Time to get back to work.

It’s been a largely unproductive couple of weeks.

I hit an impasse, thought I needed to go back and revise, lost steam, and floundered, am still floundering.

I’m sick with a cold right now and it’s late at night, and I have to write something towards my novel before I go to bed tonight. I have a hot whiskey with lemon and honey steaming in a mug beside me, and the neighborhood is quiet. I’ll get some work done tonight. Have to start making little steps forward again, gain momentum once again.

The fears and the excuses have grown a little louder in this writing-quiet time, but I have to shove them back down and keep working.

Time to start checking into this blog again to keep myself on track. I spent the past day outlining my story a bit, getting a better idea of its frame and where its headed. We’ll see if that has any impact.

This is a lonely job. I haven’t gone out to lunch or coffee or anything with a friend in a while. I think they probably all forgot I exist, by now.

Feeling very mopey and sniffly and sore-throaty. Time to sip on my hot whiskey and focus on words, instead.

A pro to writing YA.

You’ll relive your teenage years — again and again. I was one of those teens who always wanted to be older. When I was 12, I used to look at the rental ads in the back of the newspaper and freak out about how I’d ever afford my own place. Now that I was a twenty-something, it was kind of fun to go back and relive all the drama and uncertainty that comes with being afraid you won’t get into your first-choice college or the deflating rage of spotting your best friend making out with your crush… and then head out to happy hour and be grateful for my over-21 adult status.

– Anna Davies, “Confessions of a YA Ghostwriter”

I wasn’t particularly thrilled at the prospect of putting myself back into the mindset of a teenager, because those weren’t my finest years. I dealt with a lot of emotional issues then, and the idea of putting myself back into that headspace intimidated me. But this is such a nice way to look at it.

I’ve conquered those teenage years and have moved on. Now I’m an aimless twenty-something who feels totally lost and has no idea what she’s doing with her life. So ha, teenage years! It could be fun writing about you. Because now I can at least drink legally. But really, this helped me see it in a much more positive light.

50 pages is just an eensy dent.

So.

Lots has happened in the several days I’ve spent avoiding this blog.

First of all, I finally hit 50 pages. Fifty pages! Woo hoo! That is a huge milestone for me – it’s more than I’ve ever written ever before, and since I started this novel, I kept looking at the 50 page mark thinking, once I hit that, I’ve really accomplished something. And it does feel substantial. A meaty amount of words that it would take more than one bite to chew.

So, I hit fifty pages. And then it hit me: all my characters were the wrong age.

(writing this blog post out now, I begin to realize something: I hit fifty pages, one of my milestone goals, and directly after had this ‘realization’ that has frozen me. Is my subconscious at work here, my fears creeping in at a major milestone? Or maybe I’m just reading too much into it. Moving on.)

The age of my characters is something I’d been debating since page one. In fact, I’d written a couple posts here regarding my indecision. I’d decided to put my characters in their twenties, and my protagonist was experiencing a quarter-life crisis of sorts. But I just kept not feeling it.

And then, on Friday, I was thinking about who I’d want to read this book (not considering your audience before you start – rookie mistake, I know). And I realized something: if I continued writing my novel the way I was now, it wouldn’t interest teen readers. I wouldn’t want teens to be reading it. And I want to create something for that age range. YA did so much for me when I was younger. I want teens to be able to pick up my book and get into it, to be able to escape into it.

Crap.

And thus began the three days of major bummitude. Now that I’ve realized this, I need to tweak/revise what I’ve written so far or I’ll feel too scattered moving forward. So on Friday I said to myself, “I’m going to give myself a day off and start working on it tomorrow. I did hit fifty pages, I deserve a break.” And then on Saturday I said, “I am too tired and/or drunk to effectively begin reworking it today.” And then today I just sat on the couch, trying not to think about writing, and feeling generally discouraged.

And then tonight, while cleaning the kitchen on a distraction mission, I realized something: the longer I put off this revision, the bigger a deal it was starting to become. So I poured myself a glass of red wine, took a deep breath, and now I’m here, collecting all my thoughts before I dig into revising.

I have a small knot of anxiety in the pit of my stomach, knowing I’m diving into the first page now and starting to read some of what I’ve written. What if I get caught up in revision? What if it’s terrible and I lose hope?

But I’m going to drink some more red wine and stuff those worries down. Enough avoiding. The sooner I get this reworked, the sooner I can get my story moving again.

 

PS – honestly, I don’t know what I was thinking with the whole ‘twenties’ age range to begin with. 90% of what I read is Young Adult. It’s a genre I enjoy. I wouldn’t read a story about lost twenty-somethings because I would be judging it and eye-rolling the entire time. So what was I thinking? Blergh.

Feeling lacking, disconnected. Yesterday was an unproductive writing day and today is very close to becoming the same. 

It’s harder for me sit down and do it, all of a sudden. Have to get back into forcing myself again. 

Of course.

“I mean, you know the women who just sit at home all day while their husband works hard to support them,” she said while driving, “I just think, ‘oh, must be nice.’ It’s hard for me to like those women, you know? But of course, I don’t mean you. Just in general.”

“Of course,” I said, staring out the passenger window.

Thanks, Mom.

I know how it looks. I know how lucky I am, how privileged it is for me to be able to do this right now. I deal with that guilt every day, when someone asks me what I’m doing for work right now and I have to respond, “I’m writing.” I struggle to be okay with it and cherish the opportunity, like my husband encourages me to. But yeah, thanks Mom. I guess I understand her feeling this way. Just have to try and let it go, not dwell on it, and keep writing for as long as I can.

367

Word count towards the novel for the day: 367

It’s 2:20 am, and I know I’m probably a weirdo, because I sit here in the dim glow of firelight, surrounded by candles with incense burning on the counter. I’m a creature of habit, and I get into these weird little routines with everything I do. And writing at night has grown to involve at least one burning candle, incense, and red wine.

The back door is open to let in the night air, and in the distance I can hear someone playing music. It’s rare to hear anything this late at night, and it’s comforting to know someone else besides me is awake.