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Okay.

NOW my shitty YA werewolf novel is finished.

And no, this was not the writing that I was excited to get done that I mentioned in the last post; this was just gruntwork. I’m glad that I did it, though. It gave me some ideas about what I might do if I ever decide to revise this thing – stranger things have happened, and I did after all devote a year and a half of my life to writing it, dear Christ I had better things to do – and there’s nothing quite like the underwhelming satisfaction of actually being done-done with a writing project.

And it’s only ever underwhelming, at least in the moment. The fact that I’ve finished a first draft. The fact that I’ve finished another first draft. The fact that, once again, I have proven to myself that I do have what it takes to at least get this far in the writing process, and even with a project that I burnt out of passion for fairly early on in the process. But eventually it sinks in. And after a lot of consideration over the past week or so, I have decided that I am in it for the long game.

NOW for the next thing.

The Hero and the Crown (by Robin McKinley)

It has been a while since I wrote a book review, and it’s been a while since I started reading this one. It took a long time to get through, and while I’m very glad I did, it taught me a lot about my own tastes as a reader, as well as the difference between what those tastes actually are and what I would like to think they are.

Specifically that I enjoy dynamic, energetic, fast-paced storytelling, and The Hero and the Crown ain’t none of those things. This is an old-school fantasy novel in the vein of A Wizard of Earthsea or The Last Unicorn: slow-burning, dream-like, a meditative procession through a hero’s journey that focuses mostly on said hero.

I like it, quite a lot, but I only started liking it today, and I’ve been reading this thing for … I don’t even know how long. Over a year, I think, on and off. And most of that time was spent in a state of feverish impatience, waiting for something to happen.

Things do happen in this book, but they’re character-related things, rather than “hey look at that thing happening” things. Our hero – heroine, whatever – Aerin, is the daughter of a king and a “witch” from the North, where demons live; as such, while she is not a bastard child, she is pretty well reviled by most people, because most people are ignorant villagers and her older half-sister. The first three-fifths of this novel are mostly angst. Well-written angst, but also oddly written, because it’s from an outside perspective; third-person omniscient feels very weird when used to describe the visceral intimacy of angst, and emotion of any kind really, especially when it also tells you that the person feeling said angst is only doing so because they don’t know any better, don’t have the life experience, so on and so forth. If this was anything other than a classical fantasy novel, it would have been unbearable, but the voice works in this case – having the voice be a bit “wiser”, I guess, than the POV character brings an aura of having a story told to you, and The Hero and the Crown is a story that revels in its story-ness, and in a way reminds me of Neil Gaiman in that regard.

So, what is it about? Basically, Aerin is used to being – and feeling – ignored and unwanted, so she spends her time geeking around and reading about dragons. There haven’t been any big dragons since the Old Days, but there are still dragons about that sometimes menace villages, usually around the size of a small horse at most. In terms of “stuff happening”, she re-discovers how to create a special oil that protects people from dragon’s fire, the secret of which has eluded the greatest minds of the kingdom for centuries; she rehabilitates her father’s old war horse so that she can ride it, and then goes out and kills a dragon.

You could take care of that in about one chapter, if you really wanted to; this book takes almost half of its page-count to get there. This is because what “happens” is not as important as Aerin’s feelings and motivations along the way. Basically, she goes out to kill dragons because she doesn’t have anything else to do, no prospects or ambitions – no hope, basically, of living the kind of life that might make her happy, and of course she doesn’t know what that is, either. She wants to be valuable, and has vague thoughts of making her father proud by killing dragons, but it’s more just the fact that she’s so isolated and lonely that her thoughts and motives drift almost randomly in this direction, for lack of something to latch onto, something that might make her feel wanted.

Because it took so freaking long to get to the dragon-slaying – a bunch of stuff happens after that, and that’s where I started to like this book – and I was under the impression that this book was primarily about dragon-slaying, I lost my patience frequently while trying to push myself through the first half of this book. But once she kills the second dragon – a proper, dragon-sized dragon – and some other shit starts happening, I realised what the book was actually about and started to get into it. If you’re looking for hardcore, realism-based worldbuilding, you are in the wrong place; if you like being shown instead of told, you definitely need to read something else. And generally, I am one of those people.

