November goes in circles

First, some news:

  • A new poem, “The Opposite of Time,” will be appearing in the inaugural issue of Haven Speculative. This one’s a personal favorite (a sonnet about time travel), and I’m looking forward to seeing it appear. The rest of the magazine looks pretty fantastic, too, so definitely check it out–should be available this Wednesday.
  • So far as I know, my last bit of writing news for the year will be the publication of a story, “There’s an Art To It” over at Diabolical Plots. I’m lined up for Issue #82A at the moment–so, very early December. I’m sure I’ll post again as soon as it’s ready… assuming that you’re not already a user of the Submissions Grinder and don’t see the banner at the top change.

So, ostensibly, I’m not doing NaNoWriMo this year.

There are a few reasons for this. The primary one is time… just, not the way you’re thinking. In breaking through to SFWA membership and becoming a small part of the specfic ecosystem, I’m finding I need the time to work on other short fiction. There are rewrite requests, anthology calls pending, and even just the thrill of clearing out the ‘Pending’ column of my writing pipeline Trello board.

Part of it is purpose. I’ve succeeded fifteen times at NaNoWriMo. I’ve pretty firmly established I can do the 50K — either as daily routine or in massive 12K binge catch-up days. (I don’t recommend the latter.) So I don’t really need November for novel-writing… when I get to the point where I write my next novel, I’ll just pause short fiction and get back to it.

If we were meeting in-person, that might change things… I might nudge a project along for that. NaNo in my local community has spawned a lot of different writing groups, and I’ve watched a lot of fantastic writers pass through the region in my time participating. I’m do enjoy chatting about the process, or enjoying coffee with other writers. But in a world where that’s not safe, I find the activity becoming a muted version of itself. (Yes, I could be more active on our local Discord group…. but there NaNo’s competing with every other Discord group I’ve got, and I’m always going to be one of those people who prefers face-to-face. That’s just my personal taste.)

Lacking formally sanctioned meet-ups, and not having the right risk posture to do unsanctioned ones, and having other writing work to do… I find the novels on the back-burner. Which makes this November an odd duck for me, because I haven’t flat-out skipped NaNo since ~2002.

I don’t expect it’s goodbye forever. And I’m happy to say I’m writing at a good pace even without the noveling. But I expect that my next pass at a novel will need to be on my own terms. That’s one goal that, even when I wrote my first manuscript (at the tender age of 14), I’ve never figured out. November’s not the time for me to try it… but soon, perhaps.

And if the world sorts itself out, I’ll still be happy to chat with aspiring writers, no matter the month. Especially if there’s coffee nearby.

Be well, stay safe, and talk soon.

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