Well, I managed to keep my hands off the manuscript for about twelve days (this was probably mostly thanks to March Break). Then I found myself with some time to kill at a coffee shop again, so I decided to take my husband’s advice (he’s always shocked to hear that). I printed off the first three chapters, as they were, stuffed them into a folder with my critique class notes and poured over those for the next few hours.
The experience was both fabulous and frustrating. I settled into a very nostalgic sense of calm as I began: my favourite band on my ipod, a coffee in my hand and a printout in front of me. For all the work I’ve done over the years, it has been quite some time since I’ve just been able to sit with a printout and a pen. But there were also frustrations. Dividing up the 12000 word chapter (which was all I really set out to accomplish) proved to be more difficult than I’d anticipated (can I have three chapters in a row from the same POV? Can I just continue a scene in the next chapter like that?) and I wound up scribbling notes all over every page, several of which were “Chapter break here? Chapter break here?”. On top of that, I also found myself getting distracted very easily. The baby-brain fog does not allow me to focus on one thing for very long, after all.
In fact, I didn’t even get to Chapter three.
And one of the major issues that has been outstanding since I completed the thing continued to gnaw away at me, since it will have to be addressed pretty much within the first twenty pages.
Despite it all, this review was definitely not a fruitless exercise because last night I managed to push over that issue-wall as though it was just a cardboard cut-out rather than actual bricks and mortar. I grabbed my laptop and started frantically typing before the baby-brain made me forget the whole thing. As I was doing so, of course, other, smaller issues came up within the solution but as I brainstormed I managed to work my way through those as well! The frustration now is not popping open the manuscript and plugging in these changes. I may have come up with the solution but I’m not trusting myself to do any actual writing until I’m feeling far more coherent.
As for the major distraction in my life these days, yes, I’m still pregnant. Adjusted due date has come and gone and original due date is in (eep) four days (which is, of course, the OTHER reason I don’t want to get overly involved in writing right now!) And there is nothing quite like a pregnancy or a newborn to destroy people’s internal filters. A smile and a glance at my belly is nice. Full-blown staring? Not so much. Oh and shouting at me across a parking lot isn’t as funny as you think either, dude.
So yes, both nervous and excited. Most likely by next week I’ll have two kids!