But with The Hero and the Crown, I actually quite liked it. I liked other things about it, too; yes, the princess kills dragons and that’s all subversive and whatnot, but there is much more to this story than another Strong Female Character in regards to subverting gender roles, if that’s what you’re looking for. Like the fact that, while there are indeed two love-interests and they are both dudes, she doesn’t actually choose one over the other, and it’s still framed as a positive, healthy, happy resolution to her story. It’s kind of convenient in a way, as one of the dudes is immortal and the other is not, and since she becomes immortal herself she’s able to spend a mortal lifetime with one (where the story ends) and then eventually find her way back to the other one (which the story hints strongly at). On top of that, both dudes, while never meeting, know about each other and there is no jealous confrontation stuff; they just accept that she loves both of them and get on with it. Much props for that.

There’s also some typical high fantasy problematic-ness – our heroine is a pale-skinned redhead in a country full of dark-skinned brunettes, for instance, and out of the two other female characters in the book one is her jealous, bitchy older half-sister and the other is her devoted maidservant – and if that sort of thing bothers you, which it probably should, then there might be other meditative fantasy novels for you to enjoy. For me, I could overlook it because the intimacy and meditativeness, once I got into it, reminded me that I do actually enjoy this sort of story. It’s Aerin’s story, and it’s about Aerin, and I appreciated the narrow focus, honestly.

Particularly today, because I have this knot in my lower back that I’ve had since I was 16 and it decided to flare up really badly last night. As such I’ve spent the past few hours not just reading, as opposed to sitting in front of my computer and endlessly distracting myself with YouTube and WOW, but reading while lying flat on the floor with my legs hooked over my bed. I can’t tell if it’s helped at all, in terms of being able to walk around and stuff, but lying in that position was certainly a welcome relief. And a lot of what Aerin goes through is pain, physical as well as emotional, seeing as she spends a lot of time fighting dragons, teaching herself how to ride a horse and use a sword, hiking, camping in the wilderness – it was really quite cathartic, and comforting, to read about her discomfort while enduring my own. I’ve said that it tells rather than shows, but that’s mostly for plot-related stuff and ambience. When it comes to the mundane agony of Aerin’s nearly-constant discomfort, there’s a lot of showing – and telling. It works well; it feels immersive. And the third-person omniscient voice complimented that, because I could feel a connection to what Aerin was going through while still having a ready-made excuse to distance myself from it if I wanted to. I have said before that I don’t think “show don’t tell” is a good hard-and-fast rule, and The Hero and the Crown proves that point emphatically. Both are good – you just have to know when to use each of them, and sometimes, how to use them together.

Do not read this book for the plot or world-building. Read it for the slow-burn of timeless storybook ambience, and the intimacy with the character and her experiences. I do think I need something a little more fast-paced now to shake things up, but just like coming off a fast-paced, pulpy urban fantasy novel and diving straight into this book was jarring, the thought of doing the opposite is the same. Maybe I’ll give it a day or two.

And in the meantime, I have some writing plans of my own slowly gestating, waiting to be birthed in what is hopefully the not-too-distant future. I’m certainly looking forward to that.

 

No More Nostalgia

I finally started putting the finishing touches on my shitty YA werewolf novel; it felt wrong to leave it so blatantly unfinished before abandoning it forever.

As I was doing it, I discovered something.

Having another 82.6k words under my belt feels fucking awesome.

It’s funny how consistently I veer all over the emotional spectrum with my writing. “This sucks and I hate it and it means nothing to me because it is nothing I’m nothing everything is nothing” one day, “at least now I can move on and find something to do that I actually feel passionate about” the next, and then the other day “life is amazing you just have to look for the opportunities to be amazed all around you sometimes what you’re looking for is right under your nose the whole time it was your footprints I saw in the sand”.

This is writing for me; it’s a hobby. I don’t do it when I don’t want to do it, consistently, and when I do want to do it I binge hardcore. I keep hoping that if I finish enough projects, if I push enough of my incomplete drafts through to conclusion, perhaps something will rub off on me, I’ll catch some viral strain of self-discipline and never have problems with self-motivation again. But time and again, the only consistent triggers that get me to work on things consistently are 1) wanting to write, and 2) having some kind of external source of accountability. I am not a disciplined writer by trade; I am an incredibly self-motivated writer who does not write without motivation, unless it’s an MA and then I can fake some semblance of discipline because I’m accountable to somebody besides myself.

