But I knew that I didn’t want to stress this year. I just wanted to be. To create. To live. Most importantly, I wanted to remember why I loved writing so much. Why telling stories gives me a high. And why I want to do this until the day I die.
Because I’ve kind of lost myself along the way. I’ve never lost the desire, but I lost the joy. It got twisted somehow, becoming more about how I didn’t measure up rather than being a pure expression of myself.
I ended last year beginning to see who I am as a writer. For the first time I let go of my preconceived notions of what I should be writing and instead concentrated on having fun. I wrote (what I think is) a pretty damn awesome novel. First draft and all that – rough, rough, rough – but still a kick-ass book.
The resolution for this year is simply to create. I'm not going to worry about submitting anything. If I send anything to my agent, great. If I don’t, equally great. I don’t want to focus on anything beyond creating.
This year is for expression.
Still, the old habits kicked in. I admit, I’m pretty despondent that it’s the end of February and I’m not even a quarter of the way through the second edit. It’s like I can’t even acknowledge the fact that I’ve lost a month to endless hospital rooms. God, if I never see pukey yellow-white walls, pink barf bowls or pee cans again that would be awesome.
I had a hard time even putting a sentence together after that. I resorted to the pen-and-paper method because at least there I could get a feel for the rhythm of the words. But I wasn’t satisfied. I got on myself about how fast I should be going. And what should be doing. Should… should… should!
My mom asked, “Why are you messing with your process?”
Er, right. Exactly. Why?
I began to write and guess what? I didn’t suddenly plow through the edit. No, instead I had an epiphany on a book I put away about a year ago. I knew something had been missing. It irritated me to no end. And I never touched it after the first draft because I couldn’t figure out what exactly the missing piece was.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned through this wild ride it’s don’t touch it until you KNOW what needs to be changed. Because, my god, the damage you can do.
Now I have the percolations of what needs to be done. It’s working it’s way though my mind. Sprouting. I’m hoping by the time I do come back to it, the seed will be a lovely plant that will bloom.
In the meantime, this second draft... *Grump.* I managed six pages today. It felt like a miracle. I kid you not. And then…
I opened up a new document and began a new book. Because the idea was suddenly there. And I want to capture it. After all, this year is for me.