Yes, it has been 200 posts already, which means that I have published just over 1 post every 2 days for just over a year, which is kind of astounding to me. Thank you to everybody who’s followed me thus far; I hope you’ve enjoyed at least a few of those 200 posts, and I hope you’ll stick around for more!
So a few cool things happened yesterday: I did manage to finish Revision Round 1 of Tallulah in the morning – I use the word in the most technical sense, as it was around 3:40am when I finally wrapped it up – and ended up cutting around 40k words, which puts me down at 86k (and 1) full told, which is much more YA-friendly if I intend to promote it as such (which pragmatically speaking I maybe should). Now there’s nothing left to do but read it, and then probably let it sit for a while before coming back and reading it again. I would love to have a second draft done by Christmas, but it depends on what this revision suggests I need to do from this point moving forward. If a full rewrite by Christmas isn’t an option, well, there’s always my Christmas-themed novel for me to finally get around to revising the first draft of.
But yay, I accomplished a goal! And Wicked’s closing night for the New Zealand season was a lovely way to celebrate, although I must remember to not sit up above the action for the next live show. Stalls or nothing from this moment on, unless there’s a really good reason for it. (Like money, which was the main reason this time.) But I had wanted to be a part of this particular milestone ever since I saw the show the first time, and I am very glad that I did so, even if the seating could have been better. And I also saw a not-quite-live broadcast of Kenneth Branagh’s Macbeth at the Rialto cinema beforehand, so it was a very theatrical day all around.
Now I’m sort of in the lurch, waiting to hear back about possible study options for next year and mentally preparing myself to mentally prepare myself for the prospect of having to go look for a job like a normal person, or at least a normal person before the recession. If I don’t get into Summer School then my options are to apply for the student hardship allowance thingy, which is basically just the unemployment benefit for tertiary students, or to find a job. Or I guess to rob a bank, but while it’s nice to have options, I’d rather not be writing my novel from prison. I feel it gives off the wrong impression.
There is quite a bit of Life Stuff going on at the moment, which is rather nice in the sense that it feels like a big paradigm shift is coming, the only downside to this being that, being very habituated to anxiety, the idea of a paradigm shift freaks me out a bit. More than a bit, if I stop to think about it seriously, and the frustrating thing is that I don’t actually seem to be able to take it seriously. That or I just don’t care, which I don’t think is true at all. I’m just a bit of a mess in that sense I guess. I may need to take a personal day and get these feelings aired.
Because I feel that through the other side of the anxiety, I do actually want a big change. Or maybe not a big change, just a significant one. I feel the past two years have been leading up to it: working on Tallulah for most of last year very intensively gave me a huge shift in perspective and boost to self-esteem as well as self-awareness, and going back to university this year made me feel like ‘putting myself out there’, actually looking to the future and considering what it is that I can do, and how that might intersect with what I want to do.
And one of those things is what to do with this blog.
This is an issue that has come up before, and I really do want to follow through, almost more for the challenge than anything else – can I give this blog a bit more structure and persist with it? Do I have the stamina? The follow-through? I think I do. It’s just a matter of having to use it.
I feel like there are more ways to Write about Writing than just having a confessional status update every few days regarding where I’m at, both personally and with my writing, and I want to explore some of those. I really want to do something generative for you guys too, because at the end of the day this is kind of meant to be a resource for aspiring writers, as well as anybody who is just curious as to what exactly goes on in a writer’s mind while they’re on the job, and in my case not being paid for it or held to a deadline by anybody but myself. I’m not sure if anybody other than another writer would find that interesting, but it’s here just in case.
I guess really I just want to look for new ways to apply myself and take those opportunities, because that’s what’s been happening with me since I started focusing on Tallulah. My limits have been stretched in ways I never considered, and have also come into sharp relief for me in the areas where I’m still rather inflexible, to say the least. And there’s nothing I can do about it now. This is what happens when you try something: you get so much more done than just that one thing, whether you like it or not. I would not trade it for anything. I just want to keep going.
And to that end – I really do need to decide what to do with this revision, now that it’s done.
The plan seems like a good place to start, at least. The plan was to pretty much just keep going, take no breaks, because this revision was never meant to be the ‘actual’ goal – the goal was to have the revision done in like a week so that I could then take that revision and see how suitable it was for use as a foundation for a proper Draft 2, a full rewrite, or as full as necessary. Quickly over and done with to build up some momentum for said rewrite, to open the floodgates for my new, fresh ideas to spew forth from in a torrent of inspired novelty.
That, of course, did not pan out, and I ended up not really liking the feel of those new ideas taking up residence in my manuscript, even if the contents of that manuscript were being tossed around and rearranged to tell a somewhat different story anyway. So the plan doesn’t quite cut it anymore in those terms – what was once a clear next step is now looking like a rotten gangplank between two rooftops. That might just be the result of a bad paint-job, but I’m not too keen to risk the use of my legs to find out.
Analogies aside (and thankfully writing is not quite as life-or-death as falling off a building, at least in and of itself), I have to decide whether to ‘force’ some momentum here by heading right in as though it had only taken me a few days to complete this task and then see what ideas it fires off, and go back to taking notes and drawing up plans of attack and trying to decide if I’m really the right person to be writing my own story because it feels like somebody else would understand better how to put all of my ideas together in a coherent sequence that people might actually want to read, or to take a week or two to focus on other things instead, get some distance first.
Just writing that makes me think that jumping right in and ‘forcing’ the momentum is the best option. This is the closest I’ve felt to this story in a long time, and the first time I’ve had the opportunity to feel close for the last four months; I think it would be kind of stupid to miss out on it.
And after my read-through, then I may well take a week or two off, just to get some critical distance, read all of those Book Depository books I’ve ordered and the two books I’ve borrowed from friends and have yet to read, see how much of my stupid YA thing I can power my way through in 14 days (and how insipidly corny I can make it), rewrite a bunch of fairytales because they’re public domain and I kind of wanna write some fanfic, go to the beach for the first time in like 3 years, do some gardening because the Council has told us we need to tidy it up or they’ll charge us a crapton of money to get some Council person to do it, get serious about diet/exercise again and make it last longer than 2 weeks this time, before coming back and reading it again with considerably less self-consciousness, hopefully, and go from there. Having cut out about 40k words does actually make me feel like reading it more.
So … yeah. I’m glad I set myself an arbitrary goal to meet, because it ended up having all sorts of run-on effects, such as momentum and enthusiasm to keep going. I shall start reading tomorrow. Which is also the last day I get Student Allowance money, so I really hope I hear back about Summer School soon …
But in the meantime, thanks again to everybody who’s stuck around for this past year, and I hope you will all stick around for another.
Now go forth, and write!