This morning it occurred to me that, for the first time in four years, it was likely that I would NOT spend a month writing a fast-draft novel. How could I? I am on a countdown to having a baby, the immediate aftermath of which I anticipate will be absorbed by, you know, caring for an infant, and completely rejiggering life as I’ve known it.
But! We expect the baby to arrive in August, and it is only mid-June, which means that my July is technically available for such a project. So I’m going to do it. The last month-long novel draft of my pre-baby existence. It seems like an important gesture to make, a final paroxysm of pre-family creative energy. (Obviously, the having of a baby is not going to end my writing, but it will mean that I’ll have new challenges in time management and it may take a while to sort things out).
This will also help me remember how to cram 1600 words into a single day, which is not hard, just a little inconvenient at times – and lately I’ve been privately lamenting how I seem to be down to just a couple good writing nights a week. I need to re-nimble myself. Finding writing time around the edges is something with which I have a lot of experience, but I’ve been so bogged down with the new house that I’ve fallen out of the habit.
I’d planned to work on novel revisions up to my due date, but this is more important. And to bridge the gap, I’m going to work on material related to the current novel project, basically the construction of a stand-alone arc that occurs outside the planned time of the main project. I guess it may be important to point out that none of my fast-draft novels (any of the five of them) has any redeeming qualities: these are generative exercises that help me understand character, voice, plot, etc. of nascent projects. So there’s real potential for this fast-draft exercise to help me get a better handle on a couple major issues that have been dogging me in the novel revision. Some of the material might even make its way into the main project, who knows.