Rememento Mori

I’ve finally got organised and created a new category for the WIP: Rememento Mori. It’s a wanky take on the phrase Memento Mori, which I’m sure you’ll remember is Latin for “remember you must die” or thereabouts. So Re-memento Mori is a play on this, Latin scholar that I am (not), and my wink-wink “remember that you must die…again.” Hopefully I’ve caught all the old posts with it now.

Speaking of… I’ve hit a hard patch in the revision, with new scenes that have felt awkward to write, and usually this is the place where I’d go ughhhhh and go off and play Skyrim for a bit. But I’ve got to get this baby in the bag, got to. So I’m pressing on. Up to page 78 in the revisions, with probably 50% of that new writing.

This part is hard. This is the bit where I find yourself wanting to clean toilets, do some sock knitting, and work on your taxes. Anything but the work. And not knowing even if people will respond positively to the book makes it even more of an unknown quantity.

Hopefully recording the process / progress of this will make for some interesting reading when I look back. Hopefully I’ll be able to draw some lessons from it and find ways to improve on the next book.

(Because, and here’s a dirty little secret, I have already started doing some pre-writing on book 2. It’s a million miles away from the current book and man, it feels wonderful to be thinking about something else. I do it when I’m upstairs and Leila is watching TV or pottering around. Revisions are downstairs, by myself, full concentration. This pre-writing feels like play. It’s wonderful.)

Elbow-deep in revisions

Over the weekend we went up to Silverstream to ride on the awesome steam train they run up there! File 21-03-2017, 16 02 33.jpeg

It was very cool – noisy, smelly, and sunny. Steve and I split a beer and we had a bacon and egg pie at the station, between rides on the train. Wee Moo loved it – especially because one of her friends from kindy was there with his family too!

Like the title says, I am in the thick of revisions at the moment. I’ve made it through all of the various analysis steps in the Holly Lisle “How to Revise Your Novel” course I signed up for, and I’m finally at the scissors-and-tape stage.

That’s right girlfriend!

Scissors.

And Tape.

One part of me really likes this process. I love extracting the good bits, physically chopping them out of the page and spreading them all out on the table in front of me. Taping them on to another bit of paper and scribbling all over it, somehow feels like progress:File 21-03-2017, 16 24 32.jpeg

It’s interesting though, that I feel a bit like I’m flying blind this way. I’m so used to reading on the screen that I find I’m saying to myself “we’ll see at the type-in,” as if I can’t really see how it looks and feels until it’s typed up. Strange, no?

This way also feels slow. I know it’s a class. I know it’s a particular process. I know I don’t need to do this forever. And in many ways the slowness is good. I feel like I’ve made a huge breakthrough in how I look at what I write. It no longer feels “stuck” to the page, unchangeable.

I just want this pass to be done – so much!

I felt the same way when I was finishing the first draft. It seemed to take an age to get there. (In fairness, because I had such a huge break halfway through, it bloody well did take an age!) It’s weird though, there’s this sense of something clicking into place inside and it’s like a horse bolting from the gate – I just want to be done with this and on to the next book, where I can avoid so many of the mistakes I made in the last book, and…

It’s kind of addictive, book writing.

The school holidays are looming large – four weeks away. I’m determined to switch up my night / morning routine and go to bed really early and get up really early for these two weeks, and not lose momentum on the book – and exercise! I recently downloaded the “Zombies, Run!” app – and it is fantastic. I’m already thinking about signing up for the next virtual race. Those tshirts are snazzy.

Speaking of great apps, I’m also really enjoying using Chris Fox’s 5,000 Words Per Hour app (iPhone only). It’s pretty basic (he says so himself) but tracks word sprints and different projects. It’s simple, but it works!

I’d write more but the cat is seriously BAYING for food now.

 

Back to it.

DSCF3407.JPG

Well, school holidays are over, and we are back to it. First day back to kindy, first day to sit down and address some of the work that was creating a (small) pile that needed to be looked at. First day getting back into old routines – and trying to start some new ones as well.

I’ve cracked out the revision binders, and forced myself to get through Lesson 4 of How To Revise Your Novel (Holly Lisle), which I had thought would be too hard, but I made myself wizz (whizz) through it and it was less painful than I’d imagined.

Apart from that – it was a great holiday, really. Lots of lazy days with the little love. A long weekend to Christchurch for a wedding (see above!!) and a great catch up with some cousins I haven’t had the chance to see in years.

