Saturday, February 4, 2012

Forgive Me. I've Been Busy.

The death of any blog is waiting to long to post an update. Lucky for me I only have one official follower and I know she'll read anything I post. Thanks Lynsey! I could sit here and give you a myriad of reasons for my absence over the last two weeks, but something tells me you're not exactly sitting on the edge of your seat, biting your nails in anticipation of learning what I've been up to. So, I'll take you down a different road. Follow me, please.

 Imagine with me, if you will, a land of enchantment. In this land the weather is a dry 70 degrees. Sweaters aren't needed, but they're appreciated on breezy days. In the air is a sound of joyous laughter with occasional giggles. At night the mighty beast protects the land. There are also a few cougars lurking around, but the Beast also rules over them. They are harmless anyway. There's nothing to fear in this land. It wards off evil by attacking it with the laughter in the air. If you really pay attention, you can over hear the witty back and forth flirtatious conversation between a man and his wife of fifteen years. This land is a happy land. It's called my living room.

The beast is the rottweiler/bloodhound mix. He's likely snoring louder than a human in the corner with his squeaky duck nestled nearby. The pumas are our two cats who, unlike the dog, are allowed to climb all over the furniture and the humans alike.

The laughter is coming from my mother as she and my step-father watch wheel of fortune and make fun of the people on it. My stepfather will take any opportunity turn the topic to pictures of Vanna White that made their ways into Playboy Magazine a few decades back (He'll also take this opportunity to let you know he has a copy of it... somewhere... he thinks... unless he lost it... at least he USED to have a copy of it). My mother will then finish his story for him, because we've all heard it a million times. Then they start making fun of the contestants again.

 Over in the far corner of this land you'll see me sitting in a high backed chair, with my face glued to a computer screen. The computer sits in an armoir; the doors are open and there's bright orange pieces of paper taped up in side of them. At the tops of these papers you'll find words like "Character Development Questions" or "Plot is Movement" in black permanent marker. And then if you were to come up behind me and look at the screen you'd see words flying up on it as my fingers dance over the keyboard.

This is the land I've been trapped in for the last month. I'm sorry, but I cut off all communication with my blog at the halfway point. Writing an entire novel's first rough draft in a month's time is not only a daunting task, but it's a nearly INSANE one. When you add "Write a new blog every day" on top of that... you will surely end up certifiable. Actually, I have no idea how you'd handle it. I couldn't. Not for lack of trying. This is as honest as it gets. I'm basically telling you that I haven't been updating for reasons of not wanting insanity... or I was just lazy. You decide.

 This magic land proved to be quite fruitful. My parents understood I was writing, and if I chose to pull myself out of it and join the conversation for a little bit; they were cool with that too. We really do live in a laid back, happy, cohesive little environment day to day around here. Despite the happiness in the land it experienced a roller coaster of emotions and drama in the last 30 days.

 My story was about love. And we all know love is fickle, jealous, greedy, passionate, angry, all consuming, and the one thing we all want more than anything else in the world, right? Well... I tried my best to tap into all of these things and the butterflies in the stomach that make all of the above worth it. These emotions and dramatic scenes only happened in my head and in my manuscript, but they were real enough to me. When I was done I felt like I'd been through all of these situations and they were all still fresh in my mind. Though some of the novel is inspired by things I've actually experienced, trust me when I say a lot of it is straight from my imagination.

Many have told me they couldn't do it. But you know what? I actually loved it. I fucking loved it! Nearly everyday I woke up knowing exactly how many words I needed to write to keep up with the quota. I planned ahead when I knew I had obligations to friends or family. I knew I was going to be busy for an entire weekend. So one night I wrote from 10 pm to 6 am (a full 8 hour shift complete with two pots of coffee, and several smoke breaks), and I completed 10,000 words. That's 1250 words, on average, an hour. My daily quota is was 1667 words. The night I wrote 10,000 words was the night I learned I fucking rock.

Then one glorious afternoon I finished it. I crossed the finish line of 50,000 words and I wrapped the story up. It was nothing short of awesome. I received many "atta-girl!" greetings, and I was quite proud of myself and my accomplishment, too. But the moment was short lived. The next day I had this terrible gut feeling as all these "what if" questions entered my brain like Dr. Suess Who People whispering in my ear.

"What will I do today? What will I write?
I could start editing, but I don't have to, right?
What if it's horrible? Terrible? Wrong?
What if the dialogue is too short?
What if the descriptions are too long?
What if it doesn't make sense?
What if I have to chuck it?
Could that be a consequence?
Will I have to say, 'Fuck it?'"

Okay, Dr. Seuss wouldn't say fuck. But I'm sure he would if he were to write a story about Destiny Fritz freaking out over her first ever completed novel rough draft. The word Fuck would be the title of it. Because that's the word that was repeating itself in my head during this little freak out. "Fuck, fuck, fuck, FUCK! Why do I have to stop writing and start editing? I don't wanna read it. I'm scared."

Finally, I got over it and started the process. And, from what I can tell so far, it's going to be a long, drawn out, grueling process. The fun, looking forward to waking up everyday and writing, part is over. Now the real work begins. I hate proof reading my own stuff, so I have some feelers out in the water to find some trustworthy editors.

I will have to actually reread all of it at some point or another, though. When this happens I'll have to keep in mind that I'm not looking at it with criticism, but instead as a member of my audience, reading it for the first time ever. That will be the real test. I'm ready, and also very NOT ready for that day. It's a long way away, however.

During this past week of getting the editing process started, I've been in a blah mood. It's not that editing isn't fun (okay, editing ISN'T fun) that's not why I was blah. I've been feeling iffy and weird because I haven't been writing. For the last month I was distracted from all of life's little problems. I had created this world of characters who were eager to learn their story lines. They beckoned to me in my sleep and wanted me to give them all my attention. I happily obliged. and now I've been ripped out of that little bubble of distraction and brought rudely back into the real world with a thud. Ouch.

I've got the Post Na-No-Wri-Mo blues.

I was actually warned about this. My solution to this was to flex some writing skills and post a blog. But, to be honest, this really isn't enough for me at the moment. So what I'm going to do is compile a list of favorite songs and write based on the mood each of them provokes. I'm considering it to be a free writing exercise to let me feel the fun aspect for a night. Besides, it's a great distraction from the fact that it's Saturday night and I have no plans.

I learned a lot over the past two weeks, and maybe in the next installment I'll think of a witty way to tell you all about it. Until then, thanks for reading!

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