A garden in November is a sad sight. Nearly everything in the beds are dead or dying. A few green tomatoes hang from fallen plants, forgotten and abandoned. Weeds take their chance at getting a foothold as if they know the no one is coming after them. A few marigolds keep a splash of color in an otherwise brown and gray landscape. The kale is still doing good, they can keep growing past the first snowfall and the garlic is just getting started.
Any semblance of order and care is gone. The human touch has been removed and nature is left to her own devices.
The same thing happens on thousands of writing boards in November. A vast migration of writers abandon their typing grounds for the fields of NaNoWriMo. Alpha readers, crit groups, prompt boards are denuded of talented wordsmiths who flock to the NaNo boards in a frenzy of plotting propagation. They leave behind those scribblers who are either too old (those who still use an IBM Selectric) or too weak (ones still on dial-up) to make the arduous passage.
But then there are also a few who choose to stay behind, to keep the boards from going dark in the weeks and months to come. These caretaker writers are the garlic and onions of the literary world. Usually, bitter key-peckers who can’t produce the necessary word count to attempt the NaNo and disparage those who do. They log in to the old boards to find no new posts day after day, anxiously awaiting the first day of December only to find the Nano-ers languishing in a post-novel state. The poor hacks stay holed up in filthy dens or overpriced coffee shops, determined to edit their nightmare of a MS for the next six weeks before returning to a silent board and the pity of those they left behind.
Okay, so I don’t like this time of year. I’ve got too much work cleaning up the garden with no immediate gain from it and my writing group dries up to a couple of sad novelist whose criticisms of our WIP’s (works in progress) is too little too sustain us until the others return. By then we are too far ahead for them to catch up on but could you be a dear and do a line edit of my NaNo?
A writing board is a sad sight in November. It makes me yearn for the spring when novels emerge like flash fiction in a reading fee-less contest. Until then I suppose I’ll have to get use to things going dormant.