What the heck is a presidential post, you ask? Why, it’s a post from a president, of course.
And that president would be moi, who somehow ended up–through no fault of my own, of course–as the presiding officer of my local RWA chapter a couple of months ago.
(I’ve heard of RWA chapters with low participation by PAN (published author network) members, but that has never been a problem in Austin. Other than myself, there are at least five other PANs on the board.)
Are you ready to be thrilled by by-law modifications and budget wrangling? No, okay, I’ll back off.
One of my responsibilities is the writing of a monthly short post called From the President’s Pen, to be included in the chapter newsletter. And since I’m a bad blogger, I immediately decided to reuse those posts here for content.
(I might have explained once before–here or elsewhere–why I am such a sluggish blogger. That time, I said it was because I had nothing to say. Which surprised some folks. I have recently realized that it’s not that I have nothing to say, but very seldom that I have something I want to say enough to take the trouble to put into paragraph form.
I type fast. But it takes me a while to organize and present information to my satisfaction. And it’s just more fun to read or play games. And doggone it, dinner needs cooking and Jr. Kidlet still doesn’t understand how or why WWI started.)
So without further ado, here’s what I wrote in our chapter newsletter for November:
It’s November, otherwise known as National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo for short. The goal is to write a 50,000-word novel, or 50,000 words in your current manuscript, by the end of the month. I have been writing for more than a dozen years, but have never had the opportunity to participate in NaNoWriMo, as for some reason I have always been in revision hell come November 1. But this year, this year I am gunning for those 50k words.
So how did my NaNoWriMo go? Err, I’ll let the December snippet answer that.
I would like to proudly inform you that I have reached the traditional NaNoWriMo goal of 50,000 words. But unsurprisingly—at least to me—I didn’t. I ended November with precisely 10,000 words in my new young adult fantasy manuscript.
I could make excuses—the fatigue from getting backlist books ready for overseas self-pubbing at the end of October, the double-header workshop in Houston, the new responsibilities I’ve taken on as president of ARWA, the many, many hours spent on kicking juvenile asses into shape at home.
However, I am not going to make excuses. J You know why? Because ten thousand words is not bad. True, I’d have loved to have written more. And true, the deadline is coming in four months, so I’d have no choice but to double my output. But this foot-dragging speed is actually par for the course, when I start a new book.
Beginning a book, for me, is a bit like pushing a boulder uphill. You grunt, you heave, and sometimes you manage to move that sucker only a few feet. And sometimes, in a moment of inattention, the sucker steamrolls over you and you’d have to start all over again from the bottom of the hill.
But at some point, you pick up speed and the story acquires a momentum of its own. Suddenly you can work sixteen hours a day and produce 30,000 words in two weeks.
That is my pattern.
And may the Words be with you.
That was written at beginning of December. The following describes the rest of it.
I will confess right here, I usually do nothing for the holidays. Nothing. My excuse for Christmas is that when I was growing up in China, there was no such thing as Christmas. (But then I also don’t do Chinese New Year, and that was huge when I was growing up in China.)
So, usually, nothing. But this year, my beloved sister-in-law and my two adorable nieces came to visit from India and the family contingent from Dallas also came along. So for the better part of a week I had thirteen people in my house. And I baked and cooked. Made-from-scratch fruit tarts, crème brûlée (my agent’s recipe), regular pancakes, green-onion pancakes, banana nut bread, many savory dishes and—drum roll, please—two hundred hand-rolled, hand-wrapped dumplings.
Maybe I did my copyedits in the middle of it, too.
But all that’s behind us. January, ah, January. Boring, wonderful January. Nothing on the calendar, no one to shop for, no party to which you need to bring anything, just thirty-one cold, bland days for getting work done.
I actually started giving my fingers a workout back in December itself. After the family contingent visited Austin, we returned the visit in Dallas, where I had nine blissful days of not having to cook anything. So I hid in a corner and produced stuff. First draft stuff, but still, stuff.
It’s going to be a busy year, but that’s a good thing and I’m looking forward to shaping and reshaping stories that will be read by you this year and next.
Wish everyone a happy, healthy, and vibrant 2013.
P.S. I’ll try to remember to take pictures of all the dumplings when Chinese New Year rolls around. I may not know when it’s about to arrive, but my mom does.