That’ll do, Pig

Today I was supposed to work on paid posts, and instead, I decided to edit the book and then I took a nap and recorded two podcasts I had scripted last week. My batteries are drained right now, and though I had tried to edit a little bit more, the words are all just mushing together. So, I’m going to spend the last bit of my energy to post here.

I cut through the last chapters of the first 1/3 of my book. I gutted a lot of stuff. I decided one plot point really wasn’t that important. I might come back to it in subsequent drafts, but really I was just sick of that character and needed to end it. I was getting bogged down in the details. The character needed to make their departure and it was done for the sake of pacing. By cutting out that one detail, I was able to compress three different scenes and really bring out another scene that was more important.

Onward and upward with the next section! I can already tell that the writing here is more solid. The story is coherent, focused. I can work on things like technique and threading storylines together. Flashbacks. Parallels. Themes. Developing characters and their story arcs. The first part was mostly just to set the stage, make a connection, and like beginnings, it was a little rough. I’ll smooth that out in future drafts.

When I was recording my podcasts, I had to turn off my floor heater because of background noise. I just realized now why my legs are cold. It’s kinda neat when I figured out that I hadn’t even noticed being cold. I was putting things together, doing good work, and just in the zone. It would be awesome to make a living doing this kind of thing. In just under two weeks, I have eight episodes and 58 downloads and climbing. Here’s the link for Spotify Here’s the link for ApplePodcasts. That’s all I’ve got left in me for links tonight.

The other day, I watched the Jonah Hill documentary, Stutz, where he interviews his therapist. He had a lot of good things to say which helped this whole process of being a creative. Particularly what we attach ourselves to as far as self-worth and work go. He said there are three things we all have to experience as human beings. Pain, Uncertainty, and knowing that there will always be more work to do. Sometimes people, like me, have a hard time even getting out of bed. We see the constant work as unsurmountable. Pointless if it keeps coming and there is no reward to it. Stutz seemed to take a stoic approach that the work is its own reward sometimes. He had a theory he called the string of pearls, which has helped lately. The idea of it is that you look at everything you need to do during the day as a pearl on a strand. No pearl is more important than the next. Your goal is to just take each moment of your day and add it to the string. Starting with getting out of bed. And in each pearl is the crap you have to deal with. So each pearl is good and bad, encapsulated.

I think today I strung enough pearls together. In a few minutes I’m going to go to bed, hopefully exhausted enough to just fall asleep. Penny has already come in twice to tell me to come to bed. She’s been laying out in front of the furnace, and her fur is nice and toasty warm. Her nose is cold and wet, and she keeps using it to nudge me. Dad! It’s time for bed!

I think I did enough today. I didn’t put the pearls of paid assignment writing on the string today, but I did something that gave me a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment. The book is moving forward. The story is being told. I understand now that the story doesn’t have to be told as everything happened. I can work the story like clay and it can become something else with the same lessons learned. The same growth.

That’s all I’ve got in me for tonight.

Such weight

Last night was a big night for writing. I got 3500 words (maybe more) down in the book. I also finished reading a resource for the travel blog and by the time I passed out at around 2am, I was ready to start the whole thing over again today, bright and early.

The crazy thing about writing, for me at least, is how when you are in it, you don’t want to stop. It’s like a runner’s high almost. The words just flow. But as I sit here this morning, with a kernel of an idea in my mind, there is that resistance that I have to overcome. That piece that says what I’m going to write is going to be garbage and I’m just making more work for myself, or worse yet, wasting my time.

Steven Pressfield goes on about this at length in his books. He calls Resistance the one true evil force in this world, and you know, I think he is right. But it’s more than Resistance, it’s a weight you feel. For me, I have the weight of writing the book and also the weight of getting out there and marketing myself for freelance gigs, travel writing, and pitching places to visit. I also have a few more books I need to read. That alone is tough, since for most of my life, reading has always been a sign that you don’t have anything better to do.

Even in college it was hard to escape that feeling. What? You want me to read 1000 pages by the end of the week? Yes, I know I’m an English major, but I’ve got stuff to do. Work. Other classes. Parties. I just don’t have time. Even though the entire point of some of my classes were to read the books they gave us, more often than not I found myself falling asleep as I read them, or just faking it in discussion the next day and getting decent grades anyway. So when I tell myself that part of my job as a writer is to also READ, it’s often very hard. It just doesn’t feel like work. It feels like screwing around.

Also, my kid and my dog take strong positions against my just sitting there quietly reading when I should be entertaining them.

Sometimes it feels like there aren’t enough hours in a day and if I do what I want at that moment, such as today, which is to work on the book, I feel like it’s Wednesday and then I get this moment of panic that says the week is burning off and I need to send out some more queries or pitches. Those take more brain power than writing the book, if you can believe that. As does writing copy for companies.

Resistance is one thing, but sometimes it feels like I’m trying to push too many cows through the chute at once. Then it’s hard to get any one thing accomplished. Working for yourself is much different than sitting on your ass at a desk all day, waiting for someone to drop an assignment on your lap and throwing an arbitrary deadline at you while they bugger off to Thailand or something.

I don’t miss that one bit, but sometimes it’s a little unnerving to think that I have to work twice as hard if I want to be my own boss.

So, today I’m going to do what I can. I’ll start off with what I’m inspired to do and then work in the stuff I have to do later when the creative process is still warmed up.