However, merely looking over that word document that now contains my almost-completed shitty YA werewolf novel has turned out to be quite inspiring. Not finishing it; not migrating it into a word document; but actually looking it over and taking that tally of 82.6k words that amounted to a finished product has given me a bit of a bug. I want to do it again. I want to experience this feeling of satisfaction again; I want to press my advantage, take this momentum and really go somewhere with it.

But even thinking about writing right now – as in writing something creative – is so draining, so either this momentum is doomed to go to waste, or I’ll have to use it for something else. Or somehow make myself write without thinking about it.

Funnily enough, I think the answer is that last one.

Because thinking, for me, tends to be synonymous with both “overthinking” and “procrastinating”. Rarely do I ever think clearly and intentionally in a, for lack of a better word, strategic way. I basically daydream rather than think, per se, and obsess over stupid shit because I’m stuck in my house all day and am permanently stir-crazy. So lately I’ve been trying to actively do things instead of think about them, particularly the things that I am over-thinking the most. It hasn’t exactly been hard work, in the typical sense of the term. The things I’ve been forcing myself to actually do rather than just think about are playing computer games – Pillars of Eternity and Divine Divinity, to be exact – and watching Stranger Things and Lost Girl. Now, without being facetious, this is actually important for me to do. I tend to spend the time when I’m not “being productive” feeling guilty about not being productive instead of, like, being productive, or failing that at least enjoying myself while I’m being a slacker. Doing these things has been enjoyable, and distinctly non-productive in terms of having a checklist of things that I should be doing and working through it, but very productive in terms of developing healthier recreation habits. Recreation is a skill, as I have come to learn; you need to learn how to relax and chill out, just like you need to learn how to kick your own ass into gear and get shit done.

On the other hand, though, I do still feel that twinge of dissatisfaction with my status as a spectator. I count playing games as being a spectator simply because, at the end of the day, it’s always somebody else’s playground. And there’s nothing wrong with that. There’s plenty awesome about that. But I do want to make my own as well.

So the next step is to start putting this strategy into practice with my “work”, as well as with my recreation. To pick a project that I’m over-thinking and feeling anxious about getting wrong or running out of steam for, and single it out for getting done. To actively cut off my over-thinking at the root; to intercept my own thoughts and shut them down before they ruin everything.

At the moment, I am feeling the idea of giving up on a whole bunch of non-starter projects that I have sitting around. I have so fucking many. It might actually be fun to jam a bunch of them together with no real plan and just see what I can puzzle together out of the mess. For one, it would be awesome to experience the same bursting bubble of creativity that I did when I gave up on Realm of the Myth, all the way back in 2012. But for another – they’re just things that attract my idle thoughts, perfect procrastination-magnets, and the fewer excuses that I have to remain wound-up in my own head, the better.

But perhaps most importantly: after watching Stranger Things – and really liking it, for the most part – I’ve finally had a nostalgia overload. I need something new. And if I can’t get it from the media around me, then I guess it’s gotta come from me directly. For the good of the world, goddammit. I’m sick of how obsessed people of my generation still seem to be with Harry Potter, not because Harry Potter doesn’t deserve to be remembered fondly, but because we need to believe that, amazing and formative of an emotional experience as it was, we can actually do better. We can make something new that is also good. We have to try. Everything good nowadays seems to be retro; everything that people are praising – and more importantly, making and marketing – reminds them of a simpler time. Stranger ThingsUptown Funk, every indie game made in the past 5 years … and obviously this reflects the things that I’m not aware of in the world as much as the things that I am aware of, but the fact remains that, in my personal experience, I’m getting nostalgic for the days when producing a perfectly authentic nostalgic experience was not the greatest achievement a creative person could attain, nor the best that people looking for creative works to enjoy could hope for.

And I’m starting to also recognise that a lot of what I’ve tried to do in terms of getting myself to write more frequently has also been an act of nostalgia. “Back when I first started writing, things were so much easier and I was so much more passionate”, blah blah blah. What worked about what I did “back in the day” was that everything was new, and I didn’t have eleven thousand unfinished projects to feel guilty about never finishing as an excuse to not write, or do anything else for that matter. What worked about what I did “back in the day” was that there was no “back in the day” to compare my current progress to. I just kept going forward, because everything was new.

