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.

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