Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Winter Weather and Summer Writing Don't Mix

I love winter. That is to say, I love winter when it's behaving like winter--when it snows and blows and tumbles and wraps the whole world up in white. I do not, by extension, necessarily like the months of December through February (or, more likely, March)--too often our version of winter is rain, ice, sleet, and something the weather people call "wintry mix" which sounds like a candle scent but it, in fact, disgusting on the roads. And grey. Very, very grey.

So I was thrilled when we got a half a foot of snow in the last two days. To top it off, I have a few evenings free, with nothing to occupy me but the new manuscript I've been plugging away at. So I sat down at my desk last night in the room in our New Old House that I'm calling, in historical parlance, the great room. The snow swirled outside, past the thick-paned windows. I could imagine a fire into the hearth behind me. I had a glass of some sort of spicy, earthy red wine from Chile with a name I couldn't pronounce. Enchanting and inspiring, all of it.

The trouble was that I am trying to write a very sweltering sort of book. A book about hot places during hot times of the year. About India and South Carolina and mosquitoes and sweating and dampness and really needing a glass of cold rum punch. It just wasn't happening. My toes were too cold to have my characters fanning themselves.

And so I allowed myself the lark of writing something entirely new, that's been bugging me for some time to let it come out and play. It's a colder sort of story, but one that I think will open into spring before it's finished.

I've never been a two-project writer before. I'll have to pick one to focus on. It's going to be difficult to shelf one when the crossroads hit. But for now, I'll permit myself this little winter lark, while the snow falls.

Do you tackle one project at once (of any kind--reading, sewing, household, writing) or have a few simmering at once? Am I the only one so affected in the weather when it comes to picking what to work on?


Connie said...

I'm editing a new section in my novel, and I noticed that the character wasn't wear gloves. I almost put them on her until I remember that it was July in the novel. :)

Carrie C said...

Charming post as always! Per your question, I have evolved into a multiproject writer and reader. Granting myself the permission to write short stories while thinking over a hiccup in my novel or allowing myself to read a different book in my purse than what's by my bedside has been a boon. I feel less like a schoolchild at an assignment and more like an adult doing what she loves. Good luck with your wintery story!

Caroline said...

I generally read multiple books at once (i.e. if I'm in the middle of one that is progressing slower than I like, then I will put it down in favor of something else). "Gone with the Wind" has been the book that I keep putting aside in favor reading something else. I can only handle small doses of it at a time.

I technically have two writing projects, though I have shelved one in favor of the other. But I was feeling conflicted this morning after watching the music video for "Walking on Broken Glass" by Annie Lennox. It's a great "Dangerous Liasions" themed video, and I was thinking that I needed to return to my Revolutionary War novel for a while. But.I.Will.Resist.The.Urge.


Rowenna said...

Wow--three comments, three C names :)

Connie--ha! Too funny!

Carrie--thanks :) The short story idea is a great one!

Caroline--yes, having more than one book going can be good--especially true for me if I'm reading nonfiction, as I need little doses of fiction in there, too!

Hema P. said...

I completely understand your dilemma! How can you write about sweltering summer when you're freezing? Also, sometimes being away from your work for some time only makes you get back to it with that much more enthusiasm.

Ooh, one of your WIPs deals with India and South Carolina? Can't wait to hear more about that!! :)

Anonymous said...

I'm a multi person by necessity. A WIP on the go, edits for kindle underway, a fan-fcition written as a serial for the blog, other posts for the blog. I think it's just a writer's life . . .