I’m Back!

Hello mostly unread account of my thoughts and deeds and accomplishments! I have returned from a two week semi-successful wrestling match with my second YA novel, which I currently feel is so bad that it will never see the light of day. It is probably not that bad, but there’s something about turning in a book and knowing you don’t like it that’s really difficult. That said, I have literally never liked a single word I’ve written, so it’s to be expected, and forcing myself to turn things in anyway is probably the most important skill I’ve developed as a writer. My book definitely needs more book done to it so it can be a book, but it is probably not the babbling unsalvageable wreck that I think it is. It is what it is.

So what happened over the last two weeks?

  • I did a mini workshop at a bookshop about journaling. I’m really excited for the possibility of leading a version of this workshop with teens, so it was good to put some practice in. It was interesting to see how exercises I designed played out in a small group, and I was really happy with one of the exercises I invented that involved citations, though it took an impossible amount of prep work.
  • In spent a few days in a national park really focusing on my draft before I turned it in. I set aside basically my whole life for two weeks, but for a few days, I actually went out into the woods (well, lodge) to work, and it ended up being a brilliant idea. It was pretty much hike, write, hide from housekeeping, write, hike, sleep, repeat. I saw three bears, and have decided to apply to become a bear.1 I saw an owl. I saw many, many deer. Also some really interesting bugs. And I figured out that the idea of a “writer’s retreat” is not a ludicrous and indulgent waste of time, and there really is something to physically setting aside your normal life to write. I always want writing to look like a “normal job” where you clock in and out, because I want it to look like labor so I don’t have to feel like I’m a terrible person. But maybe it’s just not ever going to be that. So, I learned some valuable things about process, and discovered that I probably would do pretty well at an actual writer’s retreat. I’m always too afraid to even apply, but I think I proved to myself that it would be a good fit for me, and not a waste of time.
  • I ran a 5k. 5k is not a particularly impressive distance,2 but taking public transportation, wearing paper pinned to me that makes a weird sound,3 and mostly not freaking out about crowds was an impressive feat for me. I was also about 5 minutes faster than when I started “making an effort” a few weeks ago, and that includes the time I spent after the gun went off going, “Wait, do we run now?”4

…and probably some other stuff I’m not remembering right now.

What now? Another book. But also all the things I had to put aside in order to focus on the book I was writing. Starting with rewatching all the Thin Man movies before they get taken off FilmStruck5 and finishing Sharp Objects and reading about a billion books and hopefully seeing my friends and doing a ton of administrative work.

Also training for that marathon I’m running in November. Did I mention that? Book 3 involves a marathon, and so I decided to run one.

  1. Well, to be fair, I sighted bears three times. The first and last bear were almost certainly the same bear.
  2. That is to say, we all find our own fit, and if 5K is a victory for you, that’s awesome! But my usual fit includes many hours of dance, hiking, fencing, kayaking, swimming, and whatever random shit I’m into this week…all of which surprisingly translates into 5K being not particularly hard, even though I’m not a runner. I was surprised, but it ended up being more about focusing than building the stamina to do it. No one was more shocked than me.
  3. For some reason, I thought the papers with numbers were so that cars didn’t hit you. Apparently they’ve got a tag in them that times you???
  4. I’m pretty sure part of that speed was my brain saying, “Get me the hell out of this crowd at any cost.”
  5. Those ratfinks! At least they warned me.