This week I have had what could be considered a taste of what it might be like to be a fulltime novelist. Instead of traveling, I used five of my vacation days from work to stay home. My intention was to get stuff done around the house and, silly me, finish editing my novel before National Novel Writing Month begins next Thursday and I will write a new one.
I wrote the one I’m editing now almost exactly three years ago, during my second NaNoWriMo. At this point, I’m close to finishing it, but until this week I thought I was much closer than I am. Faced with nine days off in a row I thought surely I could knock out the novel over only a couple. Other plans for this week originally included painting the living room, writing the four stories I’ve been planning as Christmas gifts for family members, plowing over the garden plot and replanting bulbs, shampooing the carpet, replanting the garden, exercising seven out of nine days, and reconfiguring my diet.
In Chris Baty’s book “No Plot? No Problem!” he wrote how several years ago he saved up to be able to put aside his freelance jobs and stay home for three months. But instead of writing during those ninety days, he did anything but.
I haven’t treated this week like a work week, but I did think that forty hours spent at home rather than at my office — plus the seven commuting hours — would have amounted to more than they did. What I have done is plan for my new novel, reorganize the kitchen cabinets, make lentil stew and quinoa for dinner tonight, walk five miles with Ryan one day, talk with two friends I haven’t seen since January and another since April, spend time with family, and catch up on sleep. I also had the battery in my car replaced when my car broke down at the post office Monday and upgraded to a smartphone.
Today I worked on my book; I printed out the first half and had read over the first three chapters before realizing that none of the edits I had made on the previous hard copy had made it into the new one. That’s because I’d never entered the edits from the hard copy into Word. It took two hours today just to enter the edits from a chapter and a half. My edits are not the spelling/grammar kind. They’re the paint the page red with ink kind. I also realized that, in this latest round, I haven’t edited past chapter eight…out of nineteen.
With three days left of my staycation, I know I’m not going to finish this book before NaNoWriMo 2012, which makes my plans for submitting it to the January contest I’d wanted to seem all the more unlikely. But I’m beginning to think that even if I were home all day every day from now until New Years, I might not have made that happen anyway. When you’re home all day, you spend more time making meals, you let the cats in and out about 80 times more than usual, and you visit with people you normally never get to see.
For now I’m still planning on writing a new novel next month. It just isn’t November anymore without NaNoWriMo. But I also might have a second goal this year: Finish editing a novel in a month.