So it’s NOT writer’s block

Just a short one for today; I’m trying to get my monthly views back up to what they were earlier this year because I am an incredibly needy and insecure person, but I found a quote from this interview, which I looked up because I loved the quote, and just thought I’d share it with y’all.

When you feel unable to write, instead of trying some behavioral approach, like forcing yourself to write every day, consider instead trying to figure out who in your past has tried to silence you, and what liberation there might be in telling them to go fuck themselves – which is what the act of writing is. I don’t know a single writer who didn’t feel significantly silenced in their youth, and it’s that early silencing, I’m convinced, that shuts some of us down. Most of us don’t fail to write because we have bad habits. We fail to write because we aren’t sure that we are entitled to. Figuring out if that’s true of you can be a big step. And then getting angry is the next healthy step. . . Then write something down.”

I’m going to try that today, because I know exactly who that person is for me and, consequently, exactly how liberating it would be to tell him to go fuck himself. Through doing so, I may also find that other people or experiences have silenced me as well, and that they are also ripe for being told to go fuck themselves. And I actually wonder if this is why I’m finding it so easy yet so personally confronting to write my werewolf thing, if that’s what I’m doing by writing it, and what’s coming out in my writing is all the stuff that I feel like I’m not allowed to say. I wonder what else I’ll discover I think I’m not allowed to say.

Writing is such fun.

Advertisements

Growing the pack

My YA werewolf impulse-writing project has grown to be just over 14k words in the space of exactly seven days, which is basically 2k words every day for the past week of creative writing. Not essays (which I have actually been – slightly – working on during that time), not blogs, not status updates on various social media platforms – creative writing.

It’s amazing what the right motivation can do for you.

In my case, said motivation came from a combination of being excited at how awesome it was to spend all day writing on the first day, for the first time in years, the thought that I might actually have found a project that I’d be motivated to see through to completion while Tallulah continues to be something I’m struggling with, my recent fascination with werewolves as a storytelling premise, and the fact that Teen Wolf is both very watchable and kinda shit.

I mean not to devolve into a rant about a TV show I found on Netflix NZ, which is like real Netflix only about a billion times shittier, but seriously, I was enjoying myself during the first seasons, which was generic and predictable but at least it was satisfying. And then the second seasons rolls around and it’s like the writers just couldn’t think of anything for about 60 percent of the main characters to do so they literally just removed their personalities, bumped up the roles of some of the supporting characters (not a bad decision, I like a lot of them), throw in a few new characters who by and large are not even remotely interesting or important to the story, and then end the seasons with what looks to be a really huge, exciting development with one of the main characters only to cut them out of the fucking show from season three onwards. It didn’t help that the character in question was one of my two favourites. (Jackson, for anybody else who watches or used to watch this infuriating program.)

I only really started watching Teen Wolf because I’d come off Wolves and Ginger Snaps and was interested to see how films treat werewolves. Media in general I guess, but movies in particular because werewolves are all about the transformation. And I have to say, as painful as it is to have to live with some of the choices I’ve made in this zero draft I’m currently writing the shit out of and having a blast doing it, they’re at least kinda solid and coherent because they’re really generic. Teen Wolf was exactly that in season one and it worked really well, and then in season two they got really weird, and now I just don’t know if I can bear watching season three. I’m starting to remember why I stopped watching television as well: because it’s serialised, it’s written in such a way that it drags things out for as long as possible, less for the purpose of storytelling than making money, and while some shows disguise it better than others, when they don’t it’s just infuriating. Teen Wolf is starting to feel like that. As many issues as I have with Game of Thrones, at least I know it’s going to end with season seven.

It had better fucking end with season seven.

All of this is making me reflect on my own storytelling habits, as they are manifesting in my writing this werewolf thing: it wasn’t planned, it wasn’t prepared in any way; I just saw a couple of werewolf movies and The Maze Runner and thought: “You know what might be fun? Ripping off these things that have given me two hours of entertainment apiece”, and so I did that, and it was fun and has remained so up to this point. And as a result, I’m running headlong into brick walls and, granted, I am actively trying to avoid planning as much as possible, just to test myself – my storytelling reflexes, I guess – but at the same time I’m finding that it’s hard to keep things both interesting and coherent. It’s making me wonder who I’m trying to keep interested: a hypothetical reader, or myself? Because if it’s just myself, it might be easier, but it might also be more mortifying to see what I actually find interesting. At least in this context of writing as fast and as much as I can without going back and editing things, while simultaneously trying to create an intelligible narrative that is actually entertaining.

