So I took a few months off to do some writing. I’ve done this before, but I don’t think I’ve ever *needed* to do this as much as I needed to do it right now, this year. I’d spent a lot of time in recent years feeling inauthentic, shall we say. It’s good for my mortgage, but it drove me a little crazy. I do distinctly remember two thoughts hitting me last year:
1) the next idiot who says something really stupid to me will get a slap upside the head, I don’t care WHO it is; and
2) oh, gee, an ad for a sandwich hand. Sandwich hand. Hmmm. That sounds really interesting.
These are not good thoughts to have.
But taking time off to write a novel WAS a good thought, & I’m powering through the first draft of a novel that’s been haunting me for a couple years, which was inspired by a billboard ad about 15 years ago. I can’t, even now, explain what the relationship was between that billboard ad (which I think was for a hardware store) and the idea that leapt into my head as I sat in a slow-moving bus on a nastily bright day. I just remember thinking, ‘hey, wouldn’t it be cool if …’ And so on.
It does mean I’ve put aside my other novel for a time that I’ve been working on for over four years, on account of being bored to death with it. I may or may not bring that one out of retirement and have at it with metaphorical scissors. Or, real scissors, since it sits in a real, physical pile on a shelf just above and to the right of my head. (I moved it to the right because I was certain it was looking to fall on me. It is a spiteful thing.)
But for now, having a new novel is like having a new romance: you’re enraptured but cautious, addicted but convinced of impending hurt. I have 50% of the words I planned for this novel already (well, 57%, but you need a bit of fat so you can feel the satisfaction of trimming it later) & I started this caper exactly 17 days ago.
Amusingly, since writing the novel is taking up all the time I would have spent in a full-time job, I’m STILL not getting onto all those other projects I thought I would be able to wrap up during my time off. Like, my taxes.
I should really get onto that.