In December, I was between projects. I had some revisions planned, but wasn’t quite ready to dive into them. I had just finished a very intimidating rewrite, and felt only marginally good about the results. Most of all, I was tired of taking myself so dang seriously. I just wanted to write something fun.
So, on a day when I was not feeling particularly well and ready to excuse myself from writing, I had this itching to write the first chapter of a middle grade novel I’d had banging around in my brain for the last five years or so. I’d been studiously not writing this novel, because how many different kinds of things do I think I can write, anyway? I was being a good little girl and sticking to a couple steady brands.
But if I wasn’t going to write that day anyway, some writing was better than none, right? What could it possibly hurt to just write the first chapter?
You see where I’m going with this.
I wrote that first chapter. And then the second one. And then the rest of the novel. It’s not terribly long, but it’s a novel and it’s complete and I wrote it in under three weeks.
And what’s more, I had fun. For once I did not have to care if what I was writing was good. My main criterion for quality was whether or not it amused me. I used Drew as a secondary audience. I wrote character quirks and situations that cracked me up. I told them to Drew, and he laughed, too. It wasn’t all that dark, and it wasn’t all that serious. (Though it does include lots of imminent death.) And I liked the novel *as I wrote it.* All the way through. I still like it even now, in fact. I don’t think that’s happened since I wrote my first novel, and that was over ten years ago. (That novel is also impressively bad, though I hope there’s no correlation, there.)
And now I need to be a good little girl and get back to the things I’m supposed to be writing. In fact, I already have. I’ve started a new intimidating revision, and I’m not impressively thrilled with the results so far. I’m not loving it. It’s hard work and I am mildly miserable. That three-week novel isn’t some revolution in my writing process. I’m not going to feel that way about every book all the way through. I don’t know if that book is marketable/good enough/going anywhere. And the truth is, I don’t care.
It sure was a nice vacation.