It’s an experiment anyway; what does it matter if it turns out being shit?

Well, aside from the fact that I’d actually like this thing to be good. And by “good” I really just mean that it makes sense as a story. I’m trying not to worry about being offensive or anything, because having to rely on whatever storytelling tropes spring to mind as I write a full-blast is bound to end up being highly problematic. I’m trying to see how fast I can go while still putting together an end product that holds itself together in a way that feels solid and coherent. I just want to see how far I can get; and I want to get to the end.

On the other hand, I also do want it to be good, and at the moment it’s not the kind of story I’d permit myself to write normally. And if I end up writing the whole thing without worrying about the problematic elements that are bound to arise – and have already well and truly arisen – then that’s an entire story I have to backtrack through in order to fix if I want to give it my seal of moral and political approval, in which case I may as well make things easier for myself and start writing it with a bit more consideration.

But, then again, I don’t actually like this specific idea enough to do that, either. I could think of it differently, like a really stereotypical author-insert fanfic, only not based on anything specific. The closest thing would be Teen Wolf, and honestly I do not want to write fanfic of that show, however much I may have enjoyed season one. Because this isn’t a premise I’m particularly attached to, maybe it’s okay that it’s basically destined to be tossed in the garbage at the end of the day. And who knows? Maybe it’ll surprise me.

Ultimately, I’m writing, and writing a lot, and I’m enjoying it. I do feel a bit like everything else in my life is screeching to a halt, but it’s not because I’m writing this story. This story is one of the only things keeping my spirits up right now. Though that maybe because I spent all day today watching Teen Wolf season two, which as I’ve been saying I was not exactly thrilled with, and it took up my whole damn day.

Maybe I just need a hard reset tomorrow; go out and get some fresh air or something. I did go for a bike ride today, and felt at least morally healthier for doing so. A testament to the strength of my convictions.

I’m pretty convicted about finishing this werewolf thing, too, so I want to do that. And it’s the writing it that I like, not so much the thing itself. I really just want to write it so that I can prove that I can write something, fast, and make it solid. I’m hoping that it’ll reconnect me to my passion, if I can accomplish this admittedly very impulsive task. So it doesn’t really matter how embarrassed I’d be to put my name to this project as a story. It’s about how awesome it would feel to be able to say that I wrote an 80k novel – zero draft – in a month. Which is what I want to do. And it seems like I’m doing it.

I guess that’s okay then.

Teh writingz

Between Monday and two minutes ago, I have written over 10k words of my incredibly impulsive and vaguely-original werewolf project. Just gotta do that 8 more times and I’ll have a YA novel.

I’m having fun.

It’s just so easy to write this thing. I’m not reading over it as I go; I’m not self-consciously editing and censoring myself was I write whatever crap spills out of my head; I’m actually following some form of progression that seems like a coherent narrative … it’s amazing. It’s sooo generic in a lot of ways, not just in the sense of being predictable as a story but predictable as a YA novel, right down to the conflicts that are shut down almost as soon as they arise (BUT NOT REALLY) (even now I am plotting to torture my characters into madness) and characters whose existence is such blatant wish-fulfillment it makes Mr Darcy look subtle and nuanced.

And I don’t care.

Because it’s getting written, and it’s getting written fast. I could actually finish this damn thing in less than a month, and it would have structure and plot and coherence and oh my GOD this is so AWESOME

I really, really want this to work, because it’s working so well. It’s exciting. If I actually end up following this through to completion – hell, if I double my current word-count – I may even actually consider, like, revising it and even submitting it for publishing. It probably won’t get picked up, considering how saturated the werewolves-in-paranormal-literature market is, but I may well self-publish it or something.

This is fun! This is exciting.

Werewolves, of all things. I always wanted to write about werewolves. And now I am, and I’m enjoying it.

Guess I’ll keep doing it.

