Yep. That’s how warm it is right now in Denver. I suppose it’s better than 3, which is where it hovered Thursday and Friday. Reminds me of my childhood in upstate New York, where it would get so cold that all your body parts would freeze and you’d forget whether you were a boy or a girl. It’s the kind of cruel, biting cold that as soon as you open the door reaches in, wraps its hands around you and squeezes all your breath out. I made the mistake of leaving my gloves in the car at work on Friday, and I honestly thought that my hands would turn blue and fall off just on the sort walk to the building. You’d think I’d be used to this sort of arctic tundra, but it was 74 degrees in NYC during our trip. I never thought I’d leave Colorado in January for a trip to the tropics of the east coast. I guess I’m just having a hard time recalibrating my internal thermometer.
8 degrees outside makes today a perfect day to stay inside, scrounge up some coffee and breakfast (I know it’s 4 o’clock but hey, my crazy rock ‘n roll lifestyle is not an easy one), and work on the novel. I know I told you I was working on it Tuesday, but truth be told, after I signed off, I had an internal temper tantrum resulting in a bunch of useless whining, a bathroom that is still filthy, and a declaration with 100% resolution that all of my writing sucks and no one will ever want to read it. If it wasn’t for patient, loving, encouraging Alex, I’m afraid my finger would have crashed down on the Delete key, erasing the entire novel from record and leaving me to wallow around in corporate suck for all eternity. Whoa. Is. Me.
But yesterday was a new day. Alex read a few chapters and renewed my faith in my writing (and no, he’s not the type to say nice things just because he’s my favorite husband and is tired of hearing me whine) with some great feedback. Talking out my concerns and issues helped me understand that, as much as I thought I was basically done with the main story, I’m not. I have some backstory and character development to do. These girls have lived in my head for so long that I know them better than I know myself – their motivations, fears, desires, hopes, dreams, favorite colors, idiosyncrasies, wardrobes, bedroom decor, everything. But the readers don’t. As a writer, it’s my job to know these girls, and to ensure that their actions and behaviors are consistent with who they are. To make the readers believe and care about them. I realize now that I’m just not there yet. There are still some holes, some questions, some little details that I’ve neglected to transfer from the sketches of backstory to the actual novel.
That said, I need to finish up a few holes in the middle of the story, then go back and revise. Fill in the backstory. Add a few layers and dimensions. Take out some extraneous bits that don’t move the story forward. Remove adverbs. Make sure I’m showing rather than telling. All that fun stuff.
No, it really is fun stuff. It’s like I’ve found a whole new motivation. Thing is, I don’t want to get burnt out again, and force myself into another technology hibernation. It means I’ll have to add some much-needed structure to my writing schedule, balancing it with my other priorities and eliminating that which is too stressful. I’ll find a way to do it. I’m almost there. I need to get this book across the finish line so I can start the next one without feeling like I’m cheating on my girls.
Hey, if I’m so bent on calling myself a real writer, I’ve got to endure these things, right? I’ve already mastered the rest of the skill set in the writer’s toolkit – Self-loathing, check. Self-torture, check. Caffeine addiction, check. Insomnia, check. Fear and doubt, check. Tendencies toward isolationism, check check checkity check. By the end of this book I’ll be a real pro! Certifiable and highly medicated, but a real pro!