By Lauren Baratz-Logsted
Some writers make an annual rite of doing NaNo in November. Some make New Year's Eve resolutions to start a new book the next day, much like others resolve to lose that last 10 pounds. Me, I get a little crazy in March.
The first time I engaged in my own version of March Madness was in 2004. I got an idea for a novel about a writer who, after living out in L.A. for 10-ish years, returns to Danbury, CT, to care for her ailing father. Once home, she meets a charismatic window washer who may or may not be Zorro. The book was to be a seriocomic contemporary re-visioning of The Great Gatsby. I was so in love with my own creation - the Zorro character, at least - that I whipped through the first draft in 24 days. March wasn't even over and already I had a book - the fastest in my life that I'd ever completed my stupid pet trick of writing a novel. Of course, I didn't sell or publish it right away. Instead, it remained on my hard drive for years as I went through several rounds of revisions on it. Finally, I released that book last year as Z: A Novel.
In succeeding years, March became my go-to month for manic productivity. Last year during that month, I wrote the first draft of a middle grade novel about a Dennis the Menace type character who misundestands a conversation his family has about him, leading to disastrous - and hopefully funny - results. That book was Robbie Knightley.
I'm not much given to introspection about this quirky spring habit of mine. I mean, really, when you think about it, it makes no sense. January and February are more traditionally cold months where I live in CT. Common semse dictates that's when I should hole up and ignore the world. But March? March is when I should be outside enjoying the early warm days, the later sunsets, and cracking open the first bottles of the season of Prosecco. OK, I still do that last part, no matter what, meaning as soon as I hit Publish on this piece, well, you know where I'll be. But mostly this month will find me shackled to my computer, trying to squeeze as much creative work as I can out of my brain and my heart.
I think now, as I write this, that it isn't March at all that prompts this in me. Rather, it's the impending advent of summer. Before too many days pass - days that speed by more quickly with each year I spend on this swiftly tilting planet - summer will start rushing at me with alarming speed. Summer means my daughter being off from school. One of the nice things about having kids later is that you appreciate how little time you actually get with them living under your roof; how, before you can blink, they'll be off living on their own. So I guess I write faster in March so that maybe, maybe, when summer comes, I can work just a little less.
So how about you: Is there any month that seems to be your most productive? Or, whether writing or something else, got any March Madness indulgences to confess?
Be well. Don't forget to write.
Lauren Baratz-Logsted is the author of 31 books for adults, teens and children. You can read more about her life and books at www.laurenbaratzlogsted.com or follow her on Twitter @LaurenBaratzL