All day every day

Well, not every day, but I basically spent the entirety of today just writing.

And it was fucking awesome.

I got started writing something because I felt inspired to write, and I kept going. Not only that, but I finished it – not a whole story, obviously, but the first chapter of a new story. Over 6k words. And it had an arc, a little internal progression; sure it could be better, a lot better, but it’s clear, it’s solid, it’s a foundation that works.

I wrote a story all damn day, and my god I needed it. I feel fucking amazing.

Werewolves. Who would have thought?

The best part is that, if I decide that I don’t want to use this particular story anymore, it will work really well with one of my other story ideas, one of the ones that I couldn’t think of a way to get started on. So that’s 6k words in one day … theoretically – and I’m not going to do it, for obvious reasons – but theoretically, if I did that for the next nine days, I’d have a 60k draft of a novel at the end of it. I would love to do that. I can’t because I have to study and shit, but I can do some every day. And I even have enough of a plot to plan out what to write next. And I’m excited to write it. All of this because I watched The Maze Runner and a shitty werewolf movie with Jason Momoa in it – just goes to show what can happen if you let yourself do the things you want to do.

I may not be a writer anymore. But I fucking love writing.

 

WWW: boys gone wild

I just re-ignited my guilty passion for YA novel-to-film adaptations by finally getting around to watching The Maze Runner. Throw into the mix a truly political-sensibilities-confusing werewolf movie with Jason Momoa called, originally enough, Wolveswritten and directed by David Hayter, of all people – and I’ve just had a really weird private renaissance: I want to write stories with male lead characters again.

I haven’t felt this way in, I dunno, a year? I’ve just started reading Tomorrow When The War Began, which I’ve heard is both an example of a male writer getting female characters right and an example of a male writer getting female characters wrong, but regardless is an example of a male writer writing almost exclusively lead female characters in all of his work, and I don’t think I want to be That Guy. Also, it’s been dawning on me over the past year or so that I really have written guys off as something of a stereotype, and as somebody who (supposedly) has faith in humanity and (definitely) does not condone stereotyping, I guess I should look into that.

And all of this has manifested itself in a desire to do something I haven’t done for a long, long time: to write something that won’t ever get finished.

This is not, technically, a thing that I’ve ever liked doing, but there are certain times when you see or read something that you just really want to blatantly copy, and so you set out to do it, and in the process of writing you end up info-dumping a lot just to keep yourself on-track but it bogs down the writing and slows the pace and in the end you can’t stand looking at it anymore. It’s something that I’ve stopped myself from doing for the past … possibly my entire adult life, actually. Well, my entire 20s. I stopped myself on the principle that energy spent on an unfinished project is wasted energy.

I now realise that this is absolute fucking bullshit.

Energy spent doing something you want to do is never wasted. Energy spent writing a story that you just so happen to never finish is also never wasted, because not only did you want to do it at the time, but at some point further down the line you might come back to it and realise that, actually, there’s some not-too-bad ideas in there that you could use somewhere else, or even the entire unfinished project. It gets the mind working, it sates your current urge to write that thing you want to write, and it sets you up in the long-run – it’s drafting. And drafting is always good.

So today I’m going to indulge in this old, familiar compulsion to write something that I kinda know isn’t going to “go anywhere” right now, but that maybe I’ll come back to and find is worth following through with later on down the track.

