October is my favorite month because every year it seems to be busy with some of my favorite things; Celtic festivals, writer's conferences, birthdays and visiting friends. Plus leaves start turning, weather gets cooler and everything is great. This October however was NOT what I had hoped for.
Like a crazy person, I thought I had a chance of finishing a draft for Cauldron in October. I don't think there is that much left to write, and I was (and still am) looking forward to exorcising this particular plot from my brain. Unfortunately, this October it seemed that life was conspiring to thwart me.
The last couple of weeks have been particularly difficult. I told myself that I would come out of the James River Writer's Conference energized and ready to write my fingers off, which is usually the case. It almost happened. I was super excited when I got home on Sunday. Unfortunately, the very next day my daughter was diagnosed with a tree nut and peanut allergy. Of course this meant that instead of writing, I was cleaning out the pantry and researching how to keep my little evil genius in training from eating something that might cause a deadly allergic reaction.
For months now, writing progress has been slow. It's not writer's block exactly. It's more like pulling teeth. I've never been a fast writer. I'm not one of those who can tell myself that the first draft of everything is shit and just plonk down a thousand words of garbage in an hour. I wish I was. I have tried. I did NaNoWriMo last year, and wrote more than half of the book that I'm trying to finish now. But I'm just not wired to spew out words without caring about the quality. I know I can clean it up in revision, and I do. But for me to be excited about something as big as a novel long enough to finish it, I have to see it's potential.
After having to curtail writing for most of that week, I found myself desperately in need of a mental health day. I decided to take it last Monday. Then my mental health day turned into two sick days, where sinus issues knocked me flat. It took a lot of self-talk and a little encouragement from my husband to not hate myself for not writing those days. (Did I mention that my work ethic can sometimes be pathological?) That brought me to Thursday, where I took the journal that I write the Pip stories in with me to a cafe and was going to spend some quiet time working on that. Hoping that a little break from Cauldron would help get things rolling.
Then the school nurse called. First of all, the nurse at my daughter's school is AWESOME and proactive. She got an email about an epi-pen recall that applied to the pens that I had just bought the week before. So, the rest of that day was spent getting new epi-pens for her highness. Friday, I had my Gaelic class, and was just settling in to get back to writing when I got a text message from the local sheriff's office. A school bus had overturned.
After ten minutes of frantically texting and calling my son to no avail. Another message came through identifying the bus as his. You do not ever want to learn by text message that your child was in a serious accident. That bears repeating: You do not EVER want to learn by text message that your child was in a serious accident. Luckily, he wasn't seriously hurt. After an interminable ride through Friday afternoon traffic to find him at a hospital, I was toast, emotional toast. But I managed to keep it together, because he was clearly terrified.
He's fine now, and aside from being slightly phobic about riding the school bus again is just about back to normal. I on the other hand was not. I kept it together all weekend because kids and Halloween and visiting with family. But I admit, I find the occasional tears of relief spilling out when I least expect it; on the way to the grocery store Sunday when I was alone for the first time since Friday, going to the AT&T store to replace his phone that got smashed, any quiet moment when the kids aren't around.
So, there hasn't been much as much writing in the last couple of weeks as I had hoped. I'm trying very hard not to hate myself for that, as I am prone to do. But hey, it's November! NaNoWriMo did wonders for me last year. Maybe I'll at least try to hit it that hard this month until this draft is finally done. I CAN see the light at the end of the tunnel. Really.