I just turned in the second of two nonfiction projects due this month.
Oh, happy day!
Don’t get me wrong, I do enjoy nonfiction.
I love the research and
the learning and
the challenge of distilling all that information for young readers.
But right now I’m happy happy happy
knowing that I’m (temporarily, at least) going back
where it is not necessary to footnote every single sentence.
Fiction: where it’s all about making up shit.
Be still, my heart.
I’m using Scrivener for the YA I’m revising and even with all its bells and whistles, sometimes I feel a bit like Bartleby. Obviously, that’s a stretch since that poor dude had to laboriously hand copy legal documents while I’m using writing software and a printer. Still, it feels like forever that I’ve been hunched over this novel, painstakingly revising each chapter.
The good news: I’m (mostly) enjoying the process and have not yet proclaimed “I would prefer not to.” Also? I haven’t alienated everyone around me and am not sleeping in a doorway.
Around these parts, we call that a WIN.
Waiting for feedback on revisions of funny boy book.
Feeling good about the changes that make it a stronger book.
Rather than obsessively peeking at that ms again
I read my second middle grade. Again.
Decided I love that book too much to let it die.
Hear that, universe?
Close to Home deserves a publishing home
and I’m not giving up on it.
I have no idea what any of this means except that
it feels good to have positive feelings about one’s writing.
Now and again.
Because I know all too well how that pendulum swings the other way.
But as of this moment, the pendulum and I are on the upswing.
Today I finished reading through my manuscript and inserting notations.
I’m ready to tackle revisions.
This makes me very happy.
I went to YouTube and plugged in "happiness."
This is what popped (hopped?) up: Happiness by Goldfrapp.
Today I finally sat down and worked with the MG I want to revise. For the past almost two months I took notes as ideas percolated but I knew better than to touch the manuscript for fear of making BlearyBrain-induced mistakes.
I kept wondering if I was finally ready to get out the pen and scissors, and as the days passed without touching the ms I began to think I’d never screw up the courage to give it another try.
But today I tried and it felt good. The revisions are going to be lots of work but I’m confident I can do the job. And the best part is I still love the story. It’s good. And when I’m done, it’s going to be even better.
The miracle of revision.
I’ve written every single day for the past 36 days. And with just a couple exceptions (several days when I tinkered – over and over – with the final pages of my draft), each day I wrote 1000 words.
This new disciplined approach to my writing process has been a pleasant surprise.
It’s easier slipping into the flow.
The words come more easily.
The nasty inner critic’s voice is fading.
I’m not feeling nearly the angst and envy that dogged me this spring and early summer.
My writing muscles are stronger. Leaner.
I really and truly feel like a writer.
It finally hit me that it’s now or never time. I’m forty-five, and if I want a career as a writer I need to work at it. Every day. I can’t afford to take days off and allow my muscles to atrophy. I have to keep writing so the stories are fresh in my mind, the characters living and breathing alongside me. I have to be there for them. Every day.
As of this morning I have 5000 words of my new project which, when completed, will be my fifth novel. I like the sound of that: My fifth novel.
I’m a writer and I write novels.
I’m working on my fifth.
I’m in the home stretch on this draft of my WIP. I’ve written at least 1000 words every day for the past 22 days which makes my heart go pitty-pat. Or something like that. Oh drat. An unintentional rhyme.
Not only do I feel better about myself as Writer but I think Zippy, Wildebeest, and Zebu have a different perspective now, too. They ask if I’ve done my words for the day and are very respectful of my Writing – Please Do Not Disturb sign on my door. It’s so much easier for me to write when I do it on a daily basis; the continuity definitely lubricates my brain. Plus, I make sure to start each session with my figure eights so as to kick-start my left and right brains.
Apologies if I sound a bit evangelical it’s just that it feels good. And for far too long, it wasn’t feeling good.
Note: This morning the critic started up in my brain so I rephrased the criticism in R’s raspy voice and LAUGHED. I swear, R’s given me the best damned gift!
If you haven’t done your writing today, please make the time to get it done. Set a realistic goal and do it! You’ll feel good, I promise.
Last night Zippy and I, the temporarily childless couple, went to the Denver Botanic Gardens to hear Loudon Wainwright III and Richard Thompson play. The evening was perfect. Dinner and a bottle of wine on the lawn as we listened to two extremely gifted songwriters pour out their hearts. I laughed and I cried. Loudon was coerced into performing The Acid Song (oh happy day!) and Richard sang Walking On a Wire (a song he wrote when he and his former wife/singing partner, Linda Thompson, were splitting up; Linda sang it on their album so I’ve never heard him sing it). Wow.
Earlier in the week, R’s nurse and I were discussing the frustrations of trying to get R to drink some stuff he needed to drink before having a procedure he’d agreed to have done. R was in rare form and had dug in his heels. Big time. He complained about what he couldn’t do and complained about what he wanted to do but refused to take any action that would alleviate his complaints. It was infuriating. The nurse told me she’d worked with him on a previous hospital stay and that R kind of cracked her up. I told her she had a great attitude but that his contrariness was making me want to bang my head against a wall. She said, “Don’t do that. Then you’ll have a headache AND a pain in the ass.” That really made me laugh (I was tired!) and I felt so much better. Nurses are the best.
I’ve been disciplined about my writing goals this week and hit my word count five days in a row! I’m realizing how important it is for me to establish a routine and stick to it. And yes, I’ve had this realization before and then lost sight of it along the way so I’ll probably be back here in another few months saying, “You know? It’s really helpful when I set a word count goal and then hold myself accountable to it each and every day!” Feel free to laugh when that happens.
My other cool writing-related development is that I have a new technique for handling my inner critic. Lately I’ve really been plagued with negative thinking whispered in my ear by that horrid inner creature. I guess William Faulkner’s off drinking or having sex or something because he’s not doing a very good job watching my back right now. But that’s okay because I now have an actual voice to put to that inner critic. And that voice is………………R’s voice! That’s right, folks. Whatever nastiness starts echoing in my head (You know, Tracy, this isn’t very good. No one’s going to want to read this.), I repeat aloud in R’s rasping whisper. And then I laugh! And keep writing! I totally recommend this method for thwarting your critic. Not everyone is as fortunate as me in having a near-constant negative person in my life who complains about everything in a very unique voice (his vocal chords were damaged years ago) but I’m sure you could use your father-in-law’s voice or that nosy neighbor’s or the twit at the bank the other day. Try it, you’ll like it!
Wishing everyone a glorious weekend.
I’ve fallen WAY behind on updating my word count but am so pleased with my progress that I just had to share:
I think I’ve definitely established a writing habit. I set a goal of 400 words per day but usually write a few more EVERY SINGLE DAY! (Well, I didn’t write one day this week but I did story mapping so I was working. Really. Truly).
How’s everyone else doing with their goals?
Don’t be afraid,
It’s how genitalia was made
Testes in a sac
Testes in a sac.
Guys need a scrotum
How else they gonna tote ‘em?
Testes in a sac
Testes in a sac.
Some words are truly scary
Like a ball bag, big and hairy
Not testes in a sac
Testes in a sac.
Embrace your inner scrote
And be happy the book was wrote
Testes in a sac
Testes in a sac.
, for the poetry challenge. I’ve grown quite fond of the word "scrotum."
Learned some more about my main character last night and went back this afternoon to fill in gaps. It was a fun process today!