And I’m going to circumvent my need to justify shit I made up on the fly and write it into the thing I’m writing by writing it here instead, thus also writing a blog post on this writing blog that actually has something to do with writing. Let’s see how it turns out.

~~~

So, the first thing any good story needs is a premise.

Let’s start in the obvious place: the two movies that inspired me to write this post in the first place. We’ve got The Maze Runner, which is basically Lord of the Flies meets The Hunger Games only not as interesting as either (having not actually read Lord of the Flies I’m just giving it the benefit of the doubt here); and we’ve got Wolves, which is …

Not to devolve into a movie review, but Wolves simultaneously met and defied my expectations. I was expecting a really cheap, exploitative, hypermasculine power fantasy. What I got was an at least semi self-aware cheap, exploitative, hypermasculine power fantasy that honestly could have been far more sexist than I was expecting. There is a really weird sex scene that ends with both of the conventionally attractive teenage leads – who have chosen to get it on in a barn, literally rolling in the hay – turning into werewolves. We get all the expected camera panning over the woman’s naked body, and then suddenly she’s in this really cheesy full-body werewolf costume that is not even remotely sexy, and I have to admit that I at least appreciate the idea. It was a lot more subversive than what I was expecting.

But then there’s the straight-up exploitative stuff, like linking werewolves to rape culture and the big Alpha Wolf, played by Jason Momoa in a spectacularly too-good-for-this-film performance, having this backstory where he is the main dude’s father (which neither of them find out until halfway through the movie) through rape; but that’s subverted as well right at the end when he reveals that he told everybody he’d raped his lady-love in order to divert blame from her: her dad found out she was pregnant and threatened to kill her, so Jase offered himself up as bait to take the heat off her. I mean it doesn’t really make him any better of a person, as the plot of this movie basically revolves around trying to keep him from raping the lead female character because he wants a son, but there was some subversion, I guess? Maybe? Like not enough to redeem him but definitely interesting in terms of how the werewolf figure is used to explore gender roles and stereotypes?

But anyway enough of that: what does this give me in terms of a premise?

I could mush the two together. A bunch of adolescent/teenage boys who all happen to be werewolves are sent to a futuristic laboratory where they have to complete a series of tests for some reason?

Oh.

Oh my.

Oh I like this.

It’s horrible, and I really like it.

Without getting into too much detail – Vampire Academy meets Fight Club. 

Actually that crossover seems far more interesting than what I’m about to write but whatever.

Also that actually happens in VA I really should go back through that series and review it all the way through lots of interesting ideas there.

~~~

I just named my main character in this story about werewolves Tanner Wilde and I want to shoot myself.

~~~

Oh god, it’s happening already: exposition about nothing.

Does this ever happen to you? It must. It must happen to all writers. I’ve come full-circle: I used to believe that I was the only writer who ever had trouble staying on-track, and now I’d be mortally offended if there was even one single writer in existence who didn’t.

A common piece of writing advice is to start your book right in the middle of the action and then explain things later. You want that “hook”, the catchy bit of writing that draws the reader in and keeps them wanting more – sort of the counterpart to the cliffhanger ending, I guess.

Guess what common piece of writing advice I’m definitely not following?

Instead I’m taking this time to make my main character exposit on what it Really Means to be a teenager, something I find obnoxious whenever I read it and yet have, for some reason, elected to do myself.

Maybe I’ll just write “And then all the werewolves came and things got interesting” and go from there. Enough of this “character development” bullshit; this ain’t The Catcher in the Rye.

I hate that book so much.

~~~

Tanner Wilde’s friends are Troy and Deacon, because those are names that teenage boys can have. I understand teenage boys. I was one once, so you can’t argue with me. Teenage boys totally express themselves by comparing their stereotypical high school drama to adult drama with an air of mystery and awe. That’s all they do, actually. Bet you didn’t know that. But I do. Because I’m a writer.

I’m really feeling my age while writing this and I don’t like it. But I do prefer it to actually being a teenager, because holy fuck that was terrible. I’ll take a lack of authentic characterisation over a never-ending loop of self-loathing any day.

~~~

Troy and Deacon are now gone and therefore never existed to embarrass me by being the one responsible for creating them because this is a first draft and I am a writer.

~~~

Ah, un-examined misogyny. The cornerstone of heteronormative male identity.

When writing something on the spur of the moment, I often run into a dilemma with characterisation: I’ll often have an idea about how I can give my character a flaw, and run with it, and really like it. But then I’ll get really paranoid about being judged on what I’ve just written, and then immediately write some kind of disavowal as an extension of their characterisation. What ends up happening is that not only did I not trust myself to remember that, yes, this problematic character trait is meant to be problematic, but I also just killed any opportunity for character development further down the line. And I’m starting to think that this is probably a huge reason for why a lot of these spur-of-the-moment story ideas I follow through with never get written as full novels: because I don’t leave myself anywhere to go.

