This is why we can’t have nice things.
I love it when people ask me if I’m a planner or a pantser when it comes to writing, especially if they’re a planner. There’s always this little glint in their eye, almost a smirk suggesting that if I would only try planning out my works I would sigh with happiness at how much easier it was.
Yes, it would be so much easier. Except I fucking can’t do it. I’ve tried. I’ve tried like I cannot begin to tell you. It doesn’t work.
Want to know how much it doesn’t work? WITNESS.
Right now Fever Pitch, the second book in the Love Lessons series, is due. I have until December 30, but that’s only two months away. Technically it’s 3/4 finished, but it’s all finicky and every time lately I’ve been able to sit down I’ve been pulled away. So I signed up for NaNoWriMo, thinking I’d be all rebel and shit and get my work done while hanging with friends. I’d take the days before to outline the remainder. Again. Because I’ve only done it four times. I’d do it a fifth, and this time it would work. I’d sit down and finish it and it would be great. I’m all set to do that to, and I’m here to tell you, muses be damned, it’s happening somehow. I will turn this book in on time.
The muses, however, are having a throw down. Because they want me to write this. Right now.
This is something I’m supposed to write too. I was all set to write it after I got done with the one that is due. Sleigh Ride is next in the Minnesota Snow series. It isn’t due until like March or something. It is light and short and easy and should take me a month at best. I can do it while I bake Christmas cookies and hang tinsel.
It will not shut up and insists it has to be written right now.
The problem is that the muses are right. I would do better to clear out my head with this because it’s fun where Fever Pitch is hard. Except I have to write Fever Pitch first for that reason: if I do Sleigh Ride first, then I have to do the hard book when I’m stressed and tossed in ten directions. It’s a bad, bad plan, even though it’s a good idea. It won’t work.
The muses smile at me when I say this and encourage me to make a playlist to go with that nice collage they had me do this morning instead of laundry.
I can already see what’s going to happen. I’m going to end up doing both. I have written two books at once before. It’s not elegant. I’m going to work like hell to stick to this book coming right after I finish Fever Pitch, but I can already see the writing on the wall. If I want Fever Pitch turned in on time, I’m going to have to play their way.
Here’s the thing. Those of you who write or create, who aren’t eye rolling as you read this? Those of you who are nodding and maybe even getting choked up? You know. This isn’t about invisible people dictating our lives. This is about instinct, about deeper voices than the ones that turn into characters. These are about gut-level guides that who knows where they come from, but they know. Maybe they don’t care about publishing schedules, but they know. They know how to deliver the good books. They know where the gold is, and they know when to fly and when to rest. They know when we’re lying to ourselves and “that little book” is actually soul-deep raw and hard.
I guess you could say it’s less that I don’t have a plan but that I have a deeper part of me that has a much better sense of the plan and overrides my little ones. Maybe it really is that I’m disorganized because I can’t get that deep part to converse properly with the mindful, present part. Maybe this is some kind of crazy flaw. Anything’s possible.
All I know is there’s a librarian and a lumberjack telling me all about what they want to do in the back of that sleigh in Arthur’s shed, about how they hate each other but don’t really, about what they’re afraid of and what they’re longing for, and they’re showing me in crystal colors and sounds how it will all go down. And they swear on a stack of muse bibles that if I only listen to them, Fever Pitch will come out like butter too, better than if I forced it on alone, and yes, it will still be done by New Year’s.
Okay then. It’s a plan to fuck the plan and do the stupid plan that doesn’t make sense but is shiny and feels right. Well, at least everything is normal.