Writer’s Gotta Write

IMG_20150116_200717Yesterday, February 7th, was one year since I typed the first sentence of Circling.  Back then it was called, “The Keys,” and the first sentence is no longer the first sentence, but it was a monumental day for me.  I consider this day to be my writer’s birthday. On February 7th, I left a part of myself behind – mostly fear – and entered a whole new world. I typically celebrate writing accomplishments with a steak and a bourbon.  I was far from home last night, so I kept it to a steak and Shiraz, and it was lovely.

In 365 days I have written and edited and edited and edited and edited and edited and edited and fucking rewritten and edited Circling. (< – – is an accurate assessment of my drafts). I wrote and edited and edited Forever Falling. The second book was a hell of a lot easier to write than the first.

What all of you published authors know (independent or otherwise), the lesson that I am just learning, is that getting a novel in front of readers – covers, promo content, a marketing plan, tech, all of this – is about as tricky as a first draft and not nearly as fun.

I have been adamant about not starting the third novel in this series of four, until Circling and Forever Falling are in your hands.  I can’t keep all these balls in that air.  I am a terrible juggler. The waking up at 3:00 a.m., worrying that John and Anna will destroy each other, blends with waking at 3 a.m., considering how and if Callum and Victoria can find happiness together.  I can’t add a third story to the mix.  So… I am not writing. I am not writing at all.  I am selecting cover art and considering promotion strategies and researching conferences. But I am not writing at all.  I haven’t blogged since I fell down the mountain after New Year’s Day. (I really fell down on the mountain, but the other is such a better sentence. I would prefer to say fell off the mountain, but it is a lie).

The real problem is that I am waking less and less at 3:00 a.m.  I complain a lot about my insomnia.  I hadn’t slept more than three consecutive hours since February 7th, 2014. This morning I slept straight through to 5:00 a.m., woke, glanced at my notifications and went right back to sleep til 7:00 a.m.  My mind is turning to mush.  IMG_20150127_102839I’ve started watching Grey’s Anatomy again and actually looking at the screen. I’ve been cooking and shopping and showering daily.  This has got to stop!  I long for those days I was taking in 900 calories a day, popping a Xanax to get 5 hours of sleep and writing 10,000 words a day.  If I am 100% honest I can say there is probably no better feeling in the world than those days of insanity, pushing a story.  On the planet, how many of us can do it, have done it, and strive to do it again?

So here I am at Starbucks… part of the early crowd for the first time in almost two months.  Truly the Circling rewrite kicked my ass.  I probably needed a break after that, but the break is done. After this is posted, I’ll start the final edit of Forever Falling and then onto book 3.  That will be a joyous day! As we all know… a writer’s gotta write.

How is your W.I.P.?  Challenges, successes?  Share it and let’s commiserate and celebrate.

I seem to be playing this song constantly.  It isn’t my usual but it has really gotten under my skin.  It seems like a good song for beginnings…

 

Laser Sharp Focus

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Just a quickie today. I’m trying to maintain a laser sharp focus on these Circling rewrites. It is going well. The writing is getting stronger without the characters relying on the omniscient narrator to tell their story. But it is slow going.

In my laser sharp focus I have bought… oh no… I think I have bought five CDs in the last ten days. Oh no, it was six. Rush, Led Zeppelin,  Smiths, Smiths again, Brian Ferry and a Lenny Kravitz. I started a Tumblr blog (for literally no reason). I seem to have taken up cooking again. I ran out of red wine Tuesday night and faked a full grocery shop so I wouldn’t look like a drunk buying six bottles of red at 9 p.m.

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As much as I enjoy editing,  when it gets this technical, the excitement dims. The story is well laid, characters well defined, setting well imagined. I like that part more.

When I wrap this up, Circling and Forever Falling will go to copyedit together. And I can begin the third! I am living for that day.

Those first key strokes… that is my favorite day.

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Straight Women in Love

I have work wife.  Usually a work wife comes with a work husband. Ours isn’t so much a lesbian relationship (although we do enjoy a good flirt) as a professional relationship based on deep, mutual respect, understanding and a great deal of enjoyment. At work I am blessed with a group, a crew, a posse so to speak.  We even have a catchy nickname and it is a Fight Club situation — no one speaks it aloud. We are three women and two men. I love this group, but the five started as two. Me and my work wife.

Work relationships are funny. You can’t be completely honest and open with co-workers at every level. Parity is important. Then there is trust and trust can be challenging professionally.  You can’t tell anything to a gossip, or someone with no backbone that will fall to pressure, or a fool who craves validation.

Work relationships are all about taking, not so much about giving. Can you make me want to be here for 40+ hours a week?  Will you laugh at my jokes? Will you make me indispensable in your life? Will you recognize my personal greatness and figure out how to use me to the best of your professional advantage? Will you let me use you back? Can you make me laugh so hard I spit my coffee? On a really good day, can you make me laugh so hard I pee in my pants?  That is work love.

I can’t be myself with all women.  Aside from my disdain for all things requiring a ref, umpire, or any uniformed official, men get me more than women do. Or maybe I get men more than I get woman.  Men know that business is business. It isn’t personal. It is just business and it isn’t emotional. Men understand if you insult me, I’ll insult you back. Then we’ll laugh about it. Men find themselves very interesting conversationally.  My work wife and I share these philosophies.

Eight years ago we were hired in the same month. The last four years we have been hall mates and a close friendship developed. Two years ago I was promoted to her level and we essentially got married.  We work very closely together and I cannot imagine a better, more productive working relationship. We also really like each other. She is my person.

One week from today she will move on to a fantastic, new position.  It is an incredible opportunity, doing important work in our community. I applaud her and it is a standing ovation. Today was our last lunch, just the two of us, before we move into next week’s endless big group goodbye lunches, breakfasts, etc.  After lunch, I sat in my car and I was very… very… sad.

I don’t do sad well.  I am much better at writing sad characters.  Arm’s length is the best proximity to sadness for me. Still my eyes felt, sort of, well, rather leaky.

IMG950603Then it occurred to me how much my blue guest chair will miss her. She usually sits in my blue guest chair as opposed to me in hers, because my office is right by the door. She has sat in that blue guest chair while we plotted business, planned dozens of events, and edited zillions of projects. We worked on my more challenging plot points. We shared and counseled each other through endless family and friend crises and celebrations. Most importantly, we laughed and laughed and laughed.

My blue guest chair will be empty much more often now. We’ll get an occasional visitor, but it won’t be the same. People move on, but my blue guest chair will remain in its exact same spot for many years to come.

My blue guest chair will miss her very, very much.