It's that time of year again - National Novel Writing Month. A whole thirty days to write eighty thousand-ish words worth publishing. Now, I'm going to sit here and pretend like the last eleven months haven't possessed a certain NaNoWriMo-esque quality...or maybe that was time spent possessed...semantics, really. Anyhow, I digress. Focus, Mags.

Novel-ember 2015 - a month for good things to come together. November and I have history, you see. It was three years ago this month that I published THE FINAL PIECE. I'm excited and I'm scared, because it's been seventeen months since my last book was published, and I'm not quite done with my third. Cue the NaNoWriMo anthem!! We have one, don't we? Here's my NaNoWriMo anthem. I don't know many writers who aren't pumped by the anticipation of our event. It's ours, we own it, we are authors, here like bees on crack, down to the wire on 11/30 at 11:59 p.m. It sounds like fun, right? There's no other high like it. The anticipation of this annual rite has given me the extra push...shove...kick in the keister to finish the book I've been working on for way too long, but when you get into a habit of clinging, it's so damn hard to let go. I've been selfish with my writing this year, in particular, my reluctance to share my WIP with anyone. Sure, I've given some trusted critique partners a chapter here and there, but that's all. My poor husband stopped asking me about the story after my voice started taking on a Gollum like quality and I began muttering about "my precious." This book has been mine...ALL MINE!! My saving grace, my safe haven. Mine. Mine. Mine.

My office door. Artwork courtesy of Monkey #1

All teasing aside, these new characters have given sanctuary to my art during a time I've spent wondering if I would/ could/ should write another book. Doubt is sneaky little fucker...pardon my language...on second thought, don't pardon me at all. It absolutely is a sneaky little fucker. It creeps in under the guise of something as benign as "Didn't I buy toothpaste last week?" Yes, Maggi, you did. However, you did not anticipate Monkey #2 using the entire tube to make little piles of toothpaste turds along the window sills to ward off spiders. Did you know that peppermint is a spider deterrent? Peppermint essential oil, to be exact. Gotta give the kid props for effort.

Back to that initial question "Didn't I???" It could've been anything, doubt will take root wherever we allow it. For me, it might have been the toothpaste, or a litany of other things I question myself about daily. Whatever the reason, doubt found it's way in and beat my confidence to a bloody pulp. Anyone who's ever waged war with doubt knows what a pathological liar it is. It says you aren't capable - you are! It tells you people don't care - they do! It insists you're a talentless hack - you aren't! You're freaking amazing! Don't let doubt tell you otherwise. As you can see, I'm fairly efficient when it comes to cheering for other people. It's a lot harder to be that encouraging with yourself.

I'd love to tell you that I picked myself up and brushed myself off, but I didn't. I marinated in my misery and ate my weight in chocolate covered pretzels. "My life is hard!" I'd justify, and no one would argue that. Then one day, a voice started buzzing in my head. "Chin up, Chicken, life is tough for everyone." Pretty soon other voices followed, so I had my psychiatrist up my medication. Kidding. I started profiling the voices and, just like that, I was writing again. I stopped marinating and started ruminating about book series centered around a group of young professionals living in NYC, trying to make a name for themselves in print journalism. Keeping it fairly quiet allowed me to find my writing juju again without the pressure of "So when's your next book coming out?" Now that I'm close, I can give you an answer! NaNoWriMo's all the motivation I need to reach "The End." Stay tuned...I can't wait for you to meet Rowan, Ben and Jonah (The City Press Series). I have a date with my editor at the end of this month, so the only thing standing between you and The City Press is whether I publish traditionally or indie. I'll keep you posted as these decisions are made.

If you're participating in NaNoWriMo, look me up -MagnoliaMy


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