Here I’m already setting myself up for what could end up being a disaster: misogyny is a cornerstone of heteronormative male identity, and by setting up my main character to have it as a character flaw, I’m trusting myself to be knowledgeable enough about it in a moral sense that I’m capable of writing it well, as opposed to just making it even more offensive by the end of his character-arc. It’s a big ask, statistically and historically speaking. I probably wouldn’t trust another male writer if I heard them give this as a pitch. And on that logic, I’m not sure if I’m correct to trust myself. I think I am, but I’m me. I have a slight bias in that regard.

I guess if I ever do end up turning this into a novel, or incorporating it into one, I’ll find out.

~~~

Holy shit this potential first chapter actually has an arc in it, it’s so … refreshing. I rarely manage that. This is progress. Progress is good!

This was what worked about writing my other derivative YA thing: having a little mini-plot within each chapter, and once I ran out of those mini-plots I stopped writing it. This project will likely be the same, but for the moment I’m actually growing more interested in writing it the more I actually write it. I mean …

I might actually consider turning this one-off project into a full-blown novel attempt. It’s pretty enjoyable so far, and I can always flesh out the ideas a little more as I go along.

And hooooooooooooooly shit I just put a fucking love-triangle in this thing I am so ready to be a YA author so proud of myself for having overcome my compulsion to subvert every trope I come across and found the strength to play it straight for the sake of story well done Jason you magnificent normative bastard you

~~~

And hooooooooooooly shit I just came up with an entire plot I love it it’s so cliche it’s amazing

I mean okay maybe not an entire plot but enough to make an entire plot out of, key points and stuff. I’m on a roll!

I actually really hope I keep my enthusiasm for this project; it would be so fun to actually follow through with this and get it done super-fast. A mini Nanowrimo kinda thing; I can see this being a pretty short story, not even 80k words, and because it’s so simple … the possibilities!

~~~

FUCK BRAIN NO DON’T MAKE THIS INTERESTING IT’S SO CLICHE IT’S SO PURE DON’T MAKE IT INTERESTING

I think …

I think I managed to avoid it. I think I’m still a hack. I think so. But that was close. Too close …

~~~

After spending like an hour perusing a Goodreads list of werewolf books, I have discerned one thing: even though I’m not being remotely original, I am still bucking the trend. I’ll take it: results without effort are always welcome.

I have to say, I think werewolves are really interesting. When my PhD-writing friend finally gets some free time, the two of us are going to start co-writing a book about werewolves that I am really looking forward to. I just don’t think people trust werewolves to carry a premise on their own; they’re always seen as the cheap knockoff vampire, which we’ve build up to be this subject of endless fascination and mystery – not least because instead of turning into hairy man-beasts to reveal their “true nature” they’re sexy in a very creepy way all the time – and I think that’s just shallow.

Having said that, I don’t necessarily disagree that werewolves aren’t quite interesting enough to carry a whole story on their own, given the stories that currently exist about them. They’re either a kinky sex fantasy with even more consent issues than their blood-sucking rivals, or a very obvious allegory for masculinity – or, in the case of Ginger Snaps, which I am about to watch for the first time, going through puberty as a cisgender teenage girl. And there’s the whole turning-into-a-hairy-man-beast thing as well.

I think that last one is really what keeps werewolves from being quite as appealing as vampires; vampires can be sexy and horrifying all at once because they look like people, by and large. Werewolves are, at best, human-passing, and while there are plenty of narrative opportunities with the werewolf forced-transformation premise, it doesn’t do much for them in terms of sex appeal.

Hopefully.

I write that sentence and already know I’m wrong, and it makes me sad.

