getting to work

Here I am, 2017. It’s time to write. Tiiiiiime to write. Tiiiiiiiiiimeeee to wriiiiiiiiite.

How does one write a novel, again? Whatever the answer is, it is apparently so daunting that I have spent the better part of three years not doing  it. And then the better part of the past three weeks of family vacation waiting until vacation is over to start doing it.

After three years of not writing my novel, I have amassed a misfortune in disparate computer files and handwritten paragraphs in what seems like thousands of near-empty Moleskine journals (haha! no, just six.) that I have no idea how or where or when or if to incorporate at this point. So I made the decision last week to not look at any of them again until I have a complete first draft.

I also have two or three fairly polished chapters from a writing workshop two years ago, back when I was still more concerned with getting affirmation than getting the hard work done (in front of near strangers? no thanks!). I don’t take writing workshops anymore, and I’m coming more and more to terms with how bad a first draft is truly allowed to be. And I think the answer is, really, really bad.

When I started this blog, the tagline I wrote for it was, “blogging from ground zero of my e-publishing experiment”. Then I chose a layout that doesn’t have a tagline. But that’s a main reason I started blogging again–to chronicle my journey from here to there. The writing, the business of it, what I would already have done differently–while daunting to set out in the dark on a brand new voyage, I think it’s what keeps me feeling young. I just had a birthday, and I can safely say I felt older 10 years ago than I feel right now. I think feeling old is, to some extent, a rise-over-run consideration. And maybe also a little bit about frequency of doctor visits–so now that I’m not pregnant anymore, I expect to have a windfall year by the latter metric (that is, short of an imminent and epic failure of birth control).

Aside from seeking to perfect things that will probably have to be trashed, anyway, or at least completely rewritten, another one of my biggest pitfalls is biting off more than I can chew, overdoing it, getting discouraged, and then quitting. I’ve done this my entire life with basically anything that this pattern can apply itself to. So, of course, I initially decided upon the really arbitrary yet ambitious goal of writing 10,000 words in January. That sounds awesome, right? That also sounds like more than I’ve written in the last three years, combined!

Plus, it’s already January 7, and I don’t plan on writing anything until Monday.

So today I’m setting a goal for myself for January of 5000 words. If I only write on the weekdays left in the month, that’s just under 300 words a day. Reasonable, but still moderately ambitious right out of the gate. I’m working on it.

 

success, humo(u)r, and popularity

successhumourpopularity

I’ve always been a sucker for a good fortune cookie. And not always exclusively in the, “Science is everything but I am indulging in the talismans of the folk people for some unrefined amusement” kind of way I pass it off to my husband, either (he doesn’t believe me, anyway).

It’s mostly just fun, but I also find it useful–particularly when it comes to times like this, the end of the year where we take stock and set intentions for the year to come. I already know my intention for 2017–I’m going to write my first novel, and no fortune cookie, Facebook quiz or horoscope is going to tell me otherwise.

So when this particular game of fortune was circulating about a week ago, I eagerly found my own three words for the New Year–success, humour and popularity.

Popularity! I am certainly a great many things (or at least a few) but popular has never been one of them!

So then I promptly wrote something self-deprecating about how the idea of me being popular was already humorous and posted it to Facebook. I might as well have put a knife in my eye. Forty-five minutes later, I had not received one single like or comment so I deleted the post, because there’s probably nothing worse than hanging yourself out in the barren winds of a sentiment like “hahaha I’m so unpopular! amiright?” and then having everyone ignore you. Probably.

And once I thought about it, I realized I’ve actually done just fine socially throughout my life whenever I’ve actually left my home and not immediately hated everyone (which are, I can admit to you here, relatively exhaustive constraints).

(Also, I just discovered that posting anything on social media after 8 PM on a Saturday is the worst possible time all week–unless, I suppose, it’s something you decide you want to delete after forty-five minutes.)

So here’s to 2017 and all of the success, humor, and popularity that wants to find me along the way. Maybe I can even work on not being so self-deprecating while I’m at it (PS this is why I like fortune cookies).