Earlier this month I was feeling pretty “meh” about making new year plans. To be honest I felt really tired and uninspired. But some of that energy seems to be returning now. I’m trying to do daily yoga (thanks, Yoga With Adriene! Seriously my sort of yoga person. Funny and interesting and not showing you her handstands every two seconds.) I’m going to try and get into a daily blogging habit as well (look out!) as revisiting some of my old fiction ideas that were languishing and see if I can’t make them into something better.

Little steps! There’s no deadline for this stuff. It just makes me happy and so I want to keep doing it :)

Revision

Yikes – very overdue for an update. So, I finished!

file-04-11-2016-09-47-16

It was such an amazing feeling to just write “The End” after slogging away on this first draft for so long. Odd though, too, after my writing output just ramped up so crazily towards the end, to just…stop.

I knew it was a total mess though; the downside of working on something over such a relatively long period, was that there were so many inconsistencies and continuity problems, story threads and character arcs that dropped off, never to be picked up again…you know, the usual crappy newbie mistakes.

In any case, I’m slowly working my way through the manuscript at the moment (as you can see)! Highlighters and codes, and pages and pages of notes. I’m using Holly Lisle’s “How to Revise Your Novel” approach (as I seriously need some help on how to restructure a magnificent sprawl) and so far it’s been really useful.

First up: looking at places where a) the story fell apart, b) places where a character was either well-developed or something detracted from them, c) what worked / didn’t with world/description/exposition d) places where I skimmed, and e) bits I liked! Then, looking at promises, especially the unplanned ones. Both been very valuable filters to place over the story.

In any case, it’s Friday, and I’ve got the morning to myself! Schnell, schnell!

Progress, ho!

progress

Wow, just looking at this wordcount makes me feel good. I’m in the final approach to the end of the novel, which is a totally crazy feeling. I write, and then hit my target, and want to keep going. This downhill ride is totally making up for the uphill slog – all of the times this year and last year where I just sat at my laptop, going wha?

Regardless of how it reads, and how much doctoring I know the second draft is going to require, right now I don’t even care – I’m seriously elated!

Today at the cafe with Mark, I was re-reading an older passage, trying to get myself into the zone of a particular character’s story thread. All of a sudden, my brain just started filling in all of these blanks – things I’d been wondering about, basically ever since I started the story. I’d just been holding the questions sort of loosely in my head, and for some reason, today of all days was the day when my brain came to the party.

Do other people’s brains work like this? It’s seriously a trust thing, and so hard to do – to trust that you’ll eventually figure out the answers to the questions you’ve got when you first start writing. But at the same time it’s a great illustration of the fact that you don’t have to know everything when you start, even though it sometimes feels like you ought to.

Ever since I woke up early on Thursday to write (at 4:45 – Leila crawled into bed with us, and for a while I just sat there thinking about what I’d need to set up some colour processing for a batch of films I’ve got downstairs – yeah, random – and then just decided to get up and write) I’ve felt this real buzz about what I’m doing. It’s not even about the writing per se, but more about getting myself on a roll, working myself up to the point where I really am writing every day, enjoying writing every day, and looking forward to it – and as a result feeling like I’m making some real progress.

Instead of beating myself up every day for not writing.

And now, weirdly, because I’m on this strange roll, I don’t even really mind those days when – for whatever reason – I can’t write. I’ve set some pretty modest goals for the rest of this book – 5,000 words a week – and so I know I can hit them. It’s feeling good when I hit them. And then odds are that I’ll just keep going. And if I don’t, then it’s no big deal either.

This is probably really obvious to most of you, but I can be a bit slow when it comes to these things. Small achievable goals is what everyone says helps you win the race. We get a zap of happiness when we achieve a goal, and as someone told me once, we get more excited about our work when we get closer to the goal. So a win-win there.

Plus, it’s sunny today. Birds everywhere today – tui, big fat keruru (wood pigeons), sparrows, blackbirds, waxeyes. Everything is blooming, and I suspect my own sap is rising with the warmer weather. This sunday we “spring forward” with daylight savings.

Onward, ho!

blustery weather

Over the last couple of days we’ve had a huge drop in temperature. Loads of rain. Hail (or as Leila calls it, “ice rain”). Gusting wind. Even thunder. All very usual for spring (the first of September’s officially the first day of spring), but odd when considered with the insanely warm August we had, long days and weeks of sun, still-cold-in-the-shadows but summery all the same.

