I envy. I envy people who are able to meet their goals, despite life happening. Part of my starting this blog was to give myself a place to write about the process – here, specifically, writing — so I could see more clearly what my patterns are. Patterns of success, patterns of failure. In the reflecting upon this, I need to be honest. Honest with the good and, harder for me, honest with the bad. Because, it’s hard for me to be honest with the bad. I tend to make the bad worse and that’s not fair.
I’ve mentioned in the past being envious of writers like Catherynne M. Valente, for going through things and still writing. Moving across countries, getting divorced, things she’s talked about publicly, and still she gets material written. I miss writing fiction as a way of coping. I haven’t mentioned it here, but I’m envious of writers like Patricia Briggs who lived in super cramp quarters while work on her house was being done and she still got her material written, she still met her goals. I’m envious because, why can’t I do that? Why DON’T I do that? Why, instead, does stress send me to bed, defeated and exhausted and unable to think? Part of all this has been wanting to work on that, and to rewire myself with new habits.
I am envious and extremely proud of, at the same time, Beth, who has been a fiber processing machine this week. She acquired roughly 17lbs of fleece during Black Sheep Gathering (and a new, higher yielding drum carder). We are into our summer months here in the Willamette valley, which means they’ll be over in an eye blink,but for the meantime it means it’s sunny as all get out and warm. She bought fleece on the 22nd. It poured on the 23rd and 24th. It’s been hot and sunny ever since, and she’s been processing fiber like mad. Mad, I tell you! And working on commissions, and generally getting shit done. Despite the weekend of BSG being extremely taxing on her despite having to deal with arthritis and fibro, she is getting shit done.
It’s very easy to get down on myself about this, while still being proud of her. My plans for this year have firmed up, writing wise, into: trying to use an outlining approach to make better use of my actual writing time, to have the rough draft of the WIP novel done by the end of November, and to have the outline done by the end of June. The former can still happen; the latter is not. I’m trying to not snag myself up with the outline goal. the real goal that matters is end of November rough draft completion. It’s do-able. I’ve already got 33k done on this novel, but it’s out of order, and I want to see if the outline can help me around the rough spots, and I love the idea of phase outlines.
I am a person who doesn’t want to need THINGS. But, I can’t conceive of outlining efficiently, electronically, with just a straight wordprocessor, so I’m considering Scrivener. Currently I’m outlining by hand. I know it would go faster typing, but if I can’t SEE the outline while I’m working in a way that isn’t about scrolling (I don’t know why flipping through pages is less work than scrolling) the outline is of no use. I’m going to keep plugging away until I get around to buying the software, because I need to, and I’m trying to be realistic. I really only have the one day to get a solid chunk of writing done. I can pick at the other days, on the outline, but that one day I want to get the book wordcount up.
Being honest: Beth gets to work on her stuff more during the week than I do. I’m not less dedicated or less serious about it: I work ten hours more at my job a week than she does, my commute takes longer, and my job is more physically taxing on a daily basis than hers is. Getting home and being able to use words is difficult. Which is why having tools that can help could help.
I dislike that I’m a “force my way through it and stop belly-aching” person, inside, because that historically does not work with me. It doesn’t get things done. It doesn’t make my health issues go away, or depression, and it doesn’t make the writing less overwhelming. Something needs to, because I want this book out. But I also don’t want to be all grit your teeth and do it, because I want to retain my love for writing, I want to find joy in the process, not just the end result.