Tick Tock

Oh hi, Wednesday! When did you get here? Can you come back later, please? I feel like time’s been moving too quickly lately, and somehow it’s already the end of April. So if Father Time could just stop breathing down my neck for a minute so I could work on my manuscript without worrying about how long it’s taking me, I would really appreciate it.

Hear that, Father Time?!

Yeah, I’m losing it.

Anyways, it’s been about a week since I posted last. I’m still reading through my first draft (crossing things out and making notes as I go along), but I’m almost done now. But when I finish reading it, that means I’ll have to start getting into the real nitty and gritty of revising it. Why does every step of the writing process freak me out? I think it’s because all of this really matters to me, and that’s…scary. I don’t even like talking about it. Half tempted to delete the past few sentences, in fact, because it’s scary to acknowledge the things that matter.

Well. Time to get back to reading the first draft. Hoping to finish it by today.

 

PS – it’s even worse than I imagined it would be. My first draft, I mean. I have a mountain of work ahead of me – lots of enormous changes and minor tweaks and major overhauls to be done.

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Progress Update

So I’ve spent an embarrassing amount of hours this week at Panera, I’m about halfway through reading my first draft, and, you know, progress is being made.

Yay! Progress!

I’ve made an online writing buddy, and we’re both pretty much at the same stage with our writing, so we’ve been going back and forth talking about our manuscripts and our worries/troubles/etc.

And I’m working on trying to learn the whole social media thing, because I went to a literary agents panel at the Festival of Books and they said that if you can start building an audience, it looks good when you’re querying.

SO THANKS, GUYS. Because all like, ten of you who have subscribed to my blog? You’re helping me build an audience I could maybe put into a query letter to an agent saying, “Look, see? People read my stuff. I’m not invisible!” Not that I’m doing this blog for readers – I don’t want to fool myself into thinking what I have to say is interesting. I think what I’m trying to say is, thanks for the support you’ve shown me so far. I hope I can do the same for some of you, too.

Read the first page of my draft.

Stood up. Walked away from the desk.

Wandered back, stared at the manuscript from a distance.

Several days pass, somehow.

 

Okay, let’s try this again.

Here we go.

This is it, guys.

 

Do you see that stack of papers, seemingly innocuous, wrapped in a cord and sitting on my mess of a desk/dining room table?

That’s my first draft, and I’m untying the cord today and going to start reading. After a month of letting it sit, I’m diving in. And I am Freaking. Out.

My nerves are a trembling thing beneath my sternum, a tautly pulled thread just plucked and humming in the base of my throat. What if it’s awful, what if it makes no sense? What if it’s irreparable – or what if it is fixable, but it’s going to take months?

My draft stares back at me, waiting. You’re just a stack of papers, I won’t be scared of you.

Let’s get started.

Be open to the feedback you’ll get.

You’re going to get criticism. You’re going to be told to change things. Be able to process these sort of things productively. 

A common thread I’ve seen throughout my research about writing and publishing is that it’s often hard for writers to hear feedback and constructive criticism about their work.

I haven’t gotten to the stage yet where I’ve had anyone else read my manuscript – from what I’ve researched, you bring in readers after your second draft, and it makes sense, because my first draft is a tangled mess of sentences and structure and ideas.

I’m nervous to have people read it, because I know they’ll have feedback. I hope I can take it positively, and move into revising with gumption and not much dragging of my heels. I’m worried constructive criticism will discourage me, because it’s hard to imagine that I’m going to devote an unknown amount of time to creating the second draft, and that after that, my work still won’t be over.

I know it takes a long time, but I’m starting to feel impatient, and nervous, and edgy. It’s been a while since I’ve worked now, you know? It’s been a long time now that my husband has been waking up every day, sitting at a desk, putting in hours, making money for the both of us. Maybe I should get a part time job as I approach the second draft, but I’m afraid that I’ll derail myself if I do so. And after so many months of stressing and not working, should I risk derailing myself but easing some financial stresses, or push it for a couple more months?

How many more months? How much longer can I keep trying like this?

Okay. *deep breath* I’m digging worry-holes again and I’m going to roll my ankle in one of them if I don’t stop thinking now.

All I really came here to say is my lesson for the day: I want to try and be ready for constructive criticism when it comes, and be able to take it in with a positive attitude and an open mind.

Also, I just really want to be done, too. But I have to keep taking it bird by bird. Step by step. Word by word.

Festival of Books

Went to the Festival of Books this weekend in Los Angeles.

Guys, it was so exciting!

For any of you that are writing, I recommend going to an event like this. It was so interesting getting to hear from different people in the literary world, from authors to editors to agents. I carried my notebook everywhere I went and made tons of unreadable notes.

I also loved hearing questions from the audience, especially at the YA panels. It makes me so happy to see youth and teens ask questions to authors – to see them getting excited about reading and writing, especially the teens. Being a teenager is hard. It’s hard to be excited about things sometimes, to ask questions, or to attempt to pursue the things you really care about (although that can be hard for any age, really!). But it made me happy to see teens passionate about writing, excited about books, cheering for the authors they read and loved.

Yay! Reading is alive and well!

Anyways, I just got back tonight and I’m still pumped up. And it was FREE, on top of that! I hope all of you can get to an event like this at some point, because I just think it was really fun and interesting and informative. And it makes me feel all happy and excited to be around other people who also love books and writing. I wanted to be friends with everyone I saw writing in their journals and reading books on the grass, haha.

One big thing I want to focus on after this weekend is improving my social networking. So I’m going to start trying to update this blog more (because then all the readers will just start POURING in, right? Yeahhh), and learning the whole twitter shebang.

 

Also, I’ve let my first draft simmer for about a month now, and I think this week I have to approach the second draft. Excited, but nervous. I know I have a lot of work ahead of me.

 

I hope writing has been going well for the rest of you out there as well!