I like it, I really like it

[Update on Please don’t be dead . . . my laptop isn’t zombie-infested ! When I called to verify the computer doc was open for business, he asked a couple questions, then diagnosed and prescribed treatment over the phone . All is well!]

In other good news: after letting my manuscript sit for 10 days, this afternoon I read it in one sitting and am very pleased with the draft. My work-in-progress has good bones AND most of the flesh on those bones is also good. There’s still much work to be done, but the middle-grade story is definitely much closer to my vision.

How did I know it was time to read and get back to work? When I shut off the light to go to sleep last night and then moments later, turned on the light again in order to jot a revision note to myself. Up until then I hadn’t thought about my novel at all.

But I’m now back in the thick of things and it feels quite nice.

Goal met!

As mentioned here (and here and here), I set a goal to finish another draft of my middle grade novel by June 30th. Today is that day and I’m pleased to report I just placed an order to have the manuscript printed and bound!

Image by Febri Amar from Pixabay

To be clear, this is NOT a photo of me. I don’t have mad hops, not even on my best days, and right now I’m too tuckered to leap anywhere except possibly onto the couch. Rest assured, though, my inner Tracy is currently jumping for joy.

Hooray for setting and meeting personal goals!

Choose your challenge

At this point, I’m not sure which is more difficult: a flat-out sprint on a narrow wire suspended many feet above the ground

 

 

 

 

or successfully and seamlessly including all desired character and plot elements in this draft I’m committed to finishing by June 30.

The pressure comes from knowing I’m going to print and bind this draft and that it’ll be much easier to work on it if all elements are already included. The thing is, I’m probably being too ambitious because there’s SO MUCH going on with this subject matter that I’m trying to include. But at this point, I’m inserting stuff as placeholders with the knowledge that some (most?) will get cut farther along in the process.

Anyway, that power line challenge looks pretty appealing right now.

Writing space

My self-imposed June 30th deadline is fast approaching and today I chose to write in a different location. Specifically, the driveway. More specifically, the great white campervan known as Moby.

Temporary set-up as we wait to have a van conversion company pop Moby’s top.

I did that for a couple reasons. One, I really wish I was off camping somewhere and working inside the comfort of Moby felt like the next best thing. And two, the WiFi connection is iffy inside the van which meant I couldn’t procrastinate by going online.

I’m pleased to say I got much work done, not so much word count as layering in  plot/character stuff. Some of that happened after I woke from a short nap and had an immediate epiphany about how the story’s pieces fit together. I love me some epiphanies!

Writing a novel is like riding a rollercoaster of emotions that can change in a flash (this sucks this is great I can’t do this I’m almost there I hate these characters so much I’m gonna drive them all off a cliff), but in this particular moment–the right here, right now– my arms are raised in triumph as the car roars along the tracks and I scream WOOHOO!

This draft might possibly be quite solid.  🙂

Then and now

I drove Zebu to the airport this afternoon and hugged him goodbye, a parting made easier with the knowledge he’s happy to return to his new home and life in Seattle. After driving the 40 minutes back here, I resumed drafting a new scene in my work-in-progress I’ve neglected for the past four days. The scene is bumpy, but I keep reminding myself it’s impossible to revise a blank page which means ugly writing is better than no writing. I’ve set a goal to finish this draft by June 30 and then will reward myself with a printed and bound copy of the draft.

“June 30th” is my new mantra and it’s pulling me through some rough patches as I write this book. Two years ago today I was camping and photographing birds, without any notion of this latest middle grade novel.

Dark-eyed Junco, State Forest State Park. June 12, 2019

Then again, maybe the story was already beginning to simmer and I just didn’t know it. Either way, I will honor my commitment and finish this draft by June 30. I owe it to myself and the characters.

Walking that fine line

Photo by Kindel Media from Pexels

You have to believe in yourself. But you know what? There’s a fine line between believing in yourself and being delusional.  ~ Mick Foley

Lately, the nasty voice in my head is firmly on the side of “delusional” and it’s getting harder and harder to believe in myself.

Wonder if it’s too late to pivot toward professional wrestling.

Mopping up

This afternoon I finally did something I’ve been meaning to do for months: I mopped our family room/kitchen/dining room floor. I put on Led Zeppelin–loud–and got to work. The music energized me and I kinda, sorta had fun, which made me think of former neighbors (mother and teen daughter) who used to put on Neil Diamond to get pumped up for cleaning. I always thought that was so funny.  I mean, “I Am . . . I Said”?! “Song Sung Blue”?! I’ll take “When the Levee Breaks” any cleaning day. Or non-cleaning day, for that matter.

Image by Eszter Hornyai from Pixabay

So, what’s the deal with this dog? Well, I went to Pixabay in search of a “mop” image and this popped up. Not sure how this adorable face is related to mopping, but I couldn’t resist. Maybe this pug knew I was about to make unkind remarks about Neil Diamond and my neighbors’ musical tastes, something that should be off-limits. After all, I’m a writer hoping to get my fiction published and I know all too well that taste is subjective.

I only hope Mops the Pug can forgive me.

Epiphany

I recently accepted a work-for-hire assignment with a low word count and remembered all over again how those word counts can be a blessing and a curse. Yesterday, it felt like the latter as I struggled to figure out how to say what needed to be said without going over the chapter word limit. Today I didn’t even have the enthusiasm to open the project and instead opted to do some much needed spring cleaning. (Who am I?!) When I finished mopping, I took a shower.

Image by Fifaliana Joy from Pixabay

Epiphany!

As is often the case with knotty writing issues, something about standing under the water allowed me to see the path forward. I now know exactly how to handle that info in a way that does not violate the word count limit. Tomorrow I shall resume work.

Here comes the sun

It’s gray and gloomy out my window, as it’s been for much of the past several days. But I just finished writing for the day and am treating myself to these cheery tulips which warm my soul. They can almost pass for a row of little, petaled suns.

May 11, 2021

Here’s hoping for blue skies tomorrow, even if only for a few minutes. Until then, I have my sunshine-y tulips.

No judgment

Cooper’s Hawk by Zippy. Sept 18, 2020

I’ve been driving the struggle bus lately and haven’t been disciplined about working on my latest book. In the past, I’d work hours and hours at a time on my projects, coming up for air only to discover it was late afternoon and that I’d done little else. These days, I don’t have that drive. Sometimes I’m at peace with this change. Other days, not so much; those critical voices can get pretty damned loud in my head.

Yesterday I realized it felt worse to not work on my book. So I opened the document and reworked a critical early scene between one major and one minor character. Page-wise, I didn’t make huge progress. But characterization and plot-wise, that little bit of work moved the revision forward in a significant manner. Plus, by taking action I was able to douse my angsty-guilty feelings. I hope to do the same today. However, whatever happens I’m going to try hard not to judge myself. It’s hard times on the planet and we all deserve some grace.