I started writing a novel this week, because fighting off a nasty virus wasn’t nearly enough entertainment on the day I stayed home to get well. I have no idea how to write a novel, and I’m excited to see how the process unravels.
Consider this fair warning: I’ve given myself permission to write self-indulgent posts that ring with Dear God! What have I gotten myself into this time?!? I’ve finally accepted the unpleasant parts of my creative process: The sinking feeling in my stomach that I’m the dumbest fool ever to pick up a pen, the memory slideshow of failures and regret that remind me of all the projects I’ve dumped before their desired outcomes, the conviction that just because the last project turned out alright, I must be the worst idea-have-er in the universe.
I brunched today with some of my favorite women in Minneapolis. While talking about how easy it is to freak out about creative projects, I admitted that I love the adrenaline. I do my best work when on a deadline. It’s like running all out in front of a train, just a foot ahead of it. Like jumping off the tracks at just the right time. Falling over with exhaustion. Laying in a ditch and panting and feeling my body prickle with sweat and my heart pounding and thinking, “Holy crap I almost died. That was really hard.” Like thinking after, “That was the most fun I’ve had in ages.” And immediately after that, “Let’s do it again!”
So I’m going to do NaNoWriMo this year, which will probably annoy the hell out of some of my readers and make them stop coming back, but whatever. This website is my corner of the internet where I get to twirl around in a glittery, self-interested frilly skirt and pretend that there isn’t bad news happening on every other corner of the internet. It’s a creative process blog. If you want to see me react to world events on a daily basis, follow my Twitter feed.
What will I reveal about the upcoming novel? For now, nothing beyond this little announcement that I’m writing something big and fictiony. I’ve learned that my book and essay ideas are too fragile to be shared before they’re committed to paper in some sort of complete draft. I’ve ruined my desire to write a number of essays because I talked too much about them before my fingers could excavate the story.
TRUTH: I’m relieved to have a new thing. I was getting kinda nervous that there wouldn’t be a gigantic project this winter to alternately revel in and complain about to all of my friends. Stay tuned for freakouts of the holy crap, this is hard, I never learned how to write fiction kind.
Should be fun. Hope you’ll follow along, if only to remind me when I complain that I once thought writing a novel was a great idea.