles’ heel of writing has been my inability to focus on one project. I LOVE drafting and writing and I get new ideas all the time, so I tend to leap from first draft to first draft to first draft and so on. I’m not a huge outliner, so when I get new ideas the best way for me to figure out what they are is to actually write a draft. I don’t mind working this way, but first drafts can be extremely time consuming — and more importantly, COMPLETELY distracting.

So I’m resolving to not draft a new novel this NaNo. And the three ideas that have been gnawing at me for the last several months will just have to wait, because it won’t matter if I have six dozen manuscripts if I never get any of them polished enough to start the querying-agent-acquiring-book-deal-scoring-publication process. If I get restless (which I undoubtedly will) I’m going to turn to working on a new draft of Bramble and Shadow, my Snow White retelling.

I am so ENERGIZED, guys. So I’m gonna curl up in a sweater* and drink some coffee, finish my day job work, and then get to WRITING, and infuse all of this inexplicable autumn energy into it.

~Teresa

*OK, I live in Georgia so the fall weather is a bit… elusive at present. You can feel it in the mornings and it’s 80 degrees by noon. BUT my apartment is a little chilly, so at least it seems like fall in here.

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