Happy New Year!
I thought I would first write about taking breaks, since that is what I just did. I took time off from the blog over the holidays in order to conquer a mountain of work. (In addition to writing, I run my own business, VoType Editorial and Transcription Services. This year, many of my clients had projects they needed me to finish by the end of the year.)
I also finished a first draft of a manuscript the Saturday after Thanksgiving. In On Writing, Stephen King recommends setting aside first drafts for several months before picking them up again. I couldn't bear to wait that long. Two weeks is my limit.
During that time, I still worked on my writing. I spent at least fifteen minutes a day brainstorming on other projects. I read books and watched films that I thought would inspire me in my work ahead on my draft. At the end of the fourteen days, I printed my draft and read it. My first conclusion? The conclusion does not work.
Do you know those lines that you fall in love with and then you realize later that it's perhaps flip, perhaps private humor that others might not find so hilarious? The end of my first draft left the reader hanging. Sure, I plan to write a sequel. However, I do not possess the patience where I could wait until both books were done before I released them out to the world. So I needed to dream up a new ending.
It seemed clear to me what it should be. I had tackled enough of my mountain of work that I felt comfortable working on my writing every day again, for fifteen minutes to an hour. So I set to work. It was extremely painful. Fifteen minutes seemed like an eternity. I knew exactly what I wanted to write. It just seemed very difficult to put it on a page. I told myself that I was rusty. After I would wrote for a few days in a row, I would loosen up again. But that didn't happen.
Then one day I sat down to write, and I realized what now seems obvious. What I thought was the ending was actually the beginning of the second book. Once I realized that, the true ending presented itself in my head, and this time, it was easy to write down.
In the days that followed, I started again from the beginning of the manuscript, reimagining and revising as I go. I am still in that process. How long will I be here? I think I will finish this iteration some time in February, and then I will have to set it aside once again. Will it then be time for readers? Will I need to go through it again? Right now I'm not sure. It's not time to know.
This week, I also returned to the blog. I expected to post something earlier in the week. I tried. For one post, I couldn't make the technology work. I wanted to attach a video to accompany what I wrote, and the file was too big to post, and the text really needed the video. So that had to be scrapped. Everything else I wrote I didn't like. My voice didn't sound right. Perhaps my blog muse is ticked off. I really can't blame her. I did abandon her over the holidays. I understood why I did. When I'm in a place with much work and tight deadlines, I have to stay in a very focused “get it done” mode which is at complete odds the “I want to explore some ideas, and I have no idea how long it will take” journey of writing blog posts. Now, things remain busy with my day job. I'm back, but I'm going to just post once a week this year instead of my original intent of twice-a-week postings. It has felt rough to return, but I'm glad to be here. I will try to stay true.