I’ve finished edits on the first four chapters of my book. In order to stay on track with the YA challenge, I need to get another chapter and a half written by the end of this week. I feel a bit like I was floating in the shallows and now I’m standing on the edge of the reef looking into the deep ocean. This is because the first four chapters have already been worked over quite a bit. Many of these new edits were simply to incorporate more of the world-building and research that I’ve been doing, along with nit-picky changes (like which is better in this sentence, dogged or resolute?). But the rest of the book needs some serious work.
By the time I got to the end of my first draft, the plot and characters had changed so substantially from the beginning that now I’m really going to be writing a new first draft. This irks me. But there’s nothing for me to do, but write it. Then I can get to the re-writing process again, which I enjoy.
I’ve been thinking lately that I’m in a new creative phase. Last year I had to finally believe for myself that I was really a writer. I had to commit to it in my heart and then carry that commitment over to my life and come out to my family.
“I have something to tell you. I’m a fantasy writer. No, it’s not a phase. I love goblins and elves and nasty Victorian monsters. And I always have.”
This year it’s no longer enough to write a few hours a day when I have the time. I need to increase my daily work, even if it means less sleep or less time spent doing leisure stuff. I can be lazy and stubborn about my personal time and I usually keep my evening hours for reading and sleeping. (I love to sleep – eight hours a day if I can get it.) But I have commitments now, not just commitments to my novel, but to short stories and web projects and to other writers. With summer vacation coming, I can no longer be lackadaisical about my work. I’m going to have to squeeze it in where ever I can to make my goals.
This evolution into Phase 2 is interesting to me. This blog started out as a call to other creative people to acknowledge that their creativity exists and to do something about it. I feel like I’m past that now. Now it’s about the long haul – working every day and seeing progress and knowing that it’s just part of the larger picture of the creative life. Now I’m looking for ways to sustain that creative drive in the rest of my life – to bring it all together so that my writing is woven into everything else.