Tuesday, October 22, 2013

To Each Thing, A Season

NaNoWriMo is coming up.  Anyone who has consistently read this blog knows of my antipathy for it.  For those who don't, go ahead and read the post I did on it, but be prepared to be offended.  Most writers dislike how I think NaNoWri Mo is for the less committed.  That's because I think that a writer should always be writing, and not limiting oneself to doing lots of work in only a single month of the year.

That said, that doesn't mean I don't have cycles of my own.  I've been pretty consistent the last few years at finishing the first draft of two novels per year, and I have a definite writing season that I follow.  It began unconsciously but has grown more pronounced over time.  I start a new novel every January, with the goal of being complete by the end of June.  My next writing season then begins on August 1st, and it is always slated to be done by the end of December.

I have no idea why the calendar in my head is set up this way, only that it is.  Yes, I have been known to vary a little, most notably with the beginning of my summer schedule, but the variance is always small, and it's never done on the front end of the year.  Novels don't carry over from year to year, and I work my ass off to make sure I get done on schedule.

It seems to be a structure thing with me.  In my own mind, structure provides security, and security provides peace of mind.  It lets me believe there's some sense of order in an otherwise chaotic world.  To me, starting a novel in March and letting it run through the middle of October would be as bizarre as the NFL kicking off its first games in April.

Speaking of the middle of October, that's where we are now, and although I've been done with Homecoming for several weeks now, I just can't see myself starting another large project until January.  That doesn't mean I'll be doing nothing with my writing, though.  I think that's where this schedule benefits me the most.

Anyone who is serious about this business knows that the first draft is but one step in a long process.  This is where my having seasons benefits me.  It gives me structure to do the editing of some things, as well as working beyond novels.  Since the end of Homecoming, I've done the final edit on my third novel, Wrongful Death.  In the coming weeks, I plan to do the first edit on Schism.  Completing a writing season means I can focus on these tasks without the distraction of having an unfinished novel out there.  And vice versa, when I'm writing a novel, I don't get weighed down with the guilt of needing to edit something still out there.  I can also write a few short stories so that I break out of the routine of writing larger stories, thus allowing me stretch my mind.

I have no idea if the rest of you have a "writing season" of some kind, but it works.  Anyone out there as insane as I am about this?

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