Here's how things are going

We get asked that question all the time, don't we? It's probably one of the most common questions in the world. How are you?

How is everything going?

One of my author friends, Jackie Lea Sommers, recently wrote a post called 'If we were having coffee' and I love it. I have friends and family all over the globe, and I would love nothing more than to be able to sit down with each one of them for a regular coffee. But, since teleportation hasn't been invented yet, here's how things are going today.

I get asked all the time, How's the writing going? You might be wondering that too.

I always appreciate that question. To me, it shows people care about what I'm doing, that they know how important writing is to me, that they're excited by what I do and want to be a part of that. Particularly since I've been doing NaNoWriMo this month, I've been asked that question even more than usual.

Here's how things are going

You know what? The writing's going well. As of right now, I've written more than 45,000 words of a new novel and have every intention of hitting the goal of 50k before the end of the day on Monday. It's my first time doing NaNoWriMo, and I'm going to finish. I have written every day this month. I am intensely proud of that.

I will also be intensely happy when December 1st rolls around, not because I intend to stop writing, but because I can stop putting so much pressure on myself to get a certain number of words written every day.

Some days, the words pour out like I've sat down at the desk and turned on a faucet. There's one character in particular that I originally thought would be a sort of side character, but she's rushed on and stolen the show. Ironically, she's the person I would have originally pegged as the antagonist. So I'm continuing to explore her and what makes her do the crappy things she does, and it's interesting and fun.

Here's how things are going

I'm remembering why I write.

I write because I think I'm reasonably good at it, and I don't think there's anything wrong with acknowledging that you're good at something. I still manage to write horrible, ridiculous piles of crap now and then (like most writers), but sometimes what I write is actually good. If I didn't think so, then I certainly wouldn't be showing my words to anyone, or be working full-time as a writer.

I also write because it makes me happy. I feel physically anxious and nervous when I'm not writing fiction on a regular basis.

But those aren't the main reasons I write.

Mostly, I write because I see something about the world -- or society, or human behavior, or the law -- that I hate. Something that pisses me right off. And rather than writing a blog-style rant about it that might get a couple hundred people to look at it one day, start seven arguments on my Facebook wall, and generally make me feel both happy and sad that I ever said anything at all, I write about it in fiction.

Here's how things are going

I'm writing a novel about the death penalty. About wrongfully convicted prisoners. About the brokenness of the American justice system. About how easy it is to get false confessions. About a police force that has plenty of people who want to do the right thing, but are incentivized in a way that makes it almost impossible for them to know what the right thing is. As I heard a detective say in an episode of Suits last night, "Sometimes  good guys gotta do bad things to make the bad guys pay." That seems to be the gist of it.

Have you listened to the Serial podcast or any of the follow-ups? I'm a little bit obsessed. I'm obsessed not just at the idea that Adnan Syed might actually go free because of all the evidence they're turning up to show his case was mishandled, but I'm excited that history is being made right in front of us. The surge of people willing to fight for justice, willing to march in Black Lives Matter rallies, willing to call out hypocrisy and racism on social media rather than staying silent -- I firmly believe that we are in a new civil rights movement. People are standing up for what they believe in in new and powerful ways.

That's what I want to do. A little something about it. I have often quoted James Miller, my MFA dissertation supervisor, when he said, "A successful writer needs three things: talent, determination, and rage."

I'm fully convinced that's true. So I've kicked aside other novel ideas in favor of this one, the one that makes me angry, the one that I feel needs to be talked about. And it's going well, thank goodness.

So that's how things are going with me. Now, how are they going with you?