Call it backlash, but I am really, really wanting something new right now. So I think that’s my next goal, writing-wise and everything else-wise, too. Destroying the cycle of anxiety-inducing overthinking by getting rid of clutter that keeps me anchored to the past, and just doing too many things to have time to over-think to begin with. It’s like facing your fears to overcome them, except instead of fear I’m confronting my overthinking and procrastination. Rather than walking into the dark basement that makes all the weird noises, I’m bum-rushing the seven hundredth mental replay of that conversation between those two characters, I don’t really know what they’re going to say yet but god it’s just going to be so good when I eventually get around to it. From this moment on, I’m on a mission to get my ideas out of my head as quickly and as often as possible so that I don’t have the opportunity to turn them into distractions.

I think that will feel good. But I’m going to try not to think about it too much.

 

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I have copy-and-pasted all of my shitty YA werewolf novel chapters into a single Word document, and that is the final total word-count. I do think I’m going to add in a little bit more, just because now that I have it all in one document it feels official and the fact that there is a rather jarring link missing in one of the chapters bothers me. But other than that …

I wrote another book.

I have been circling the drain of post-holiday procrastination since … well, since it became the post-holidays. I am very aware that I need to get some balls rolling, otherwise I’m going to remain stuck, and I can’t afford to do that for the sake of my mental health. So this is the first nudge towards getting something started.

And despite feeling like I’ve accomplished nothing, I have to concede that it is quite something. 82.6k words is nothing to sneeze at. I might have felt like I’d accomplished something if I still gave a rat’s ass about this obnoxious fucking book, but for my own well-being it’s probably good for me to learn to acknowledge the shit that I do get done, and 82.6k words is a lot of shit that’s gotten done.

I don’t think this story has much of a future; it’s probably classified as YA Urban Fantasy, and I have no idea what the publishing trends are like now (or ever) but I do remember hearing that YA was moving towards more “contemporary” material about a year ago. Also, it is really fucking shitty. But the next step is to read over it, add in the bits that are missing – possibly not in that order – and then, hopefully, find that I’m inspired to move on to work on something that I actually feel like doing. Something new. I have such a massive backlog of old stories, and with each new project I come up with and don’t follow through with that backlog grows larger. I don’t think it’s worth trying to work through my backlog before moving on, because if I do that I will never move on. It is absurd how many unfinished projects I have.

Not this one, though. It is almost done at worst, and finished at best. I’m going with the former, because seriously the way I left that chapter is unbearable to read, but it’s definitely not in the backlog category. I wish it could have been something else, or that I could have finished it in a more timely manner. But it’s momentum, I suppose – I just don’t feel like I have the right to claim it. I’m not sure why. Maybe because I just kind of don’t want to, because I haven’t wanted anything to do with this thing for a long time …

But, momentum it is, and momentum is what I need. For what? Well honestly it doesn’t matter; I just need it. But something new would be nice. I think I need to re-learn how to think, because my brain has just been sludge lately, which is not good for storytelling.

One step at a time.

Getting It Over With

I have finished my shitty YA werewolf novel.

I finished it last Thursday, and I did it by copy-pasting the ending that I knew I wanted into the document of the chapter I was working on, the last chapter I had yet to write. It was about as climactic and satisfying as it sounds.

I took way too long with this book.

And the thing is, while I’ve finished it, it doesn’t feel done. It feels patched-over, covered-up. Because it is.

But I just can’t be fucked. It took too long, it veered way off-course, and I honestly got what I wanted to get out of it in Nanowrimo 2015 – over a year ago. It was a fun little writing exercise that I dragged out for too long, and now I’ve finished without finishing and it feels like absolutely nothing.

Then again, it’s felt like nothing since probably Nanowrimo 2015. It’s just been one goal that I’ve cornered myself into reaching after another; and hey, I got it done. It doesn’t feel like I got it done “properly”, because I didn’t, but it is done.

It’s done because I already fucking hate writing it and if I’m being honest there are at least another couple chapters that need to be written to make the story and world feel coherent and I CAN’T BE FUCKED ANYMORE. I have already forced myself to write more of this story than I wanted to; I have already persevered with this unfulfilling, unrewarding project long past the point of any semblance of enjoyment, and I fucking finished it. I didn’t give up; I accepted the fact that I had given up a long time ago, when it was fucking time to give up, and this is just me finally actually committing to that decision.

And now it’s done.

But fuck it, I might still work on it once I work out what the other shit I need to write actually is. I have disjointed scenes and ideas at the moment; I need chapters before I do any more work on it. And stopping now might be the kick-start I need to push it over the “proper” finish-line, to make it feel complete and done and finished in a way that feels right. You don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone and all that. Kind of. It might apply here.

