I am taking advantage of National Novel Writing Month, which takes place in November, to try to complete a draft of a novel.

I wrote a proposal for the book over a year ago, but I keep changing my mind about whether it should be a novel or memoir. I went so far as to write five chapters of the memoir and it was going surprisingly well, but I hit certain creative stumbling blocks and now, for various reasons, believe I should give the novel version a shot.

For one, writing a novel will be easier for me—the most fun I ever had professionally was writing my first book, Room for Love—and it will feel great to finish another one. High on the accomplishment—imagine if I sell it!—I’ll see how I feel about writing the memoir.

The memoir will still be there when I’m ready for it. There’s a lot of overlapping material in the two books. I think it will be helpful to fictionalize a chunk of it and whittle down the many years of my life I’ve been trying to squeeze into the nonfictional behemoth I can’t seem to wrap my hands around.

In November, I’m going to need all the discipline, inspiration and focus I can muster.

In preparation, I am:

–       writing a detailed plot outline;

–       scheduling at least three hours of writing a day (I will have to work other activities around my writing schedule);

–       crossing all other errands, phone calls, etc. off my to-do list;

–       writing at home for a few days to see if I can and cut down on the time it takes driving to and from the library or a coffee shop everyday;

–       decorating my office with inspirational photos and quotes and stocking up on the tools—post-its, pens, notebooks, tea, snacks—I might need;

–       using the program Freedom, which turns off my Internet access for a period of time determined by me.

I’m trying Freedom out for the first time today and it’s a real trip not being able to compulsively check my email every three minutes (and follow links to facebook, the Times or fashion sites tempting me to browse).

Hence this blog post.

I’m supposed to be rewriting an essay I’ve been sweating over for the last two years. I finally paid a professional (and very good) editor to read it for me and I got her notes two days ago. So, that’s my project du jour, but I so resist my work that even when I can’t get online, I have to find some way to procrastinate. How funny that today my only option to procrastinate from writing is writing! Writing something other than emails! It’s certainly the most productive procrastination I’ve ever done, so I’m not going to knock it.

Now that I’ve come to the end of this post, I have nowhere to go but back to my piece. I guess this is what National Novel Writing Month will be like.

Wish me luck! And send me all sorts of good energy! I will need it.

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