Productivity! Huzzah!

Last night I thought I had about fifteen minutes before my husband was coming up, so I grabbed my notebook and began to pen a short story that’s been on my mind. I wrote the first chunk of this story in one of Brian Henry’s phenomenal classes last year and have been most aggravated to be unable to find that excerpt now that the idea has bitten me once more.  For weeks I’ve been meaning to jot down some notes about this (and about another short that’s been bouncing around in my head) but just haven’t managed it. So last night when some actual phrases came to mind, I took advantage and just started writing. Well, it turned out that my husband wasn’t just taking out his contacts – he was doing work. As such, he didn’t come up for an hour. And I wrote nearly 800 words. Was it phenomenal prose? No. It was first draft work (and very first draft work) and I have to bear that in mind especially since I’m into a second draft editing stage of the novel where the prose is leaps and bounds better than this. But that all started somewhere too. And when that one started, it probably read a lot like what I wrote last night.

Then, this morning in the shower I decided to change the main character in this short from a man to a woman and by the afternoon I’d managed to not only type out what I’d written (in the new character’s voice) but I also added a bit. This short is now over 1200 words! And I think I know where I want it to go. The question now is whether or not I’ll manage to rein it in before I have another novel on my hands.

I’ve also had a great deal of success with the novel editing over the past few days. At the moment I have nine of those ‘highlight’ sections left (I started with 33). Now these are nasty edits, where I may have to go through the manuscript and put in little lead ups and things of that sort. But nonetheless, I’ve gone from 33 to 9 in just a few days, so I’m probably going to only tackle one or two a day from here on in. And then yes: draft two will be done! (and apparently I didn’t need to wait for draft two to be done to throw myself into an unrelated piece.)

So in the past few days I’ve managed to get down 1200 words of a short, and blow away a large number of the more difficult sections of editing. Go me! I think I’ll give the fact that I returned to yoga this week after a (too) long hiatus at least part of the credit. My small town didn’t have any prenatal options while I was pregnant with Baby D (of course NOW they do) and then it took a while for me to convince myself that I had the energy to work out at all. They put me through a brutal time but it was worth every second and I’m hoping to be able to make time for it at least once a week now, if not twice. And hey, if it ups my writing productivity that would be one hell of a side bonus!

Right now I’m just keeping my fingers crossed that this ramped-up creativity continues for my writing group tonight. It’s our last meeting of the summer, but come mid-Sept we’ll be back at it, plus I’ll be in another of Brian Henry’s classes. Very much looking forward to such a writing-intensive autumn!

End (of this draft) is apparently in sight!

Yesterday Kid A was at a sleepover at his grandparents and Baby D slept in until 9:30. That meant I had ninety beautiful minutes of complete peace. Total quiet. No one needing a snack, or a diaper, or just plain attention. Just me and my blissfully empty house.

So I grabbed my music and my coffee and settled in for an hour and a half of ploughing through my editing, right? Well…not exactly. This hasn’t come up for a while, but I do have a tendency, when I’m reaching the end of a project (or even the end of a stage of a project) of dragging that end out for as long as possible. As such, I spent that ninety minutes cleaning my kitchen and doing laundry. This wasn’t time wasted at least – both had needed doing for a while (ironically, I often neglect such things for my writing when I’m no where near the end) and I was expecting my parents over that afternoon. However, it did mean that by the time Baby D started yelling for me I hadn’t edited a single paragraph. I don’t know why I do this, especially when I have another stage coming up right after; it isn’t as though this will mark the end of the project and I’ll be sending it out to agents after this. However, once this draft is done I WILL be sending it out…to readers. Then I get to spend the next who-knows-how-long trying not to freak out while I wait for those copies to come back so I can tackle Draft 3.

Wait, maybe I do understand why I’m procrastinating.

At least I recognized what was happening, so when my parents left last night and my husband asked me if I wanted to do my editing before or after we watched some TV, I chose to work on my draft first. I’m pretty sure that if I had chosen to do it after I would have just watched TV until it was too late to do anything else. I made the right decision in that because I got into an excellent flow with it last night and managed to finish up the dreaded Chapter Two edit. That means that all I have left now are two pages of slightly complicated inputs and then I have to go through all of the ‘highlighted paragraphs’…scenes throughout the piece that I need to rewrite because I don’t particularly like how they sound. I think I have one, perhaps two weeks left and then I can call this draft done.

Eep.