I don’t care.

And even if I might care later, I don’t care now. It’s done. I’m done. I feel disappointed and uninspired and it’s basically like this book doesn’t even exist to me right now. I had hoped for a sense of satisfaction upon finishing it, but I don’t feel one. Just in case you missed that part.

I want the sense of accomplishment that only comes from a solid narrative, and that’s the real issue here. I want this to feel like the end of a story for me. But life isn’t a story, as I keep saying to myself because it sounded smart the first time and I have no imagination, and in that sense it is poetic justice that this project feels so unfinished. I feel unfinished. And I guess that’s always going to be the case, because there’s no story going on here; there is nothing to finish. Life goes on, whether you like it or not.

However – that also happened for my MA. I’m pretty sure it also happened for the first draft of Tallulah. In fact I’m pretty sure I got to exactly this point during the first draft of Tallulah: it felt like nothing. Only when I went back to look it over again did I start to feel some sense of a shift, a transition from one part in the process to another.

And regardless of what I do or don’t feel right now, however “properly” it feels I have or have not performed this task – I finished another fucking book.

I wrote a goddamn book and a goddamn MA in under 2 years.

Even if I can’t feel the kind of narrative satisfaction that I want to right now – or ever – that’s something worth acknowledging. I did some fucking work over the past 2 years.

And you know what I want to do, now that I’ve gotten all of this off my chest?

Go back and finally finish Tallulah. Because I recognise now that it will never feel done, but that doesn’t mean it will never get done. It’s just a matter of doing it.

Doing is believing

Last night was pretty rough for me. Having anxiety involves a lot of lying awake in bed and ruminating over all of your moral shortcomings and mortal shames. Thankfully, at this point in my recovery – it’s odd to think of it as a recovery, but it is, an ongoing one – I wake up from those bad nights feeling cleansed and unburdened, and even with a few solutions to deal with the various grievances aired, vented and exorcised in the night.

One of these is writing. I have lamented so many times about letting opportunities to dive headlong into a writing project pass me by, about intentionally keeping myself from taking opportunities to enjoy writing because, I dunno, toxic habits die hard, and a particularly toxic one is the “but it’ll take effort” excuse. It’s not a rational excuse, which is why I keep making it. Mental illness will do that to you.

But no more. The Ubermensch has spoken!

Because this year, I’m going to finish my god-awful fucking YA werewolf novel, and then I’m going to go back to my Christmas story. I’m going to read over it and make notes, and I’m going to read over it again and make different notes, and then I’m going to discover that I have a plan and fucking execute it.

I’m going to do this because I do have good ideas, and they deserve to be worked on – but more than that, because this morning I’m feeling optimistic and life-affirming: because deserve to work on them. To have awesome ideas and stories to be responsible for developing. It’s a good feeling.

And it won’t get done unless I do it, so I’m going to make myself do it.

It’s the same obstacle as it always is: getting started is the hardest part. I still want to finish Tallulah as well, and it’s much closer to being completed than my Christmas story, but I want to get started on this Christmas story first because, well, I wrote it first, and it’s been way too long. I’m fed up with letting good stories go stagnant; I want to get into the habit of obsessive working when it comes to stories of mine that I really like, which I keep myself from doing these days.

Of course, while I’m reading this Christmas story I can also tinker with other books I’m writing. I need to get better at setting limits on my self-directed work; I started at the end of my MA, and I can see that it needs to continue going forward, as opposed to almost every other thing I’ve learnt or experienced as an academic that has pretty much fallen out of my head. My limit with this Christmas story is reading. Writing – that’s not even something I want to think about right now. Just reading. Getting out of the fantasy of writing something or how it’s going to be when it is eventually one day written, and focusing on the actual writing process, which is always more fun.

And goddammit, it’s been too long. The werewolf thing didn’t even feel like part of the writing process; I hate to say it but, as much fun as I’ve had writing it, I can’t even remember the fun times. But working on something over a long period of time like I did with Tallulah, or the Christmas story before it – that I remember. It feels awesome. And I like feeling awesome.

It feels awesome to be doing shit, and yesterday I realised, for what is surely at least the hundredth time by now, that the reason I’ve been feeling kinda “meh” not just recently but for what is now the majority of my entire life, is due to not doing shit. So I’m going to do some shit. Reading and writing, in particular. I have an actual book to read as well: Succubus on Top by Richelle Mead, which I think I may finally be in the correct mindset to read without getting pedantic about realism in this book about a fucking Succubus was the pun intended I’ll let you decide it’s going to be a good time.