Also I just realised I named the two stereotypical douche bag jock characters James and Kirk IT’S NOT INTENTIONAL I SERIOUSLY ONLY NOTICED JUST NOW THIS IS NOT SUPPOSED TO BE COMMENTARY

~~~

Nooooooooo I’m having interesting ideas and thoughts of ways to make it interesting and now I can’t stop …

But I think I should focus on writing this thing properly, rather than dividing my attention between this blog, Goodreads lists and also writing. Today has been a success though, because I felt like writing and then actually followed through with it, and it feels great. More of this please. This works well.

Book reviews

I started writing my review/critique/essay on Vampire Academy in October 2013. It turns out I have a lot to say about Vampire Academy, and we’re just talking the first book. The later books, while they put right a lot of the things I thought were wrong in the first one, just aren’t as good. But after coming to terms with the sheer volume of my opinions on that first book alone, I’m thinking it might actually be worth going back and re-reading the entire series – once semester is over – and rather than writing a review/critique as such just kind of do a play-by-play as I read. Mostly because it’ll (theoretically) stop me from over-thinking and thus I’ll end up actually writing stuff.

I did say I was going to stop doing book reviews on this blog, but that was when I decided I was going to delete it once Tallulah was written. Now that’s looking very unlikely. This blog may not be exactly what I want it to be right now, but I’m learning that there’s actually no reason why it can’t be. There’s no reason why I can’t be a bit more intentional in the way I run it – like actually drafting posts before posting them, which I think I’ve maybe done ten times in total in the four years I’ve been a blogger – and turn it into something I’m really proud of.

And I think, whatever I do with the rest of the series, my review/critique/essay of Vampire Academy is going to be the start of that.

There’s a lot to unpack in terms of my thoughts and feelings about that book. I didn’t even have this much trouble writing about Harry Potter when I still wrote reviews on Tumblr, and while I also think I’ll have to re-read that series just to see if it’s still as amazing as I used to think it was, for all intents and purposes it is my favourite book series. But Vampire Academy gets into much more confrontational territory than Harry Potter, which makes it more interesting in terms of conducting analysis on it, and therefore takes a lot of energy to get around to. I tried finishing my original review last night; it clocked in at just over 10k words and, while I technically did finish it, it just wasn’t good enough. It also occurred to me that making my readers sit through a 10k-word rant about a young adult novel was maybe just a bit much, so I’ve decided to break it up into chunks – which helps, because it gives me a chance to focus on the themes more closely, but also doesn’t help, because it makes me want to focus on the themes more closely, which takes more time, etc.

And, of course, cuts into the time I could be spending on writing other things, such as my two research essays due in just under 4 weeks. As long as I start forcing myself to work on them every day I will be totally fine, but I have to start, like, now. Not literally now, as for the rest of the day I’ll be at one of two parties, but from Monday or Tuesday onwards definitely. And then there’s Tallulah, which I absolutely want to get re-started on, and reading my library books, which I am excited to do …

It’s all time, and time is something that I do not have infinite amounts of. But I could be using my time better, and if I do I’ll fit more things in. I do want to fit in reviews/criticisms/essays, because I just enjoy doing that. Guess I really do belong in academia.

My other idea: start a blog strictly devoted to writing reviews. It won’t save time, but it will help me organise, which will help me focus. Theoretically. Lots of theory going on here.

But what I am concretely starting to understand is why fandom is what it is. The more I analyse Vampire Academy, the more I enjoy it and want to read it again; I’m not talking about the god-worship form of fandom, but the fandom that takes that passion and adoration and uses it to fuel not just analysis but criticism of their chosen texts. It’s criticism born out of passion, out of devotion, and other than contributing to critical discussion, which is good for its own sake, it also gives me a new appreciation of the text itself. The more I criticise Vampire Academy, the more I find I appreciate what it has to offer, both in terms of discussion-points and as a statement – and as a story. I’ve also found things that I dislike even more than I initially did, and some things that I didn’t like initially turned out to be far more complicated than just slapping a “like/dislike” label on them. Which is awesome. More of that please.

And it’s also reminded me of another one of my novel ideas that I’m keen to explore once I have time, so I might write a few notes on that before heading off to party no.1.

There and back again

So this is my 401st post. The end of one chapter; the start of another. As always, thanks for sticking around this long, and I hope you’ll stick around for the next … well, however many. I did say I wanted to end this blog once I sent Tallulah off for publishing. I did also say that I’d probably change my mind about that, and right now I’m in the latter kind of mood.

Particularly since, as of yesterday, I decided that I am definitely starting Tallulah over from scratch again.

