Every year, my wrap-up blog posts get shorter, which I suppose is just a part of life. This year is one where I’ve stopped doing many of the little habits and rituals that were once an inextricable part of my life. I don’t track my progress in various spreadsheets with nearly the assiduity I once did. In fact I barely do it at all. Nor do I keep track of my word count or the hours I spend writing.
I still turn off my internet each day and block out the world and work on my writing. I just don’t keep records about it. Don’t feel the need to.
The best thing that’s happened over this year is that I got married. It was a really great wedding, but an even better bride. Rachel and I did it right, and the wedding didn’t completely dominate our lives and take up every spare moment of our time. It sort of happened on its own, actually, with relatively little work on our part (lots of money, but relatively little work–I still can’t believe how much a wedding can cost).
In my non-wedding news though, the best thing has been my slow and steady work on my second YA novel (now titled It’s Probably Just A Phase). My first book, Enter Title Here, was written in thirty-one days of white-hot fury. From the very beginning, the main character’s voice was so clear and distinct, and the story she told me is, to a large degree, the one that is on the paper.
This is a great experience to have. I recommend it to everyone. However it sort of doesn’t set you up very well for writing subsequent books, because you’re always waiting for the magic to happen.
With this second book I also wrote the first draft in a pretty truncated period of time, but…since then it’s undergone at least two major rewrites and three more significant revision passes. It’s been a process.
In the beginning I was excited about the book, but…cautiously so. I didn’t feel like it was gonna win any awards. Nor did I feel like it was my best work. I was writing it because I had to write something, and I didn’t know how to write better.
But in the process of working on it, the book has gotten deeper and deeper. Characters have taken shape. Events have gained weight and shading. For instance for most of the drafting protagonist I didn’t really love the deuteragonist (yeah I can use fancy words!) I saw him as weak and pathetic, and the other characters shared my view. But this summer something cracked open for me, and I for the first time really felt his quiet bravery.
Now I’m much more sold on this book! I like it way more, and I daresay it even rivals my first. Moreover, it’s been really good for me to experience a different writing process. I’ve learned that good things can come from careful, plodding work. And as a result I feel much better equipped to face the, you know, lifetime of writing that I have coming up.