And then all the Christmas books I bought myself last year and haven’t touched since they arrived. I have a goddamn Wonder Woman omnibus, the George Perez stuff when he rebooted her in 1987, which was when I was born, that explains a few things if you buy into superstition when it’s convenient to your self-narrative, which I totally do. I have Neil Gaiman’s latest collection of short stories: Trigger Warning, which I haven’t read partly because as somebody who understands the need for trigger warnings the title just feels very exploitative, but don’t judge a book by its exploitative title or whatever. I have Clariel by Garth Nix, which I tried to read when I got it and then couldn’t because I remembered that I fucking hate high fantasy, even when it’s Garth Nix apparently. I have The Bloody Chamber by Angela Carter, which I got because werewolves. I have Kindred by Octavia Butler, because for some reason I decided not to buy The Parable of the Sower on the day I made these purchases, but it’s Octavia Butler and I feel morally obligated to read one of her books. I might actually buy Parable today, or at least get it out from the library again. I have the first Dragonriders of Pern book by Anne McAffrey, and the first book in the Lioness Quartet by Tamora Pierce, and The Hero and the Crown by Robin McKinley, because aside from Harry Potter and literally 4 other books in my entire life I have read zero high fantasy written by women and that shit needs to change.

Speaking of which, I also have the Earthsea Quartet to finish, which I’ve had since 2011. I finished the first 2 stories and liked them a hell of a lot, despite obvious problematic elements, particularly in the first one. Also the rest of the P.C. Hodgell omnibus I have; the first story was very enjoyable, and it’s high fantasy written by a woman and starring a woman, and it is the last high fantasy book I’ve read that I actually enjoyed because it was about character and story – episodic though that story might be, but I like episodic – set in a rich, well-developed world, rather than about a rich, well-developed world infested with sentient life-forms that the writer feels forced to spend some time on to fill a quota, which is what a lot of high fantasy feels like to me. I also have The Swan Maiden, which is a retelling of an old Irish fairytale – a really fucking depressing one, because Ireland – and the only thing I can remember about it is that I opened the exact middle of the book when I bought it from the library and read the phrase “he hefted her pale globe in his hand”. I’m not sure why this was a selling-point for me, but I did buy it, along with Grimm Tales by Phillip Pullman. I respect Phillip Pullman quite a lot, but really did not like The Amber Spyglass and find his writing style … well, it might work a lot better with fairytale retellings than it does with child psychology.

Man, I actually have a lot of shit I could be doing.

The Ubermensch approves!

 

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All right. Got some shit done.

That word-count is spread across 2 different books, both of which I have the intention of finishing, but one of which is much closer to completion than the other. The shitty YA werewolf novel, to be exact; that was 908 words out of that total. The other thing I was writing is also shit, in case you were wondering. Probably even more shit than the shitty YA werewolf novel, if I think about it. Or maybe just equally shitty in a different way.

It’s been interesting today, actually, just absorbing how very bad a lot of my writing is. And by “a lot” I literally mean “these two specific books out of the 50+ I have lying around the place”. Not as in the language, but the stories, the framing, the shit I let my characters get away with and make excuses for on their behalf. It struck me today in the second project I did some writing on that despite the fact that it’s a project intended to be a bunch of stupid, giddy fun, it’s not something that I would ever actually enjoy reading. I think part of that is obviously just down to the fact that it’s a first draft and first drafts are too full of shit to judge the quality of a story by to begin with, but there’s also the fact that I just don’t think when I’m writing. I don’t like it. I want to think when I’m writing, and I feel like at one point or another I did actually know how to do that. I want to get back to that.

I suppose it could also be because I’m breaking the rule of writing that says NEVER FUCKING LOOK AT WHAT YOU’RE WRITING UNTIL YOU’RE FINISHED FUCKING WRITING, which exists for exactly this reason – because if you get so disheartened that you stop writing altogether, that’s worse than any problematic prose you could ever commit to the page. I’m not sure that I agree with that rule, but there’s enough merit that I’m willing to at least go along with part of it.

In any case, I did get some writing done, quite a lot in fact, and at the end of the day that really is all that matters. I can always fix it in revisions.