Thinks have been progressing very, very slowly with respect to these edits. I really shouldn’t be surprised any more.
It took me a long time to figure out how write a half-way, not-entirely-crappy novel. Like, a long time. And much of that involved me running away from it, singing tra-la-la the entire way.
There has been much tra-la-la-la-la-ing the last few weeks of February. Suddenly Netflix starts streaming endless Kids in the Hall and I am reading novels like a mad-woman — all to avoid the read-thru and the edits of BLOOD.
Much of that, methinks, has to do with my experiences in school. I was the smart kid. I picked up stuff fast and I got used to just having the right answer without working all that hard for it. But when I came up against things where I didn’t have the right answer or I couldn’t do it perfectly (or near enough) the first time out, I wouldn’t do it at all. Or if I did, I would procrastinate for as long as possible. Better to blame your procrastination than either inability or lack of knowledge.
Ah, the lies we tell ourselves. Anyways …
Older now (and fractionally wiser), I know that new skills take time to build. It took me for what like felt for forever to get the hang of writing something novel-length and though I understand that what I’ve done it isn’t going to win any awards, knowing I can write a full draft was a victory on its own.
But I’ve begun the next apprenticeship — editing — and all those old fears are back. I’m going to get it wrong.
Hence, tra-la-la-la-la-ing. Can’t do something wrong if it’s never attempted.
But that’s the old me, fearful/scared/small/coward me. I can’t talk that way, can’t think that way. Brave me is right there. She is so close. I can almost reach out to her and I need her so badly. I can’t do this without her. I wish to god I could be her all the time. I have spent too many years being the old me. If I’m her for the rest of my life, then turn me to dust right now, let me be blown away on the wind, because none of it will have mattered worth a damn.
She is, however, leaving me hints.
I’ve started a new pattern that I hope will see me through the rest of the month and through the rest of the read-thru. Instead of trying to crush through the whole read-thru in a couple of days (something I have failed miserably at for the last few weeks), I’m setting aside an hour each morning, before I do anything else, to read. I have been having a lot of success reading it at the library, but I can’t just go there every day. Committing 1 hour to it after a good day of reading at the library seems to be working so far, though it’s early days. (Like, the first!)
The rest of it — the story, the characters, the setting — is settling back into mind again. Up next I plan on doing some free-writing on each of the main characters, little scenelets, I suppose, that won’t be used outright but might get cannibalized to support other scenes. And it helps, frankly, that I’m in a section where I don’t hate the writing so much. Yes, there are parts that need smoothing, need massaging, but I like what’s happening and I want to make it better.
A much better frame of mind to be in, especially as an apprentice.