(50 pages + 27, 682 words + one outline) x (tears + hard work) – a bit of confidence = completely confused but moving. This is where I find myself after two Saturdays committed to working on my book. A lot of what’s been happening is moodling, “imagination needs moodling – long, inefficient, happy idling, dawdling and puttering,” (Brenda Ueland). Add to that lots of avoidance, at least one distinct crisis of faith and one meltdown, and you have a good sense of what I’ve been doing.
Writing a book is hard. I know, “d’uh.” No shit, Sherlock. Thank you, Captain Obvious. I’ve heard it a million times, that it’s not for the faint of heart, and that you really have to want it, that it’s hard and it’s going to hurt. I get it, but it’s the tiniest bit different when you are alone in a room staring right into the dark eyes of the thing with teeth, close enough to smell the stink of its breath, knowing full well it has every intention of devouring you–way more terrifying when it’s finally real. I want to walk into the center of my heart, reach that raw and tender place where the story lives, and make a map for anyone who wants to do the same, but it’s going to be rough.
Last week, I began by working through some exercises from Cynthia Morris. I used two posts from her Claim Your Authority series: One Powerful Practice That Makes Writers Happy and Target the Heart of Your Book to Write More Easily. I got clear about my own values, the themes I want to focus on, and made an outline. After all that work, that diving in deep, I was happy to find that my initial instincts where exactly right, spot on–so after all that, nothing had really changed. I’m still writing the same exact book I originally imagined.
Today, I collected all the writing I’d already done. I spent most of my time trying to organize what’s already typed up into a single file, which is where the 50 pages + 27, 682 words number comes from. That is, I did that after I had a tiny meltdown. Yup, I flopped down in my dark bedroom and cried, convinced I couldn’t do it, that I was going to chicken out and quit, give up, FAIL. When I was done, I got up, came into my office and started writing.