An update.

Things haven’t been great, guys.

A little less than a month ago, I hit my year mark. A year since I decided to take time off from work and pursue writing seriously.

A year.

Things kind of imploded at that point. An entire year had passed, and what did I have to show for it? A tiny, wrinkled stack of a first draft, pages stained with wine and coffee, notes scribbled in margins and in between lines, pages curling from being carried around so many times. It’s so small, just a tiny pile of papers bound together with a couple alligator clips at the top. It doesn’t look like a year. It hardly looks like anything.

And what do I have ahead of me? A mountain of revisions. Feedback from critique readers. More revisions. Querying for an undertermined amount of time. The work yawns out ahead of me, a dark trail stretching out for who knows how long.

If it was easy, everyone would do it, right? But I know I could have done better, could have worked harder this past year. I feel like I failed. Like I failed myself, like I failed my husband, who’s been working hard to support the both of us; I feel embarrassed, knowing I’ve told people what I’ve been trying to do.

I thought I’d be farther along by now. But I didn’t try hard enough.

So now I’m looking for a part time job, but I’m scared, because it’s been a year. It’s going to be hard to get back into it. I think beginning to earn money again will ease some of my anxiety, but I don’t know where to apply, or what to do. I feel so lost.

I could sense depression sinking back in, a black trickle pooling up inside of me. I visited my therapist last week for the first time in a year in an effort to dig my fingers into it, to grip it and attempt to get it back under control. I’m exercising every day now, logging my food to make sure I eat enough and eat healthy. It’s easy to slip into depression, like sinking backwards into a bathtub, water slowly rising over your ears, your eyes, your face, until sound is muffled and sight is blurred and everything is coccooned in a sort of numbness.

It’s easy to sink into that. It’s harder, sometimes, to resist it. To fight back.

I’m trying, and I’m not trying. I want to work on my draft, and I’m not working on my draft. It sits undisturbed on the table where it’s sat for a week now. I stare at it. I hate myself. I look at job listings. I go to the therapist. I stare out the window and do nothing.

Today I plan on going back to Panera, where I haven’t been in weeks. I’ll bring my draft and my laptop and my notebook and my pens, and even if it’s only for an hour, I hope to get some work done. Moving an inch is better than not moving at all.

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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.

Cue 80’s victory music.

I finished my first draft today.

Holy crap.

I did it, guys. I actually did it.

I mean, months later than I originally planned on, and the thing is an awful, disorganized, chaotic mess, but I did it.

I’m giving myself a day to breathe and fist pump the air, and then I’ll decide how to move forward. But for now?

Holy cow. First draft down!

It’s something.

Word count for today: 776.

(Captain Picard is clapping for me like, ‘Good job!’ but then he’s turning to Data and he’s all like, ‘Jesus, 776? I write more than that in the Captain’s Log when I describe how I prepare my tea.’ Shut up, Picard.)

Anyways, I’m out of red wine so I’m sitting here with a glass of bourbon, since I drank about 8 cups of coffee earlier today while writing and now I need something to unwind (it’s such a healthy cycle!). Well, it’s not straight up bourbon because I’m not that badass, but I made myself a milk punch because I almost hit a thousand words today and I feel it’s well deserved (and also because, you know, no more wine).

I feel good about the progress I made today! It’s still not much, but it’s more than yesterday. And maybe tomorrow I’ll hit a thousand words! One can hope.

The story is still slogging along and I’m having to force it to progress, but I’m hoping it’s just because I’m rusty and I need to power through it in order to get things moving again. Or it could just mean this story is horrible, but you know what? It’s the first novel I’m ever trying to write, so I think that’s okay. I just feel so much pressure about it since I quit my job to pursue this. But I need to store that anxiety away somewhere and not let it creep over me until I’m paralyzed.

So, I’m off for more milk punch and Buffy. I feel good about today.