Remember that commercial from the 80s where some guy holds up an egg (“This is your brain.”) and then cracks it into a sizzling frying pan (“This is your brain on drugs.”)?
That’s a writer’s brain after a round of developmental edits.
I sent them in today, after four weeks of wrestling with plot lines, ripping open scenes and patching them with new ones, and ruthlessly deleting a character who just didn’t fit in anymore. (Hey, it’s been a long month, and I had to take it out on someone.)
I’ve had days when I tacked on 1,000+ words, and days when I worked just as hard and ended with a net loss of words (those are the better days—it’s more fun refining than writing first drafts). I neglected a paid writers’ workshop, an expensive mid-November conference, my blog, and the whole idea of NaNoWriMo.
There have been other ups and downs in November. My application to teach an essay-writing workshop was denied based on a lack of formal teaching experience. My short story The Marshmallow Tree won honorable mention in a contest. I turned down, for the first time, an invitation for a reading due to an utter lack of ideas (refer to analogy of fried brain). I received two rejections on short stories, but one of those rejections came with helpful, encouraging notes. And I met my goal to finish the first round of edits on The Fourth Wall by November’s end.
In short, I’ve been living the writer’s life. I don’t know whether to laugh, or cry, or maybe just read a good book. But I think I’ll call it a month. Happy Thanksgiving, and I’ll see you in December!