Monday, May 14, 2018


Since my last post, there has been some indication of life in the WIP. I have the comments to thank, in part, but also mindfulness that baby steps really are the most important, sometimes.

After a week at work that was extremely difficult - not because the work was hard, but thanks to office politics which demand emotional and professional bandwidth I don't have these days - I've returned for a new week with my head down and my feet steady. You have to keep your ambitions small when things are overwhelming, and a week that ends with the advice to document difficulties is overwhelming.

So the WIP may be viewed as a saving grace - something for my brain and soul to resort to, which is "under my control" (cue the laugh track of every author I know enjoying the idea they "control" their writing). Well, perhaps it is just a refuge - a puzzle to work under stress, a world outside the one I have to occupy day-to-day. A promise to be winkled out.

A week ago, it was scary facing the dragon, but right now it is oddly satisfying to contemplate going at something so big. With work being just as daunting, the strange truth is that the butter knife is turning out to be an unexpectedly efficacious tool.

The thing is to see it as a TOOL, rather than a weapon.

I don't want to kill a dragon. I want to write a book. It does seem rather fighting-a-beast terrifying, given that I have been out of the world I want to build for so long, but thanks to perspective and a certain assist from Jeff Sypeck, I realize that not only is this not a fight ... the fact is, it's an enterprise I can take or leave, and that somehow makes me want to claim it, to get the best of it, to create something remarkable.

Or just create something.

Whatever the words, the point is *motivation* - something I have not had for six months, really.

As with the WIP, so goes the job. I'm off my game - even just cognitively, my mom and I both are up against forgetting things, being blankly unable to identify how to deal with things, the recurring embarrassment of displaying our sieve-brains. It's pretty giddy, but I have trust that it is temporary. You have to.

And you have to work for a living. And, if you're a writer, you have to write. You don't have to publish, but you have to *write*.

And so. I entered my credentials for the expense system at work. All I'll need to do to start that item on my to-do list is hit "enter" when that bubbles up to the top of said list.

I sorted piles. I knew which pile is the easily-dispatched stuff, and I knew which pile I had to defer for today. It left me with a nice proportion of stuff I knew could be managed. I managed it. Printed nameplates. Scanned uploads. Scanned several small things to email to specific people. Deferred the items I'll have to scan and share around looking for who should see it. Laid out two FedExes. I'll enter credentials for that in the morning.

It sounds, perhaps, unbearably elementary, but it's just conscious inrementals I usually implement every day without the consciousness part:

What is routine is now something I have to think about, but that doesn't mean it's not advancing.

Inevitably, this is where I get all writerly and point out that it's the same for the WIP. Ooh, meta.

But it's true. Opening the doc can be a step, but of late it's not enough. One window amongst others can be ignored, so - having realized that research is my entry point - I squared off with the manuscript and found a piece of research I could manage. It is so vanishingly small it may seem silly: but, it was an image, already followed by the character description it inspired. I deleted the image.

That is work on a manuscript. Tiny work? Undoubtedly. But it is "in there", and "in" is where I wanted to be. Right?

This led me on to a more substantial idea, which might get very exciting indeed. The WIP having been born out of research for The Ax and the Vase, there are relics of that novel in this one. I put them in place in the years when WIP was related to Ax, even if it never was a "sequel" in my mind. And ... the stunningly obvious fact has at last pierced my callused brain, which is: that work is not relevant to this work.

My next step may be some deletions. If I ever feel the need to refer back to anything in Ax, I always have that manuscript available. But that may be absurd conjecture.

In the meantime: deletion is work. It is "in." I want to be in. So some extensive surgery could feel really good.

Leila: remember the time you got me to cut 60 pages out of Ax? I will think of you with a bloodthirsty smile as I get to slicing again.

The butterknife is a tool. Which can do a great deal, in the right hands (and when you know where to apply it).

It's pretty exciting.

I'm coming back to life. Not from death. Just from a long detour.

Thanks to Jeff and Leila, especially, for helping me find the path - and maybe lighting fires under my posterior.


Leila said...

Just remember you are a badass and amazing. Hmmm, I wonder if that image is a writer series of photos, editing with sharp implements. Bwhahahaha.

DLM said...

Oh, I am amazing - but people are so forgiving about that! It is kind. :P

We could always create those photos. Just sayin'.