Monday, October 17, 2016

Writing Goal for 2016

Fredrik Rubensson on Flickr  Some rights reserved
I went through a weird emotional spell that you can notice by checking my reading list page. I have pretty much only read comic books this year. Part of that is finally getting to place financially where I can spare a few bucks here and there to get some comics, but part of it was also just being emotionally exhausted this year, and comics provided a safe, comfortable place to retreat to.

That said, I'm working to get stuff read with the time I have left--including my friend Brooke Johnson's great new book The Guild Conspiracy, which you can order here, and nab the first one here. It's a bit embarrassing that I've only completed 4 books this year. I've started several, but I just haven't had the drive to finish them.

Moreover, I've been using most of my spare time to finally work on my novel. The last update that I had on here about it was almost exactly one year ago, but in that time I'd replotted the book again, restructured it, and reimagined the characters. But after I did that, finding the energy and time to put words down and get it done was almost impossible. That's roughly around the time I went comic crazy and dove head-first into that. The first I can really find on my blog of this was August, but it definitely started several months earlier than that--probably around February, if I had to guess.  Anyway, I was going through a lot of stuff, and I feel much better now.

So around September, I started circling my book again. I'd just finished the great The Devil in Silver by Victor LaValle and was inspired by both a great book and the note at the end where LaValle talked about how he wrote his book 2 hours a day after work every day in a coffee shop. It was so "back to basics" to me. No mention of word counts, fancy word processors, writing spaces, rituals, carrot and stick methods. Just, "show up, do the work you can in the time allotted, and get the shit done." It was just what I needed to hear.

I read through my notes to refamiliarize myself with the world, the voice, and the themes. I also received a very nice and positive rejection in that time, and I wanted to channel that into my book. When drafting, I worry about choosing the right words. My zero drafts and first drafts feel clunky, amateurish, cliche-ridden, and just awful, and it stresses me right the hell out that the words don't come out perfectly. But looking at the story that got rejected, and reading the notes from the magazine, I felt validated probably for the first time ever as a writer. It made me feel like I can do this.

So it's time to buckle down. I'm giving myself until the end of 2016 to finish this draft. That's two and a half months. I want to have a draft finished for the start of 2017.

I don't know if I'll be able to do it. I'm not great, even now, with writing every day. But I'm going to try. Because for the first time in a long time, I feel like I can do this. I've talked about writing for a long time, I've started and stopped and angsted over my writing for years now, but all of that bullshit will mean nothing if I don't have a finished book in my hands. So that's the goal.

Plus, what a great way to start the new year, right?

Bear with me on this because I have a feeling it's going to be hard, and I'm fantastic at quitting things that are hard. But if I can do it, or even come close, it will be a big deal to me.