This weather now, well it’s bitter. Brutal. Curtains are all closed tight in non-essential rooms; the indoor cat spends her time either in bed (under the covers) or wedged under one of the radiators in the lounge. The child, on the other hand, is still insisting on wanting bare arms, and bare legs, and beautiful dresses, because that’s what princesses wear, don’t you know.

I never went through a princess phase as a child, so this part of things is very strange to me. I never know if I should just go with it or try and gently steer her elsewhere. I’m going with it, but can’t help cringe at how insidious it all is. Unless of course it’s all just a phase and something else will be cool tomorrow. Probably something worse.

When I was little I wanted to be Laura Ingalls. Anne Shirley. Dorothy Gayle. (And Ozma too.) But I do remember all the Disneys (and have a bit of an encyclopaediac knowledge of so much of the tv I watched as a kid – and I did watch heaps), so maybe when I was really little Cinderella and her ilk were just as captivating.

(Here comes another downpour – bucketing down on the roof with a roar. I wonder about the little birds outside, the waxeyes and sparrows, and the friendly grey-footed seagull who I feed daily but who I haven’t seen since this bad weather started. I also wonder about the wee’uns at kindy. Are they wrapped up warm? Or wandering about with bare arms?)

The novel progresses. I am around the 75,000 word mark, and although I am on the speeding crest of the wave I’m still proceeding more cautiously than I would like. Odd things are happening there, in novel-land, and I am sure that once I’ve finished the hatchet will have to come out. The first thing on my mind will be the shape. And the desire for a spine to peg things along. But later, later. For now, it’s still the stock-take. Figuring out what’s in that box over there, blowing dust off things, opening drawers and seeing what parts we have to make a story out of. I am still very unhappy with dialogue, and can’t wait to get out my needle-nosed pliers to pluck and then the scalpel to perform the delicate-work. But other things please me, so I suppose it’s par for the course, for a first draft.

It feels good to be working on it though, and with Leila currently going to kindy three days a week I’m now able to predict a bit of a routine, and book in hours to write. It has taken a long time to get to this point. We have a writer’s group here in Eastbourne, a few of us at similar points in our writing lives (with one leaping ahead but giving us all encouragement), and it’s brilliant to meet up to write at our local cafe, and watch our stories live, and grow.

I’ve been reading a lot, too. 32 books so far this year, which is good for me. Some trash, some classics, and some in the middle. Stand-outs so far have been several by Tanith Lee (Biting the Sun, The Silver Metal Lover, Night’s Master and Cruel Pink), Helen Macdonald’s H is for Hawk, I Am Legend by Richard Matheson, my friend Mark Brewer’s book Regan’s Reach, The Expanse series by James S.A. Corey, The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness, and Persuasion by Jane Austen. I’ve wanted to read Persuasion for a good long while now, and found it quite satisfying. I’m really drawn to sensible characters, these days.

Here and Now

Learned words

Added to my mac’s dictionary file tonight:

Aschenbach’s
bitsy
blokey
connecty
Ergh
Felathia
Felathia’s
Föhr
freewrite
freewriting
Fuckety
Ganix
gurgler
Hel
Hinterlander
Hinterlanders
Köln
Les
mecha
mechas
NaNoWriMo
naptime
necros
Pella
playcentre
protag
protags
pyr
Ragnarok
Rightio
Segred
Segred’s
Silverstream
Sipik
Skitch
slavemasters
Stegred
techy
unobvious
urgh
Voluspa
woah
wordcount

…obviously a grand old time at my house tonight! Love the inclusion of “slavemasters”, “Rightio”, and “naptime.”

Breakthrough

(warning: semi-coherence follows…)

Tonight: a little breakthrough after feeling stuck. After feeling like I was treading water (so to speak) with two characters stuck inside a tunnel (don’t laugh – oh, go on, go ahead. It does sound ridiculous) and me with no idea of what would happen when they got out.

Finally something just snapped in my brain. Just write a damn outline. Who cares if it’s not what gets written.

And so: index cards. One per 2,000 word scene (totally arbitrary). Turns out I’ve got 22 more scenes to write. Spread across one major and three minor characters. That’s only a handful each. All of a sudden that feeling of “what the hell am I going to write?” has become “oh crap! How am I going to fit it all in?”

Already there are new scenes. New major events. How can this be? Brain, all this time we were sitting around banging futilely on the blank screen (metaphors are out the window now), doing weird Peter Elbow-esque freewriting sessions, going out to sea (that’s his metaphor) and then looking for land, what my brain really wanted were piles of index cards. And only a few of them.