This decision has immediately proven to be an even bigger one than I’d thought. For instance, I realised that I’d been kind of coasting with Tallulah ever since I finished the first draft and returned to study six months later, not as in I stopped thinking about it (I don’t think I’ve ever been one to not think about something far longer than is healthy), but as in I’d already done the “hard work”, the generating of words and, through them, constructing the manuscript that would come to be officially recognised as The Story. Which, obviously, has not worked out. All of that time and energy that I invested in that manuscript is now … well, not pointless, as I’m sure I’ll find ways to incorporate plenty of that material in this new draft, but it is no longer holding everything up for me. I’m building an entirely new foundation, and what I only realised today is that it means I no longer have the luxury of sitting back and rearranging things so that they look nice. And the prospect of having an entire fucking book to write during the height of essay-writing time – it’s all on again. There is no reserve of fat I can live off through the winter having gorged myself over spring, summer and autumn; I am back to foraging, scraping every morsel I can find from wherever it may come. I’ve got a fuckload of work to do.

And I’m actually really, really excited about it.

I mean, I’ve learnt so much about writing novels through writing Tallulah. I learnt that having a wall-planner to track my progress and serve as accountability is the best way to get shit done. I learnt that I can write 120k words in 6 months. I learnt that writing anything and everything that comes into my head is a great way to make a lot of work for yourself, and also great for making it really obvious what needs changing when you’re finished and can look back at it as a whole. I learnt that you should always be taking notes. I learnt that I could probably benefit from making a plan and sticking to it (and I enjoyed that lesson so much that I learnt it several times more).

And I re-learnt that, yes, sometimes scrapping everything and starting over from scratch really is the right decision. Another one I’ve already learnt before, but this time I’m not going to completely give up on the project in question. I want to write Tallulah because it’s exciting to me. I want to get swept up in writing again. And I know that I can do that while also keeping on top of study, or on top of study enough. I know that I can go try doing all of those typical writer things now, like writing in coffee shops, walking along the beach with a notepad searching for inspiration on the shore, getting so involved in what I’m writing that I actively shut out other people never leave my bedroom and become an unshaven hermit oh wait …

No seriously, I’m looking forward to this. I want to make my plan for Tallulah, based off the energy and focus of that first chapter, and I want to write it. And then, once I’m done, I want to send it out to some people for feedback …

AND DO SOMETHING ELSE.

Because what I’ve also learnt is that I can’t keep putting off doing the things that I want to do for the principle of focusing on one project so that it gets my full attention. Because not only does it get to feeling shitty, but it also doesn’t work. I will deviate and go off-track all the time anyway; I may as well let myself go off-track onto other things that I enjoy doing.

I’m not a writer. I’m someone who loves writing. So I will.

I will pour my energy into this new draft of Tallulah, make a plan, stick to it, and promise myself that whatever condition that draft is in come October 3oth – hopefully before that, but so long as it’s finished – I’m done. I’ll put it down, attach it to an email and send it to a bunch of people for feedback. And then I’ll do whatever the fuck I want because dear fucking Jesus I don’t think I’ve ever written a book, finished it, and then not tried to make myself immediately get right back to work on it. Okay, not true; I have tried, it’s just that I also failed, miserably, becuase even while I wasn’t “working” on it I was still constantly thinking about it, and in the end that’s still energy, time and focus I’m spending on the book, and that is what I want to get out of the habit of doing: lingering, stretching things out. I want to get better at letting shit go, even good shit, because letting go does not mean the same thing as abandoning, quitting or giving up.

I mean hell, maybe I’ll end up working on another book, and that’ll be fine. I have a few that I am genuinely eager to work on; I really want to go back and re-read my monstrous 180k-word draft of the novel I wrote before Tallulah was even a glimmer in my eye, damn that saying is actually really creepy, and make a revision plan for that story. Not necessarily to do it, just to write it. But who knows? Maybe it’ll turn out to be exactly what I need. And maybe I’ll do something else instead, like finally make that YouTube series I’ve been wanting to make for a couple of years now.

Either way, work resumes on Monday. I will bust out that superhero-themed wall-planner that I got for my birthday, write a bunch of stuff on it that indicates what I’ll be writing and how much of it, and actually if things line up properly I may host a one-man Nanowrimo, minus the “na” and power through this thing. I feel that the sooner I can get it down in writing the better, because the sooner I’ll be able to move on to doing other shit.

In any case – excitement. Adventure. Opportunity. Learning. Perspective. Other things.

And writing. I hope you all keep reading.