One thing that I am eagerly anticipating while the manuscript is in the hands of others (just let me reiterate: AAAAAAAA) is that I will finally be able to work on some unrelated writing projects. It’s not that I can’t work on those now. In fact, sometimes I think I should work on those now, just to give myself a break. But the self-imposed deadlines and the two kids crawling all over me from dawn till dusk mean that I really haven’t allowed myself to do anything more than think about those other ideas. I won’t even let myself work on sequels until I get this draft back from my readers so any work I do in the interim will have to be truly unrelated. And I am kind of looking forward to that. Not that I don’t adore my current work and my characters. But there are ideas and characters who would like to take just a little bit of my time…and I should probably let them, since as soon as I get my copies back I’ll be throwing myself into Draft 3 and they will be relegated into the back of my head once more (though perhaps this time with some notes down at least!)

And an update to this before I post this blog….a  few hours later those two pages of inputs are done.

Double eep.

The continuing adventures of a writing mom

The other day, in what must have been a fit of sleep-deprived madness, I decided to do a few sit-ups whilst Baby D was having tummy time. Why not, I thought, I used to do this all the time when Kid A was a baby, during his floor-time. And my body is decidedly not recovering the way it did with Kid A, despite the fact that I’m having to run around much more since I also have a five year old to contend with now.

Baby D watched me for a moment, fascinated. Then he grinned. And then he laughed.

And laughed and laughed and laughed.

Everytime I did a crunch, he giggled. It was as though he knew what his giant babyness had done to my body and was thoroughly amused by my feeble efforts to fix it. “Yeah sure, Mom! Keep doing those crunches. I’m sure it’ll help!”

Seriously, I don’t know where he gets this sarcastic attitude.

It was a strange week overall. Both of my kids had check-ups…well Baby D did (and he continues to be huge. One more inch and we have to get a new carseat!) We also got the go-ahead to start on solids so we’ll probably do that this weekend. Kid A’s appointment thoroughly pissed me off, however. I made the appointment for a “check up” and said there were some things we wanted to discuss. The doctor weighed and measured Kid A, discussed our concerns and then made to leave. I asked about the rest of the check up and, apparently, that was it! Excuse me? It appears that, at least at this office, they don’t give kids check-ups of the kind I remember getting: height and weight yes, but also ears and eyes and tummy and getting hit in the knee with that little hammer. When I got home I did some investigating and it now seems that some doctors do check-ups as I remember and some doctors don’t. And so, I looked into getting a paediatrician – which in this little town means that you not only have to get a referral, your kid needs to start going there from birth, and has to have an actual problem to be followed AND there aren’t any in this town anyhow! So I’m not sure what we’ll do…perhaps start looking for a new doctor? I’m not excited by that prospect – as I have no car during the days the convenience of this doctor being a block away will be difficult to give up.

And then the power in our bedroom went out. Again. This happened back in the winter as well. That time, our power died for no apparent reason and then, after several weeks, our clock began to act possessed fading in and out, in and out…and then the power worked. I was suspicious, but we decided to let it go, except then it died again a few days ago. This time my husband tested everything, took out all of the outlets and then finally called in a pro. Said pro discovered that while the house is not exactly wired wrong it is wired kind of stupidly and the damaged wire is buried in our FLOORS. That wire has now been disconnected but a new line needs to be run through the attic – for nearly five hundred dollars. Husband is insisting he can do this himself. I’m nervous but friends of ours who know these things are saying it is possible. I really don’t understand how it can be so difficult to put a house together if that is what you do for a living. We’ve run into the stupidest screw-ups in our various homes (including a central vac that just cut off in one spot and continued elsewhere). Seriously? How difficult is this for some people? And if it really is so challenging, why not find some other line of work and leave this to the Mike Holmeses of the world?

Grrr. Okay, I think I have that off my chest but perhaps not since I’m now feeling snarly. I’ll talk about my manuscript, perhaps that will help. I did speak with the professional contact whom I was having trouble reaching and he  stressed to me the importance of patience. I’m more than halfway through draft two and I’ve cut back my daily quota a bit since I’m starting to notice the signs of burnout, and that would ultimately result in my being even less productive. My writing group is going well and we’ve decided to continue into the fall, even though half of us will also be in the critique class. Fall will be an insane time – I’ll be in two writing sessions, Husband will still be in Aikido, Kid A will be in swimming and wants to start Aikido (and is also begging for gymnastics) and Baby D will start swimming. I have a feeling it’s going to be Christmas before I know it.

And hey, maybe by then, I’ll finally be through my drafts.