Who knows – maybe it was just The Magnetic Fields playing in the background. The cup of chamomile tea. My tired state. Getting so fed up with the lack of progress that any forward momentum is feeling ok right now.

I just so want to get this done now. And the weird bit? I want to get it done so I can turn around and write it all again, but better.

I think there’s something wrong with me.

And with that, I bid you goodnight.

Productivity and writing

I’ve been listening to the Odyssey Podcasts #85 and #86 on productivity.  While the clips were pretty short, there was some quite good, useful info in there that I think will help me try to get back into getting a good writing routine going.

Things like:

  • If writing is #8 on your priority list, it’s not going to get done.
  • Trade time with friends and family, to get blocks of time you can use for writing.
  • You really do need a block of time from 1-3 hours. This may mean getting up at 5am.
  • Habits and rituals are important. Set these up to hack your brain into enjoying and anticipating these. Start with a small habit, like 100 words. It has to be something that you will succeed at, every time.

There was quite a bit of other good information there, so if you’ve got a spare 30 minutes or so, I recommend you hop over and have a listen. I’m thinking I need to do something like:

  • trigger: light a candle
  • habit: write 100 words
  • reward: something nerdy I enjoy doing. A guilty pleasure.

I know chocolate is a good reward, but I’m trying not to go there these days. Instead, something like sharpening pencils in my new electric sharpener (seriously, I love it. Plus: the smell!), or giving myself a star sticker, or even the enjoyment of putting in my loose-leaf paper into the Trapper Keeper I’ve found and started using again.

Seriously, my old Trapper Keeper! OMG. I get a really weird pleasure out of using all my old school stationery. Let’s not visit the fact that my parents have been storing this stuff in a box in the garage all these years.

Photo 13-02-2016, 12 33 24

The velcro doesn’t really work, but who cares. I just use it to carry paper upstairs and downstairs. I write in pencil the way I did when I was a kid. Maybe I should draw some maps too, while I’m at it.

Plus: the paper. You can’t even get paper with three holes punched in them in New Zealand. Everything is two-hole, which is perfectly ridiculous, as the two holes make things swing around too much, and tear. I’ve also got a thing for that red line that runs down the margin – again something not all NZ two-whole filler paper (“refill” here) has.

I’m not going to question it. I am so unfussy about most things that I figure I can be as  obsessive-compulsive as I need to be when it comes to stationery. I *am* rather intrigued by the new Trapper Keepers being sold on Amazon at the moment, and if it turns out this weird way of working does it for me, I might fork out and get another one.

But, er, ahem, where was I? Oh yes, productivity. I think I need charts. Stars. Celebratory pencil sharpening. Something fancy after a significant milestone. A plan. And then, you know, some actual writing. Because writing about writing doesn’t actually count as writing.

September wordcount

Well! That was a really interesting month, and a much more productive one than I’ve had in a while.

Things didn’t end too well, as you can see in the last few days of the month, with the 30th consisting of a busy day with the sproglet and then a surprise bottle of bubbly that Steve brought home. Seeing as surprise bottles of bubbly are a rarity in our house I wasn’t about to start looking that gift horse in the mouth. It was good fun, and hey, I sneaked in there past the hoped-for minimum goal, even with five days of missed writing.

So how are things looking? The grand total for September was 23,246 words, and I’m rather keen to try and beat that this month. That said, it’s currently school holidays, and though the wee one’s not old enough for school, she’s not going to playcentre and I’m not getting my two or three drop-offs each week, which makes a mental difference for me. We’re also going to head to stay with my parents for five days or so, and though I’m taking my laptop, it’s not realistic to think I am going to be able to consistently get the words in while we’re there.

The manuscript is at 37,407 words though, and I’m pretty happy with that, as it’s officially in the “middle stage” as opposed to the “I’m writing a novel, really,” early bits. It’s feeling like there is a bit of weight and momentum behind it now, so much so that I feel relatively ok about what’s going to amount to a whole week missing in my writing schedule.

That said, it feels good to have a brain-break. I’m sure I’ve mentioned earlier that I plan a bit and pants a bit, and most days of writing usually involve a bit of dread when I sit down at the keyboard. You know: “oh god, what am I going to pull out of my arse today?”

Not exactly out of my arse. But you know what I mean. If I’m lucky I might be able to drum up a few new insights while I’m holidaying (and sharing a bed with the sproglet, eep!). Then again, I might be lucky to get any sleep and any sort of a break and the next five or so days might just consist of semi-vegetating in front of Dad’s golf on TV.

