Right now I have two distinct projects going on. I’ve been working on a short story for quite some time, and I have begun the editing of my NaNo novel. I added about 500 words to my short story today, and worked out some kinks that have been bothering me, so I feel good about that, and feel like the project is back on track. I’m nearing the end of the story now, so soon I will get to edit it and put it together and see if it comes together the way I want it to.
As for the NaNo novel, I finished it in November and was truly proud of the work I put into it. As I was afraid might happen, I spent November in the bliss of an amazing writing zone where I couldn’t have been stopped by an attack of feral cats. I put it away, vowing to take it out in January to begin the re-writing process. The holidays came, I got lazy. I fell out of my routines. January first came and went and I looked at my manuscript with wary eyes, not wanting to begin the work. I was afraid. I was afraid it was awful. I was afraid the reality was nothing like what I’d hoped to accomplish during those days and nights, mostly nights, spent in a crazed writing frenzy. I printed it. I fiddled with it, I touched the pages. I didn’t work on it. I picked it up, I marked through some words with a red pen and wrote a few words in. I put it down. I couldn’t seem to get started.
I decided I want this book done by the end of summer. It needs a lot of work, but it can be done. I’m attached to this work. I like the story that unfolds on the pages. I post updates about it on my Facebook page, now there is no going back. Now that I have chosen this life of a writer, I have to embrace it, and I have to do it. I can’t let fear stand in my way. I picked out a photo and played with the idea of promotional bookmarks. It seemed like a fun idea. I made the bookmarks. I let the project sit for a couple days and then I ordered some. I can’t not finish a book that I’ve already ordered promotional bookmarks for, now can I?
I sat down this morning with my computer and the manuscript along with a healthy dose of steely determination. I started going through the pages, adding here, taking away there. I heaved an enormous sigh of relief when I realized this work still has promise. It isn’t awful. I may have written it in a hurry, but I think that is proving to be a good thing. I didn’t over think it. I wrote while I was in the mindset to create. I didn’t have time to think, only to write with wild abandon. I believe it’s a method of writing I should apply from now on. My biggest problem is motivation. Procrastination. Now that the fun of NaNo is over, yes, they have resources for the “what next” months following November, but the thrill of the challenge is behind me. Wow I miss those NaNo word sprints on Twitter! I learned in November to silence the inner critic and let the creativity do the driving. It was freeing. Now I’m having to learn to let the inner critic come back out and do the hard work. I have to learn to do it on the same kind of schedule I used for NaNo. I need to edit a certain number of pages a day. I need to have the second draft finished by a certain time and then be allowed to sit for a few weeks before going at it again. The fun may be in the creation, but being a writer means being willing to do the tough work that comes next. I could write a thousand first drafts and never amount to anything as a writer, or I could write a handful of meaningful stories and work to make them the best they can be. I choose the latter.
It may seem like slow going right now, but I’m writing. Both of my projects are growing up and I’m proud of them. I’ll keep you posted on their progress!