January 15th, 2010

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In Which I Actually Open Those Notebooks

I tend to take a 6 X 9 notebook with me where ever I go. I throw it in the luggage (amateurs call this a "purse"), and scribble in it whenever possible. And I do mean scribble. The longer I've had the notebook, the more illegible my handwriting becomes. Although that's not the point I'm trying to make here.

Having been worried about what project I would do next, and concerned I wasn't really in the best shape to call the latest YA project a first draft, even though I had the story in various pieces from beginning to end, I decided to crack open last year's notebooks and see what I had.

And actually, it's a lot. I have 4 notebooks from 2009 - all full. They aren't organized in any particular fashion. I start writing something, the scene or maybe my lunch break ends, and then the next time I open the notebook on that page I start writing something else entirely. Usually you can tell because the pen color changes or by some miracle I moved to a new page. So that said, when you open my notebooks, you could have 8 pages of a YA project followed by two paragraphs of nonsense, followed by goodness knows what. It's all jumbled up, depending on what I felt like writing that day. So you might see the conclusion to a project on page 1 of a new notebook, and then have to flip to the middle of book for how it got there.

This usually isn't a problem because when I'm really working on a project, if I've handwritten something, I usually find a way to iron it out and type it up later that day. But some things, not so much, they're either just for fun or not really worth it.

I took out all four notebooks last night and flipped through them, trying to read by story, which, given what I've just told you about how unorganized they are, was interesting. I seem to have worked on 6 projects last year: Smashing, the romance novel and its sequel, the YA project, another romance, and the silly, just because I can, vampire story.

While it's tacky to say this, every once in a while I'm floored by how the stories draw me in again. But I suppose that's the nature of how I write or came to be a writer. I have so little control over what happens around me: certainly not what happens to my family, friends, or (sadly) my finances, but I can control what I write - I create places to escape.

So I guess what I'm saying is, maybe I don't need something new. Because as I was reading in a few places I was thinking, "I love this. I can make this stuff into a book." I was surprised how much I'd already created, and how much I'd forgotten about. I have so much I can work with and reading back through my notebooks made me realize that.

Now, that's today. By tomorrow morning I could resolve to dream up something new once more.