I haven’t written a blog post since August, mostly because those problems at work that appeared when I returned from the summer vacation with the wife grew and multiplied and soon I was in survival mode.
I finished breaking down John Truby’s The Anatomy of Story in August—I took about 38,000 words of notes. So that’s a lot. I then spent rest of August and all of September doing some of the exercises from the book for my current novel when I could find the time and energy to work on it. The exercises are great, and it brought a lot of depth and understanding to my current project, but I had hopes of getting 75% of the novel completed by December 1st so I could apply to a workshop with it. That didn’t happen.
I started drafting again in October, but work was so demanding and stressful I barely squeezed out 2k words for the whole month, a far cry from the 15-20k a month I would need to get near 75%. So I then switched the target to 50% complete by December 1st. Work was supposed to ease up at the end of October so I thought I could get some momentum going and write the midpoint and then apply with that. That didn’t happen.
Work didn’t ease up and at that point the stress was catching up to me physically forcing me to slow down. I had to let go the idea of applying to the workshop. On the one hand that was disappointing, I have been saving up time-off and money for this opportunity and this year was supposed to be that year (assuming I got in). But on the other hand, I get a whole extra year to finish the novel. I had also targeted writing a novel a year from now until either a novel took off or got picked up traditionally. I had to let that go—it was causing too much stress from missed writing time, not making enough progress, etc. So now I’m content with just a short-term target of finishing the current novel by 2021. And then I’ll figure out another short-term target then.
The crazy thing was I started writing in the first place to de-stress. So now I’m trying to find my way back to that place. I’m having some success on that front. I am drafting again and was recently writing a difficult chapter. Part of what I love about writing is discovering the story, and how about the best laid plans often change when characters come alive on the page and have their own agendas. That happened in that difficult chapter, and it was wonderful to see the connections bloom on the page to earlier events that I didn’t even consciously know where there.
Hopefully, things are back to normal and I’ll post again my year-end wrap up next month.