Hey, that rhymes.
All through spring semester, I lamented the fact that I had to write essays instead of revising the Chosen Grandma story. Like, I’ve never had less time in my life to work on fiction. Ouch.
(I mean, I did write a couple poems for National Poetry Writing Month, and then did a couple more poems once it was over, but I won’t tell if you don’t.)
Then the semester ended, and I got back from my family vacation, and I…vigorously cleaned my house and weeded and mulched my gardens, because I’m throwing myself a graduation party on Saturday and would love to pretend I keep a nice house. And also because I pretty much only deep-clean when I’m procrastinating on my writing.
Turns out it’s really hard to dive back into fiction writing after six months away. Who knew, right? I don’t remember the last time I went, well, really any time without working on some fiction.
This probably wouldn’t be a big deal if I was actually, you know, drafting some fiction, but instead I’m revising some fiction, which I find difficult at the best of times. The story has to be better now??? So unfair.
Anyway, it took a week, but I finally completed the revised Chapter One. I was not in a great head space on Sunday as I worked on it, which probably contributed to my feeling that I was making the story worse instead of better. Which admittedly is basically my constant mood when revising.
I love drafting, because the story’s all shiny and new and there’s no pressure to be good. I mean, I realize plenty of writers stress out because the story’s also a steaming trash pile – I’m friends with many of them. But I deal with that by muttering under my breath constantly, especially as I get further into the story, where I no longer know what’s going on and the writing is getting worse and worse, “It’s a first draft it’s a first draft it’s a first draft it’s a first draft it’s a—”
Then I get to revision and the pressure’s on and I’m 900% sure I’m ruining the whole story, and I can’t even tell myself it’s a first draft, because it’s not.
So I finished revising Chapter One while bouncing back and forth between my Word doc and idetonatearoundhim.tumblr.com, where the blogger reads the works of E.L. James so the rest of us don’t have to. It was partly because the blog makes me laugh, which I needed just then, and partly to remind myself that no matter how much I suck, I don’t suck as much as E.L. James.
And then I had my friend Jasmine read it, and she assured me it actually doesn’t suck.
(Quick plug: Follow Jasmine on Twitter, like her Facebook page about black girls in sci-fi and fantasy, and subscribe to her YouTube channel for writing-centered videos!)
I have yet to start Chapter Two, since I’ve been finalizing cleaning, gardening, and cooking for Saturday’s party, but on the plus side I think it’s going to be a little easier than Chapter One. Not so much the actual writing. That part’s going to be hard for a while, and also forever because writing is hard. But I’m finding that most of my notes on Chapter Two are already being taken care of by changes I made to Chapter One.
I think this is the first time that’s ever happened to me. Probably a good sign, yeah?
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