Remember That You’re A Writer

To recap: I have started a retelling of Sleeping Beauty, which, I have no doubt, is very different from every version you’ve ever heard, seen, or read. I wanted to finish writing my first draft by Tax Day and have it published as an ebook later this year.

I realized a few days ago: I’m doing it wrong.

I don’t mean that I don’t want to publish it as an ebook or have it done by this year. Here is what I mean –

I’ve been obsessing over my plans for the end product (i.e. something that does not yet exist) instead of focusing on the process of writing. Yes, while I’m actually putting words to the page I’m thinking about writing it, but the rest of the time I’m just thinking about publishing. And it’s great to have goals and plans for your work, because otherwise, what’s the point of writing at all? Right?

Wrong. The writing itself is the point for all born writers. We want to have our work published because we want others to read our work, but let’s be honest – we write without the promise of ever being published, even if we expect that one day we will.

I’m going back to the core and just writing the project. I’m not setting deadlines for finishing the whole book or publishing it. I am going to write, a page at a time, and make this story something I can be very proud to publish. I want there to be no question of my talent and effort when I send this thing out into the world. It’s not ready yet, and I may have been putting too much pressure on it by giving it a coming-out date too early. It will be better if I coax it out slowly. I’ll let the story unfold, see what emerges in the first draft, work hard on the first round of revisions, and THEN we’ll talk about publishing the damn thing.

In the meantime, I plan to start doing some research about self-publishing and ebooks, so that when I do start figuring out what to do with Sleeping Beauty, I’m not just launching myself blind into a vast and judgmental world.

Toil and Trouble

In so many ways, February was a bust. I generally look forward to February, but I don’t usually expect to get all that much done. There’s always something distracting about the month… when I was in school it was winter vacation (and wanting to spend as much time in leisure activities as possible), in college it was the end of Field Work Term and the beginning of Spring term.

I didn’t reach my goals for the daily average. I only wrote during a minority of the total days in February, and the end result barely works out to over a page a day. It’s pathetic, if I think about how much I could have gotten done. I had a lot of days of uselessness. I am planning to let it go and focus on writing more from this point so that I can finish at least most of the book by my deadline of tax day. I will publish this book this year. I have decided. But, as usual, I’m behind, so I’ll need to find a way to guarantee productivity…

And then there’s Morning Pages. Remember how I mentioned that I often forgot about them? Well, I forgot about them for approximately two whole weeks – maybe longer. I was keeping my Morning Pages journal downstairs to use while I waited for my coffee to brew. It ended up under the living room table with a pile of my things and I completely forgot it was there. I guess it will take slightly longer than I thought to build up that habit. I will prevail tomorrow!

 

Now for the life front. In case you wondered, I am still looking for a job. My work at the moment is minimal. I barely get calls and I can’t take all the shifts I’m offered, so I am making a sad excuse for an income at the moment. There seems to be a high likelihood that because I’ve been in this situation for so long, possible employers won’t see any evidence that I can do well working full time in an office… but I think that part of the reason I’ve been so unproductive is that the work I have now never challenges me enough to wake up my brain. I need challenges other than constant stress about finances. Don’t we all?

Someone is always out there to tell you some version of “you create your circumstances.” I am sure there is some truth or other to that, but there are a lot of things I can’t control. I can’t help that what I want isn’t practical at the moment, and the employers that should be recognizing someone worth hiring keep overlooking me… it never used to take me so long to come across the right path. Now it seems like I’m very lost. What’s up with that?