Just Can’t Wait To Get On The Page, Again
I’m writing to you from the distant past, to whit: yesterday morning. By the time you read this, I’ll be retrieving Wee Dave and Wee-er Dave, and heading to the transpo hub to acquire Mom Dave. That completed, we’ll head in a direction to lodge for the night at a southerly cousin’s locale. I’m looking forward to this. I’m told there’s a yurt. From there, we’ll head in easy stages eastward through various terrain to ultimately land with Mrs. Dave’s parents at their farm of a much higher elevation. (If I push this too hard, the naming conventions are going to get obnoxious.) The littles will tromp with Grammie while Gramps and I stalk some prey. Should be fun.
Life in Fortress Dave proceeds apace. Like usual. Wee Dave was remanded into my care when his teachers wouldn’t have him in class anymore, ever, for a few days at least. Of course, they refused to have anybody in class, so he’s no more special than he was, but Writing Time turned into Man Time while they had professional time. What about Dave? What about Dave’s professional time? *shakes fist*
It’s happened before, of course. Three-quarters of the way into a book, it suddenly appears to me as a huge, lifeless pile of words. The ending is not credible. The characters won’t talk to me. I should probably give up even trying to write.
The difference is, in earlier times there were constraints that forced me to go on and finish the book anyway. I usually had a contract. A delivery date. An editor who was expecting a book bearing at least a passing resemblance to the synopsis she’d signed off on.
Not to mention a nice chunk of money to be paid on delivery of the completed manuscript, and a mortgage payment that the bank was going to expect to see no matter how I felt about the matter.
Writing indie has meant flying free of all these constraints, and for the most part I’ve loved it. I’ve been writing faster and more happily than I did back when every word had to be filtered through an editor’s belief about what readers would like.
Two weeks ago I wrote about being derailed and muscling the train back onto the tracks. Then I got sick again, and stopped writing again. And now I’m looking at the manuscript that’s been just lying there limply for nearly five weeks, and I’m seeing a huge lifeless pile of words. I look at my synopsis – my map of how to get to the end – and all I can see is a heap of rocks lying across the road. And the old motivators aren’t there any more. I haven’t promised this book to anyone, nobody’s going to be peeved with me if I throw it away, there’s no guaranteed financial reward for finishing, and thank goodness the mortgage is paid off.
Freedom. If I really believe this project is hopeless, there’s absolutely nothing to stop me from dumping this book and starting a new project? Except – as soon as I think that, the voices of despair switch from “This is a terrible book” to “You don’t have any good ideas.” So evidently they will not be satisfied with anything less than my total defeat. Well, good. At least I know where I am now. I’m not looking at a dispassionate critique of this partial book; I’m looking at the personal demons that want me to stop doing anything at all.
Time to start moving rocks.
We’re late! We’re late! For a very important date! Or post on MGC, anyway. We are not late yet for taking off on a research trip, which is going to involve multiple museums, and a good chunk of the trail that Walt Ames is going to travel with some horses back in 1870-something (Peter could tell you the exact year. Just as he can tell you exactly who was in command of every little border post and fort, and when they left on the trip, so Walt Ames can do a deal that’s more amenable with their fill-in…) Read more
I’m crossing my fingers while writing this that the internet will hold on long enough for me to post it. Since the Great Outage, I’ve bought a new router, jumped through more network hoops than I care to think about, worked ten hours a day at the day job with the exception of the day I drove the Junior Mad Scientist into the city for an appointment, and even that day I didn’t arrive home until late, and had dental work done. Still, the ‘net is iffy at best. Today, it is hoped, a technician shall arrive and figure it out, because I’m stymied.
They tell you to write every day, and that’s a very good habit to develop. However, since most of us live in this messy place called Real Life, it’s seldom possible to follow that advice literally. The babysitter just quit, the ten-year-old broke his arm, the nursing home has an emergency with your father, the kitchen caught fire, the garage roof fell in… Only someone completely without human connections and supplied with a large staff of perfect servants gets to be that rigid about rules.
I think most of the people who are sufficiently interested in writing to read a blog like this come as close as humanly possible to writing every day, even if Real Life does force them into some complicated detours. Read more
I’m sitting on the porch to write this. It’s a lovely morning, just a touch of cool, not enough to make me want a sweater, just a beautiful late-summer morning promising a warm day later. So why am I on the porch, not at my desk? Welll…. and why didn’t I write this last night, which I had every intention of doing on my way home from work? Well…