By Robin Burcell
|NO MORE SILENT NIGHTS.|
The end of the year is a busy time for writers. We might be working, but many of us are also thinking about Thanksgiving, do we brave Black Friday shopping (no, we don’t—at least not in this house!), or do we get out the holiday decorations that weekend or wait until December. A lot of writers also participate in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month. You can read Rogue Jamie Freveletti’s post about it here.). Some hit it officially, others use it for inspiration to jumpstart word counts for an impending deadline.
I would fall into that latter category, frantically trying to juggle my daily word count with the approaching holidays. I’m not sure how I’m so lucky to always have a deadline smack dab in the middle of this holiday madness, but I’m grateful for the work, so I really can’t complain. My kids know all about December deadlines. If I’m close to meeting it, the Christmas tree gets decorated that year with all the wonderful ornaments, many of which are older than my grown children. If I’m lagging behind, the tree gets decorated with bells and bows (easy to put on, and even easier to rip off and shove in a box). And a few times over the years, though my twins might not remember it, when they were babies/toddlers, I decorated the tree so the bottom had no breakable ornaments. Same thing the year we got a new puppy. No matter which way we go, full-on decorating or easy-peasy unbreakable, the trees are pretty. The former, though, with the ornaments I’ve collected over the years, is the one they look forward to. It reminds my kids of home.
With the decorations up, it’s time to think about what’s going under the tree. I have friends who start shopping for gifts in October. I wish I was that organized. One year, I had such a tight deadline that I was writing on Thanksgiving Day, then ordering all my Christmas presents online that same evening when the so-called Black Friday sales officially started. While it was great, because I had my entire list done in a couple of days, I lost track of a couple of boxes, and didn’t find them for months. (In my defense, we were having tile installed throughout the house right before Christmas.) I found the missing packages a few months later. (Thank you, Nordstrom, for your generous return policy!)
This year, my deadline was December 15th. (Another co-written book with Clive Cussler, THE ORACLE, which hits the stands May 2019.) I was offered a deadline in January, but asked for it earlier on purpose. My goal was to finish the book at the end of November. (Those who know me can quit laughing now.) I planned to unofficially participate in NaNoWriMo to up my word count, thereby being able to enjoy all of December and the holiday fun and madness that comes with it. For those who don’t know, the NaNoWriMo goal is to write about 1600 words a day. I needed a mere 800 words a day to make that goal. No problem, right?
My brain, however, refused to participate.
As usual, I typed THE END and emailed the manuscript exactly on my due date. Had I been given that January deadline, my subconscious would know this, and I’d still be working on the book. So, yes, since I don’t own a time machine (unless you count my TARDIS ornament), I had to work a bit harder, my ten hour days turning into fourteen hour days. Still, I made it and I now have nine full days to get shopping done.
I’m curious if my fellow Rogue Writers have similar difficulties working through the holidays, or if they participate officially or unofficially in NaNoWriMo as a way to jumpstart that end-of-year-writing. But what I really want to know, Rogue Readers, is when do you start your holiday shopping?