I haven’t had the drive to write much until the beginning of November and then, I suffered a death in the family which killed -er- hurt my drive, but today is the first fully motivated day I have had and had been able to use to the best of my abilities. I got a good deal of my laundry and general house cleaning done and I have come to terms with a so far unacknowledged obsession of mine.
I am very addicted to the Internet. I am constantly checking the news via Google at work and at home, the first thing I do is go straight from my PC. Between checking e-mail, Twitter, new forum posts, Facebook and my ever-growing list of webcomics, I have found very little time to do much else with my time, which meant that the house work was shirked day in and day out, which only aided in exasperating my growing depression. Today, I decided that Sundays are going to be not only Internet-free, but computer-free as well. I get to cheat a bit and make a quick playlist to have some music to guide the rest of my day, but I told myself I am unable to do anything on my computer until 12:01 Monday morning. Around 8:00PM, I thought was I going to crack, but I maintained and got so much done that I feel like a new person.
Despite all the goals I had lain out for myself, I did not get the novel completed by my 25th birthday. I got a very rough draft completed on October 2nd, which, while still being some kind of accomplishment, was still not what I wanted. I wanted a full manuscript when I turned 25. I wanted to be able to look at and say, “Wow! Look what you did!” as a birthday present to myself. Instead, when I realized that my goal simply was not feasible, I spent the day playing old video games (Mario N64 is too much fun, BTW) and got the rough draft completed a week later, once the heat was no longer weighing on my shoulders. Unfortunately, the strain of doing so much writing in a short period of time took its toll on me and that, combined with what I deemed as complete failure, kept from even looking at the thing for the majority of October.
In the past week, however, the writing bug as bit once again, inspired in part by NaNoWriMo. My initial goal for NaNoWriMo was to get a more complete draft ready and finish my Harry fic, but honestly, if I can just get through the rest of the draft by November 30th, I’ll be happy. If I can stick to that goal, I should still be in line with having a manuscript ready to start sending to agents by the New Year. If I don’t, however, it will still be okay.
If I’ve learned anything in the past month, it is that I worry myself into a depression over things that are completely beyond my control and all of these personal deadlines are just unnecessarily stressing me out for no real reason. The novel is going to get completed. Someone, somewhere, at some point in time, will want it and it will eventually get published by one means or another. I just need to calm down and regain some of my patience.
I had thought (or agonized over, whichever) that the beginning of the novel was going to need a complete rewrite, to the point that I thought the whole project should be scrapped. The review, however, is proving to be in much better shape that I originally thought and flows quite smoothly with the rest of what I had written.
Right now I am focusing on creating the most enticing first chapter possible; enough information so that the reader has an idea of what is going on, but leaving out enough details to keep the reading wanting to continue. It has been incredibly difficult to write in this vein because there is so much that I want to “tell” to help the reader understand why things are the way they are, but I’ve recently read in an agent’s blog that all these “telling” details are many times meaningless simply because a reader could easily forget everything I’ve “told them” at the times when it would be helpful for them to have this knowledge. Again, it all comes down to show versus tell, but really “a bit of tell interspersed with enough show to let the reader know I’m not simply dictating to them.” All in all, the review has been as fun as it is frustrating.
With the house infinitely cleaner than it was when I woke up today, I think this new burst of energy might be one I can maintain for a bit. I’m not only happier and more enthusiastic about all my projects (I joined a gym today, heaven help me!), but I am also gaining the peace that I had so sorely sought when I was 24.