Summer is always interesting. They call it “summer break,” but I think that only applies to the kids. I have never been busier. I went straight from the frantic pace of school year-end ceremonies, activities, parties, field trips, and the like to the frantic pace of summer. It’s been non-stop since mid-June. I’ve had three campouts (well, the third one is this weekend), one trip to Indiana, doctor’s appointments, vacation Bible school, recharter work for my AHG troop, and the usual everyday minutiae to keep me inundated for over a month now.
Needless to say, writing has taken a backseat. Well, more accurately, writing is a tin can dragging from the rear bumper of a rickety trailer at the end of a car moving at breakneck speed down I-5.
Despite it all, I have managed to make some negative progress on Bloodbonded. Why negative? Because until yesterday, I was still mostly cutting. This book was such a mess. Until yesterday, I was excising necrotic tissue. But I think most of the necrotic tissue is gone now. It bottomed out at about 120k words.
Last night, I finally started adding again.
Right now, Bloodbonded stands at about 121k words and 25 chapters mostly done.
And still so far to go.
I envision about nine or ten more chapters, give or take. I’m going to try to keep it to 155k words or so–close to Ravenmarked–but I don’t know. It doesn’t feel like I’m that close to the end, and yet I’m not exactly sure what all is going to be in the next nine or ten chapters. In some ways, this feels like first draft territory all over again, which is both terrifying and comforting.
For me, summer is a time of small victories. Maybe it should be that way all the time–I don’t know. I guess with kids around, writing 500 or 1000 words over the course of several days feels like a major victory. Maybe it is a major victory.
Maybe 25 chapters mostly done is a major victory.
I know it’s a major victory, because here’s the truth: I have not fully recovered yet.
Dearest followers and friends, I am trying to get back into the rhythm of social media, blogging, writing, editing, and the like, but I will confess–it is so tough. I am still battling so many of the same issues I battled three years ago–the constant pull of other obligations, fear and anxiety, self-doubt, all the familiar demons. They are not new–not a single one. They have no new tricks. I suppose that should be reassuring, but it’s not.
If you follow me on Twitter or Facebook, you may get the sense that everything is hunky dory and that my biggest obstacle to writing these days is time. But there are truths that I hide more than I care to admit.
These are all current truths:
- I take on more than I should in my volunteer position precisely because it keeps me from writing–because it’s a legitimate and socially acceptable reason to avoid writing.
- I avoid writing still not because I have writer’s block, but because sometimes, opening the documents makes me cry, and I feel embarrassed and ashamed of what I’ve written.
- I sometimes go to my “old life” list on Twitter and read what people from my previous incarnation are up to, and sometimes, my heart starts to race and my breathing gets shallow just from the mere act of opening a link to a publishing or writing article.
- Sometimes when people ask about my writing, my hands shake and get cold, and I sometimes break out in a sweat and change the subject.
- I am terrified–terrified–of publishing Bloodbonded, so it seems easier not to finish it.
- I can’t go back to the online writer circles yet, because even the thought of participating in such things makes me want to go dark again.
- When a sweet friend suggests a book about creativity that I might like, I have to tell her I’ll just “put it on the list,” because sometimes reading about creativity or perusing writing advice conjures feelings of guilt, shame, and inadequacy that I honestly don’t have the strength to face just yet.
- Right now, I am doing the little bit of writing that I am doing because I have to get the story out of my head. The truth is that it’s not on my own power right now, but God’s. The truth is that I can only face my book right now because His strength is made perfect in weakness, and I am profoundly weak.
There is progress.
The truth is that I am writing (a little), opening the documents, engaging a few people (cautiously, ready to bolt any moment) on social media, attempting to finish Bloodbonded (slowly but surely), thinking about other projects again . . . .
The truth is ugly and messy and painful.
But the truth is . . .
The truth is that I’m working on it.
And though it may be slow, it is, at least, progress.