Keeping Me Honest
When I decided to run my first marathon, I read every article I could find about how to prepare. More than one recommended telling everyone you knew and their families about your plan. That way, on the days when you wanted another 30 minutes of sleep instead of a run, you could remind yourself that someone was bound to ask about your training. Involving others as unofficial supports and monitors gives some external pressure to what is ultimately a solitary and personal quest.
Writing is similar to long distance running in many ways and this blog has been a great way to keep me honest and focused. In fact, in a recent post, Laurie asked about my progress toward my goal of finishing my novel(s) by my birthday, which is two weeks from yesterday.
Am I going to meet my goal? Nope - not a chance. Am I upset about it? Not really, because I'm making more progress than I would have had I not set the goal in the first place. In my chick lit novel, I've written a lot of 2-page pieces, gotten better ideas about the characters, and realised that the floundering plot is what's holding me up. A little outlinging, some storyboarding, and I should be good to go. New goal - finish it before NaNoWriMo in November.
The rewrite of my first novel is both literally and figuratively another story altogether. I had a writing mentor who once confessed that when she realised she was thinking about her third novel as a boil she had to lance, walking away from it was the only option. That's how I feel about Flying Close to the Ground - I've chopped it up into all these scenes and shuffled them around and tried to find a better way to tell the story, but it's stubbornly refusing to be told. So it's time to walk away and give the story some space. We're "on a break" for at least the next few months.
I think now, for the rest of the summer and the fall, the goal is to focus on the chick lit (whose working title is Being Katie which I suspect might be a shade lame) and research and outline my NaNoWriMo book (which is going to be middle-grade fiction and I'm very excited about it).
The other thing that focusing on the goal gave me was permission to let the blog slide a bit. In a way, I think that may have improved the blog, or at the very least my attitude toward it. Instead of seeing it as a chore - something I had to do a certain number of days a week - I've been able to see it more as a privilege. Reducing the quantity has (I hope you agree) increased the quality as I only write when I really have something to say. Good thing I'm the quiet type, huh?