But no pressure. I have to keep reminding myself that I’m a mum, with a small person, who is still managing to do some other work. Any forward momentum is to be celebrated.

Er…not that I have to remind myself that I’m a mum. Oh dear. I must be tired.

Excerpt from the WIP – Pyr and the gold-and-crimson

Just realised with all this talk about my current Work-In-Progress I haven’t shared any of it so far. Here’s a snippet from tonight’s writing. Things are going poorly for young Pyr, the village boy / apprentice to Felathia the necromancer. He’s been caught and tied up by the people he thought he was tracking. It would seem they are taking him off to the famed Lowland Academy, as his Master’s secrets are in very high demand:

The goat was coated in a pungent spice that the boy had never tasted before. Smoky yet sour. Pyr didn’t think he really liked it but his hunger had returned with a vengeance, and so he gnawed and tore at the stick as best he could.

“Not long now,” the haystack-haired acolyte said, as Pyr sat back on his heels to chew the last of his meal. “Have you been down the causeway? It’s terrifying. Completely black, with only your own lights to guide you. Every now and again a torch left guttering in a sconce, perhaps, that some lonely traveller lit on their way up or down. Vaulted ceiling so high you can’t see the top of it. Whistling air, all around you. Sometimes you swear you hear voices in it.” The man leaned closer. “There are hundreds – thousands, some say – of strange little pathways that lead off, right out through the rock. Why, the whole mountainside must be honeycombed with them. You’d think it’d all come crumbling down, wouldn’t you? But there are other things, too – great grand doors, set fast into the stone, doors with locks that no-one can open. And the great staircase, every inch of it covered in a strange language that no-one can read, or decipher. Made for giants. Or Gods.”

Pyr tried to swallow the last dry lump of meat that had lodged in his throat. “Water,” he gasped.

The haystack acolyte untied a water skin from his belt and held it up so Pyr could drink. “The sooner we’re down in the Lowlands, the better,” he said. “You’ll like it there, you really will. Mecha do everything for us. They cook, they clean. The only thing you’ll have to do is focus on your classes, and learn, and do what the Academy asks of you. Don’t ask too many questions (they don’t like that), but study hard. I’m sure they’ll let you come back and visit your family, one day.”

A bitter aftertaste began to creep up Pyr’s throat, and he wasn’t sure if it was the food, or his own fear.

(I say “it would seem” as, while I do have a sense of where all of this is going, I still enjoy being surprised when things change about as I write them.)

Bonne nuit!

On zero-word days and cutting yourself a little slack

A couple of days late on the check-in, sorry. Here’s what days 11 – 20 looked like for me, wordcount-wise:  A couple of zero-days in there. The first was due to a day-long workshop I went to, and then fell asleep on the couch afterwards. The second was the day before Steve’s birthday, and we were busy getting ready for it, and then he came home with a bottle of red wine, and it was Friday night, and we wanted to watch the last few episodes of Outlander…

So, still on track, but it’s really interesting to see what a dent a couple of no-work days can have on your productivity!

Yesterday was a zero-word day as well, partly due to the fact that my wee girl looks like she is starting to give up her naps. Up until well, now, I’ve been doing a lot of writing and organising during that two hour chunk of time in the middle of the day when she’d been sleeping. Suddenly I don’t have that any more!

I know it’s a big step for her but losing that time is a seriously huge change for me.  All of a sudden if I have something on in the evening, it means if I want to write I have to (gulp) get up early to do it, or stay awake long enough in the evening to do it.

Problem is, she’s awake at 5:30 most mornings. So “getting up early”… means 4:30? 5? Nooo. I try to grab every scrap of sleep I can get these days. Or do I, as Ursula K Le Guin did, write from nine till midnight, and hope I can still make it on 5-6 hours of sleep a day?

Bleugh. I don’t function on that much sleep. I turn into a grumpy zombie.

Or do I (this is rhetorical, of course this is the option I’m going with) just accept that these zero-word days are just a part of life, and having kids, and potentially a bit of slack might be the decent thing to do, when one has other responsibilities? The wordcount log still keeps me on track, and maybe unlike Ursula I can aim for 8-10pm, get in a bit less writing, but still keep my toes wet.

