When you’ve already made a grand proclamation about your very ambitious NaNoWriMo project in public it’s a bit humiliating to have to admit that while you can write with a full-time job you cannot do the copious research necessary (in hindsight “read every single book about London history and mythology ever” might take a little more than two months) with one.
But that is what I’m doing: the requirements of The Ideal London, which is only about two-thirds plotted still and has a very mushy middle (always my problem with plotting, the second act is so frequently like the middle of a badly-baked cake), far exceed the time I’ve allotted myself for my usual NaNo outbursts, and something else has been nagging at me demanding to be written.
Now generally speaking if you’re trying to write something and it’s being an obstructive ass that you have to slog through, it’s probably not the right time to be trying to write it: if you’re constantly being distracted by another idea and no one has commissioned you for idea number one, then it makes perfectly good sense to write the one that’s demanding to be written.
This is the advice I would automatically give to other people, which is probably why I was failing to take it myself. It took an observation from my friend Lin (who has within the last couple of years gone from “I should write that” to “I’m writing that” and as a consequence hiccupped out a trilogy of fantasy novels as if it were nothing) that 2012 is my designated year of “Write Whatever The Fuck You Want” (which is how The Breaking of M came to be) to make me decide. Of course, the ever-delightful Lizzie also pointed out that every year should ideally be the Year Of Write Whatever The Fuck You Want, and that’s definitely worth taking into consideration. Regardless of whether the actual business of physical output is hard, if one’s brain is continually shying away from writing something it’s not worth forcing it.
In light of that, I’ve now exchanged a London-based metafictional fantasy with added world-saving and commentary about the nature of fiction for a less research-heavy London-based organised crime story involving blood magic and bisexual love triangles, for which the research amounts to “watch Shakespeare adaptations and Guy Ritchie movies”, which I think I can handle in the time I’ve got left a little better than my meaty, weighty, literary-fiction project. The Ideal London has plenty of material for it, though, and I will definitely be writing it… when I have a little more time!