Manuscript Readthrough: 19 hours 44 minutes
PhD Research: 3 hours
Revision Notes/Planning/Brainstorming: 39 hours 40 minutes
Caring Too Much: maybe it’s time to move (even further) beyond DBZ memes
This “totals” format I have is super messy and I am definitely shifting focus next year. Progress and “place”, I think, is more important to me than just making a number really big. By “place” I mean a “where I’m at with project X” sort of thing, which I probably don’t need a whole categorisation system to record.
But do I want one? That’s the real question.
Writing this post after yesterday’s report on the pitfalls of having my brain for a brain, I have a sense of anticipation and dread, waiting for the floor to fall out from under my feet when I finally come fact to face with everything I’ve been doing this month – because I think I screwed up a good thing. I had momentum, I had a plan, I had a freaking vision for what I was going to do with myself, and then I had to go to stupid therapy and learn things that changed my perspective on my life and values for the better and it ruined everything.
Or did it?
I was hoping to get perspective with this post, and looking back over the past five weeks – yeah, I can see the problem.
There isn’t one.
This was a fucking great month! There were frustrations along the way, yes, and I must acknowledge them because it would be disingenuous not to do so and being disingenuous harms my soul; but seriously on the whole I did so many things this month, and they were all things that I cared about doing. They didn’t all work out the way I might have liked them to – but thankfully they also didn’t do any harm by virtue of not working out the way I might have liked them to; and hey, some of them did work out nicely.
Like going to see my old masters supervisor and hearing that 1) my PhD topic sounded “very interesting” and 2) he’s very interested in being my PhD supervisor based on it.
Like re-reading both Bad Guys and Wolf Gang, even my thought-to-be-hopeless revision notes on Mark and Jessie, and finding that, hey, there’s some really good, promising stuff here – and also, more importantly, finding which of these projects I do and don’t care about right now.
Like finally, finally completing my revision notes for the co-writing project, which I was in fact hoping to accomplish before the end of this year – and would you look at that, I fucking did. Go me.
And like learning this whole “means and ends” framework which has been equal parts useful and infuriating, just like everything I’ve gotten out of therapy so far; but each time I learn more and more about the “frustration” side of things and how it comes from me more than anything else, and through learning this I’m also learning how to make things less frustrating for myself.
Also, as I found yesterday – sometimes it’s kinda fun to be frustrated. Sometimes, mind you; but during those times I think it’s important to just acknowledge that, hey, it is one of those times, and everything’s okay.
The big problem of this month was tunnel-vision and stubbornness, and not being able to see my stubbornness because I had tunnel-vision. Bad Guys in particular has suffered from this over the past few days; in trying to focus on getting ready for Nano, I moved farther and farther away from what I learnt during the zero draft, about what worked, how I got through that zero draft, which threw plenty of its own obstacles at me – obstacles that, as it so happens, are pretty much the same ones I’m facing now.
And the most important one for me to remember right now is that, however much I can think of solutions to problems that I can see with the story … at this stage of the project, both the problems and the solutions are all in my mind. They’re not on the page. And if they’re not on the page, then there’s actually nothing I can do about them, because they’re not there to have anything done to them.
In a sense, the way to solve these problems is to cause them – but the more accurate way to put it is that I have to write, risk causing these problems, trust that I will be able to handle them if they come up …
And actually acknowledge that there is such a huge gulf between thinking of a story and holding it in my mind and actually writing it down that, for all I know, these problems won’t even come up at all.
Also, on the flipside, while I definitely got stuck in the prep/planning phase over the past three days due to a combination of taking my latest therapy lesson a little too far (again, it’s been fun, regardless of how frustrating it’s also been) and prioritising my speculation about what this story will be over what it currently is … I’ve kind of enjoyed getting so speculative, opening up new possibilities for where I could take it, how I could mash things together. I think I’ve actually come up with some new solutions to problems that do actually exist by doing so.
I think, while it hasn’t solved the specific problems I intended to try and solve, this process has actually helped me get a better handle on this project.
It’s helped me to realise what it is that I actually care about with Bad Guys. And how so much of that stuff has yet to be written.
I think it’s time to write it.