Choosing your friends (and projects) wisely

As mentioned previously, my second book has not been going swimmingly.  I tried to avoid it by switching gears and working on a separate project for NaNoWriMo.  But that didn’t help either.  As avoidance often doesn’t.

So I’m breaking up with NaNo (sorry, it’s not you, it’s me) to focus on the characters that have been nagging at the back of my mind all month long.

This was a hard decision.  The book I devised for NaNo is more fantasy/paranormal-ish, which is clearly the most selling-ist genre in YA literature these days.  And the story line is something I feel strongly about.  But it begs for a well-researched background and it needs more thought and puzzling together before the writing can really take shape and that sort of goes against everything NaNo stands for.  In NaNo, you just write – without thought – without boundaries – just to see where it goes.  Which is a sweet, lovely thought.

But it’s making me crazy.

So I’ve gone back to my non-selling realistic YA genre.  Which I feel good about.  This one will also require some research, but – because I’m not on an irrational one-month deadline – I can feel free to indulge and let the characters develop as they see fit, and I can work within a time frame that doesn’t require pushing and shoving the pieces together incorrectly.

And I can breathe.

So, the characters of Book Dos are happily chatting away in my head, and one in particular has recently become more multi-faceted, which I enjoy.  But, for the most part, not a lot has poured out onto the page.

Until this week.  And I owe it all to Janet.  (Miss Jackson if you’re nasty.)  (Sorry, slight detour…)

Janet is my writing partner, and has been for a little over a year now.

I fully believe the forces of the universe brought us together.  Our kids enrolled in the same Montessori school.  My family moved into her family’s neighborhood.  And she just happened to need someone to meet with at the pool to share the expense of swimming lessons.

Sitting on the side of the pool, happily watching our little ones fight the ill-equipped teen-aged swim teacher, we learned that we were both writers.  We both wrote for corporations.  We both wanted to write something else; something that would make us happy; something our hearts were calling out for, instead of just something that could make us money.

So now we meet once a week, as our schedules allow, and give each other feedback.

And I consider this the most valuable thing I’ve done as a writer.

It’s all about accountability.  Janet tells me when she doesn’t like a character.  She tells me when a scene is not working.  These are usually things I already know, but have been too lazy to correct.  Janet chides me for my laziness.  She expects more from me.

And because of her, I give more.

This week, I have focused, I have put words to the page, and I have given her something to read.  And I have worried about what she will say.  And I’ve realized this is all a key part of the process for me.

It works.  It worked for Wildfire, and I’m seeing it work for Book Dos.

And if you don’t have a writing group (or a Janet) of your own, I advise you go out and get one.  Seek other writers out.  They need you as much as you need them.

Oh – and my other writer friend – with whom I was sharing the crazy of NaNo – wrote even less than me.  We have both moved on to other projects.  And we are both happy in our new relationships.  NaNo just wasn’t giving us what we needed.

So we had to kick him to the curb.

C’est la vie, NaNo.  You’ll find someone else; I’m certain of it.

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5 Comments

  1. true… its always who we chose 🙂

    Reply
  2. Damn, this Janet sounds awesome. Now only if she could kick her butt in gear and get writing herself.

    I hereby give you permission to literally shame me into writing.

    Reply
  1. The Courage – and Motivation – to Write the Climax | I am a writer ... dangit.

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