Dude. Where did October go? I was sitting over there filing my nails and making glib promises to write a novel in 30 days, and suddenly Halloween is here and I have to get started writing. Like, soon.
I have a title. It’s called “That Thing I’m Gonna Start Writing.” I have no outline. I figured it would come to me in a dream. I have nothing simmering in my head, waiting to burst out onto the page.
The last few times I NaNo’d, I knew exactly what I was going to do, and I was revved up and ready to go. This year I am mid-book-tour, with a reading, an author fair and a research trip to another state planned (hello, Albuquerque!). In other years, I had been blogging about the book ideas. Once I wrote creative nonfiction. Another year I wrote 30 poems in 30 days. I’ve used NaNoWriMo in my writing classes to inspire students, and have guest-spoken in a middle-school classroom to budding authors on the delights of NaNo. I felt utterly confident about the ease of the project.
But here, now. In three days. I have no excuses. I have been working on other people’s projects. I have been producing nonfiction. But I haven’t been writing – my own sweet words. And chances are, as with many other areas of my life, that what I really long to do would get pressed to the side or nudged to the bottom of the list while I deal or manage or fix it for others. So. No title. No outline. Just a general idea, little more than an elevator pitch. One sentence with which to start a novel.
I’m not ready. But I’m ready. If you know what I mean.
Read all about National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) here.
Julia Park Tracey is an award-winning journalist, author, and blogger. She is the author of six books: three novels, one poetry collection, and two women's history. She was the Poet Laureate of Alameda, California, in 2014-17. She's also the conservatrix of The Doris Diaries, the diaries of her great-aunt Doris Bailey Murphy. She has a BA in journalism from San Francisco State University, and MA in Early 20th C. British Literature from Cal State Hayward.
Julia's articles have appeared on Salon, Thrillist, Paste, Scary Mommy, Narratively, Yahoo News, Your Tango, and Sweatpants & Coffee. Her articles have also run in Redbook, Woman's Day, Country Living, House Beautiful, Town & Country, the San Francisco Chronicle, Oakland Magazine, Quill, and MadeLocal. She was the founding editor of weekly Alameda Sun and literary zine Red Hills Review. Her poetry has been in The East Bay Literary review, Postcard Poems, Americus Review, Cicada, Tiferet Review, and many others.
Julia has been recognized several times by the San Francisco, East Bay and Peninsula Press Clubs as well as the California Newspaper Association for her blogging since 2003.
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