The November-est Thing

As of this morning, I have three weeks left in my morning pages book. I have about the same amount of time left in my planner. This means that I will have two fresh notebooks for the start of the end of the year. For somebody who loves planning, starting two new notebooks at the same time, especially at the start of a new month is like, well, Christmas, which is not that far away anymore.  Starting a new planner means making new plans, and a new book for morning pages means a whole bunch of new mornings. There’s the whole process of choosing what books/planners to use, which pens, flipping through the as-yet empty pages, and imagining what will eventually fill them.

This is another NaNope year for me, but I do want to use the start of a new month to pick up the writing pace. Okay, and try out a new tracker. A page a day is a book in a year, after all. Probably somewhat quicker than that, as I am second-drafting the last half of one book (okay, re-drafting, but it’s my blog, so I’ll call it what I want) and co-writing a second. So, that’s what, two half-books? Which averages out to one whole book, so still somewhat in that ballpark.

The biggest obstacle, for me, to writing more is not knowing what I’m doing. Having a flexible (because those characters have their own ideas) plan in place goes a long way to counteract that, and having an audience is like catnip.  I live for that stuff. In a once upon a time critique group (which included my contemporary co-writer, Melva Michaelian) I was the only person who had something to read, every single week. It wasn’t always on the current WIP, but there was always something. I am not currently in a group, but I do have three independent critique partners, two of whom I met by turning to the new person next to me at an RWA chapter meeting and introducing myself. Pretty much the same for the other one, though online, and on a fan fiction newsgroup.

Talking things out with writer friends usually does the trick to get stalled trains of thought moving again. Sometimes, for extroverts, (okay, often, for extroverts) thinking and talking happen at the same time. This is especially true, for me, when it comes to writing fiction. Babbling is my usual M.O., and, when I start to flounder in said babbling, the best thing is for the other person to ask me questions. Freewriting is basically babbling on paper, and it has its place, but there is that x factor of the other person, those questions I wouldn’t have thought of on my own, but, as soon as they’re asked, bam, there’s the answer.

November brings a focus on productivity, and also on reflection. The days grow shorter, nights longer. Colorful leaves give way to bare branches that reach to a slate-grey sky, hopefully with a good dose of rain and/or snow, on especially good days. This week, my Goodreads challenge tells me I am four books ahead of schedule, thanks to my recent YA binge. I inhaled last night’s This Is Us, and will probably go back and re-watch, to pick up small details from the dual timelines, and follow the threads that appear in both times and connect to the “now” of the present-day story.

November is at once time to pick up the pace and slow it down. Time to remember why I write, and what I want to bring to my readers. Time to refill the well and empty it out, then fill it again. Hopefully time to figure out the right balance so that the metaphorical bucket doesn’t hit dry earth, but there may be a learning curve on that one.

Suffice it to say that I’m excited at this turn of season. Halloween candy is on clearance, along with all things skull-themed and batty. Christmas displays are going up, and Christmas is my favorite holiday, so I like that, but I’d like to take a pause at Thanksgiving first. That’s possibly the November-est thing there is. Not the actual calendar holiday by itself, though that is a big part of it, but the whole feel of Thanksgiving.

Shorter days mean the world gets tucked in for the night, earlier. Cinnamon and pumpkin scent the air. Thoughts turn to friends and family, and who’s going where, when. Couches become beds for a weekend, odd assortments of chairs crowd around the dining room table, to make sure everybody has a seat. Porch lights go on early, firewood becomes a hot (pun intended) commodity, tea, coffee, and cocoa flow, and warm, comfy blankets come out of their hibernation, so that writerly/readerly types can drape them over our laps and hunker down for some quality time with our imaginary friends.

This part, I don’t want to rush. I love the whole holiday season, which, for me, has always started with my own birthday, one week before Halloween, and goes straight on through to Valentine’s Day. I love it. I want to get the most out of it, and I don’t want to rush it. I want to savor it and cherish it and let it do what it does best. I’m grumpy that Thanksgiving, all too often, gets shoved off to the side, when it’s perfectly situated so that there is one major holiday at the end of October, November, and December, but I am not in charge of retail

What I am in charge of is how and when and where I write. This time of year, my imaginary friends come home for the holidays. They hang out with me all year, of course, or at least that is the plan. Most of them would have no idea what Thanksgiving is, and more than a few of them would probably be convinced that I’m making the whole thing up, but  that’s okay. It’s more than okay. It’s keeping in the spirit of the season. No family gathering is complete without a few disagreements, a couple of blow-ups, some misunderstandings, squabbling amongst the ranks, etc, but, in the end, the good times are worth it. At least that’s the plan.


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