All of this makes me think I need to compile a handy list of things I can be doing while my little love is up and about. I feel a mind map coming on…

Checking in – first ten days of September

A small check in:

I’ve written up a word count chart on an index card, and I’m using that to keep track of my writing goals for the month. It looks like this:

card

I love index cards

The last 10 days were good, writing-wise. I wrote every day, and on all but one day I surpassed my word count goal (something around the 760 word mark). I intentionally decided that I’d give myself a very comfortable word count goal for this, so that I actually do write every day, and get the added bonus of hitting the targets and feeling good!  So: 9,357 words in the last ten days, which means I’m on track for my monthly goal of a minimum of 22,980 words. (I also put in a “comfortable” (whatever that means) goal of 25,500.)

Organisation-wise, I did have some work to do. I decided when I picked this project up again that I would really only be able to make good use of my limited free time if I had some sort of goal when I sat down every day.

Now, I’m by nature not inclined to outline. In the past I had a lot of difficulty if I wanted to try and sit down and plan out a longer piece. I usually wound up freewriting until I got to a certain point, and then would keep a single document (or page in a notebook) where I’d just list “stuff that has to happen” or “what happens next.” A quasi-outline, I suppose.

This time around, I’m notecarding. I do love index cards (I’ve written about them in the past), and something about shuffling them around, putting two different scenes side-by-side and looking for a spark that might result in an unplanned, third scene, is awesome.

I’ve also decided to loosely adopt a standard three act structure for this guy, just because it feels intuitive, and again, I’m starting to learn that I find the writing less intimidating if I butt up against some structure now and then.

But going back to what I was blathering about organising, I really only have planned scenes for the first act, which I suppose is me doing my quasi-outline thing again. And these are, of course, changing as things progress (I didn’t suppose that my elderly heroine, Felathia, would lose one of her eyes after she struck a deal with the old gods – it happened, and I sat there for several moments after, thinking what just happened? but also oh, of course.)

Anyway, apologies for the detail and the rambling. I’ve decided this blog is going to be the way to keep me on track – if I miss my goals next week (or next month), I’m going to have to own up to it! Hah. That ought to terrify me into sticking to the plan.

Upping my game

Hey, how’s your week been going? Mine’s been surprisingly productive and positive. I’ve been trying to up my game this week – trying to get back into the writing mindset when I have free time during the day, and actually making some free time as well.

That said – I really don’t have a lot of free time. Most of it is taken up (quite willingly, I should probably add) with my small person, and all of her trials and tribulations. But lately I’ve been going up to playcentre with her, hanging out together until morning tea time (10am) and then (on my non-duty days), once she’s settled with her lunch box and drink bottle, “popping out” for some me time. I usually get back before 11:30, so this isn’t a wild/crazy sort of break for me, but I’ve been wandering down to the local cafe, or even just heading back home (5 minutes around the corner). And writing.

For a while I was thinking (mostly due to my time shortage, and also because I hit a part I got stuck with in the novel-in-progress) of giving myself some short-story assignments. Write one, sub one, sort of thing. Wind up with four stories each month, and something to do – submitting to journals, and the like. But then I was watching some of Brandon Sanderson’s videos (oh my god, have you seen these? They’re amazing), and in one of them he’s talking about what a good idea it is to write what you like to read.

Real duh moment, huh? While I like short stories (and have a select few that I positively drool over), I’m definitely a novel person. Reading a book of short stories can often be interesting, but ultimately I find they don’t fully satisfy. Probably a big clue there.

Novels and I do have some history (the writing of, I mean), and it all feels rather tumultuous when I look back. But you don’t need the whole drama. I’ve got one I started earlier in the year – notecarded, seven or so scenes written – before I got stuck, and then the family got sick, and it all went downhill from there.

But I’m back in the middle of things again now, yep, and trying to up my game. Not in terms of insane word count, or anything like that, but setting comfortable goals that I can hit every day. Wanting to think about the book every day, even if just for a little while when the little one’s sleeping. Finally realising that there’s not much I’d really rather be doing. Taking steps to keep myself organised amidst the chaos. Trying to shake the belief that I’ve held for so long, that outlines are anathema to my writing. Taking the time to sit down and brainstorm, and analyse my ideas a bit, and holding out for something that’s a little more original than the first idea that comes along.  It’s like my brain’s emerged from some sort of weird writing fog-of-war and I’m finally able to think clearly about my approach.

I’ll write more later about what I’m actually doing, but just thought I’d make a “for the record” sort of post about this. It feels like a revelation, but really all it is is the act of getting back to the work. It feels good.