For a minute before I started writing this, I couldn’t remember the last time I wrote something.
I’m fairly sure that’s why I’m here, actually. There was a long time when writing was just a hobby, second to art and school and tv and many other things, but ever since I sat down last January and decided to be a writer I’ve been pretty decent at keeping tabs on my work. I might not always have met my word goals – in those first few months I didn’t give much of a shit about word goals – but I knew when I was meeting them and when I was cheating, and all of those things in between.
The fact that, upon closer reflection, it’s only been three days since I last contributed to my novel doesn’t make my inability to remember it any less distressing.
I’m so damn close to being done with the first draft of this thing, and it’s been such a good run lately! It was slow going in the beginning, writing with characters I’d gotten used to keeping safely in the back of my head where I could stare at them and pet them and not actually have to do any work. It took a lot of work to get them to start actually doing anything for me, and I wasn’t sure I could turn the scattered collection of tropes and plot threads and hopes into something cohesive and valuable. It was months before I was able to do anything more than grit my teeth and power through my thousand words at lunch, and then I broke through the wall and started writing 1500, two thousand, and the plot started flowing and it was glorious. Chapters raced past me like street lamps on a highway, and I’ve been staring at the finish line for the last two weeks thinking ‘hey, this is it, you’re almost there’. I was all set to be done by August.
And then work came and kicked my ass, as work will do from time to time, and all of a sudden I’m exhausted and just objectively lacking free time, and the 15000 words I thought I had left to go, less than a week’s work if I was good, suddenly seems like Mount freaking Everest.
I don’t feel guilty.
That in and of itself is a huge relief, because I’m self-actualized enough that I would feel guilty if I was just putting off writing to do frivolous indulgent things, but it isn’t really an answer. Sure, I’m overworked beyond the point of functioning creativity, and no, I’m not to blame for that, but it won’t actually get the book written any faster and oh how I want it done. I want to finish this thing so that I can go back and start looking it over again, see where I thought I was when I began and see what it’ll take to get that starting point in line with the ending I’m moving toward. I can’t do that if I never actually hit that ending, though, and I won’t hit the ending until I can pull myself together enough to write.
I think my logic here might be that if I can’t work on my novel, at least I’d better put words down on a page. I’m not sure how sound I actually believe this philosophy to be, however; there is only so much held in common, between 700 words of bleary, self-indulgent ramblings and my traditional thousand words of structured narrative. If I were to write the fight scene I’m currently embroiled in the way I’m writing this entry, Gwen and Forbes would get half way through killing the snow leopard and then forget what they were doing there, decide they were hungry, and go for fish and chips and just leave the entire plot behind in the snow with the cat.
Putting words on a page is not always the same thing as writing.
Which, well, if I’ve realized that, means that maybe I did get something valuable out of this little exercise after all!
“I don’t want to sound disparaging,” Forbes commented, “but I’m not sure the gun is really the way you want to be going right now. Not that you’re not a fantastic shot …”
She made a face.
“What, should I go for my rapier?” She began to holster the pistol as she talked, though, even as she narrowed her eyes at his blade. The bracelet felt tight and warm around her wrist. “Where did you get that thing, anyway?”
“Called a scabbard,” he said cheerfully.