Thursday, February 28, 2008

Too many novelists in the office spoils the non-profit?

As you'll notice, our blog has taken a bit of a hiatus. Okay, more than a hiatus. A hibernation, if you will. Are the Grub Street staff fat and warm in their caves, sleeping their way through to spring? Hardly. We have a million excuses for not writing (my favorite is "we just take the blog TOO seriously"), but whatever the excuse, the fact remains that we're not writing on the good 'ole Penny Dreadful. And that's, well, dreadful.

So now, at the busiest time of our year, I am attempting to get the ball rolling again. This post, and possibly my future posts, are going to be a bit more chatty, a little less crafted. Because isn't that the point?

I haven't been writing blog posts, but I have been working on my first novel, as well as taking a Grub Street class called Novel in Progress. I'm proud to say that my novel is indeed in progress, though I find I'm writing at a frightfully slow pace. Slow as in 13 pages in 6 weeks. That's pretty slow. But I started the novel 6 weeks ago, and by that I mean I literally solidified the idea and started thinking in earnest about the characters, so my page count doesn't equal the amount of time I've spent thinking and scheming about the book.

I'm a deadline-driven gal, so my N.i.P. class is perfect for me: write 5 pages a week (okay, so being "driven" by deadlines doesn't mean you meet them), do some exercises, come to class and critique other people's work. No outside reading of others' manuscripts, which is fantastic because that's normally how I procrastinate away the hours I'm supposed to spend on my own book. Now that we're more than halfway done, I'm wondering what to do in that interim before the next term begins. I don't want to lose momentum, and I don't trust myself to set my own deadlines, sadly.

What I want is something I probably can't have: an incredibly dedicated writing group that only meets once a month and writes as slowly as I do. A group of insanely talented writers whose work I'm so impressed by I can't wait to read the next bit. That's what I want, but I've found that most writing groups meet too frequently for me--or the opposite: they just use the group as an excuse to drink wine and hang out. (Nothing wrong with that, but it's not going to help with the deadline problem). If anyone out there has any tips on making a writing group work for someone as simultaneously lazy and dedicated as me (is that even possible?), let me know.

One group that does a great, great job is The Writers' Group. If you haven't seen their much-more-updated-than-ours site, check it out. Or read about their successes on the Boston Globe site.

I hope everyone else is working hard on their creative writing, too! I'm proud that all three Grub staff members are all writing novels right now. I hope we keep it up.

Feeling good being dreadful,