1. Christopher is coming home today. YAY. In case you were wondering about the grossness sweepstakes (I know you were, c'mon), the dead bird count is holding steady at three. The tragic bird Okies seem to have gotten their tiny plan together to not fall out of trees into the Dust Bowl and/or Emma the Dog has been unlucky instead of wrathful. Whatever the case, I say again: YAY. Now if I could only stop yawning. (I did reveal on twitter the secret head-tapping trick of wakefulness, provided by Barb at a Wiscon, I believe. It works. At least temporarily. You just tap your scalp with your fingertips and ignore the strange looks. *taptaptap*)
2. So, I didn't finish the draft of the gods book this week, but I managed a respectable 7,000 words. The lion's chunk of that was on Sunday, which is possibly the only time I've ever drafted a chapter in a day. The rest was pecking away. But this was a week filled with family medical issues and hospital trips and ambient stress and running le household solo and tres dead birds and such. I'll take it. Annnd I'm finally in the home stretch, aka the last 10K (I hope this isn't one of those false horizon endings…), so next week should do it. Resisting panic, since I'm really looking forward to digging into the 1.0 to 1.5 or (with any luck) 2.0 draft. For once, I actually have a list of pre-notes for that first pass of revision. Speaking of which…
3. Terri Windling had a typically great collection of quotes (and Tilly photos) this morning in a post titled "The courage to be bad," which says it all, doesn't it? I tumblred a piece of it, and I just saw Kat Howard has a nice process post inspired by it too, in which she talks about how we learn to let go of that idea of perfection in first drafts as we get better at revision. And, yes, what she said. I think one of the most freeing things for me about the First Draft now is that unlike when I started out and would sometimes hand this off to C or others unvarnished as soon as I finished*, I now know that the Real and True First Draft is for my eyes only. It makes the writing go much easier to know no one will ever see it quite so messy, except me. (Barring the bus crash that is one of my greatest writerly fear fantasies; to have left a first draft on the desk and get hit by a bus is only topped by the thought of a half-done revision and getting hit by a bus.) And not that this first revision will be the only one by any means, but hopefully it will be enough to enable the REAL revision that will inevitably be necessary. I think the bones of this draft are pretty solid (the outline more or less held), but it needs some facial restruction and skin grafts and emo therapy here and there. As always. Not that I'm not half-panicked during a draft the whole time, because, believe me, I AM. But I feel like I've also learned to let go of the idea of solving all the problems (especially smaller ones) during a first draft. I can take it on faith now that if I keep writing, those little alarms in the subconscious about reveals or the fuzzy parts of the ending or characters who aren't quite right yet will present solutions or at least that solutions will be able to be teased out of the completed draft (almost goes without saying that's with the help of writer friends, agent and editor, but always worth saying, of course). Not to say I never stop and actively come up with solutions, but I'm way more comfortable rolling with uncertainty now. Once it's complete I can be more efficient about problem-solving. Maybe. Anyway, something I noticed and decided to natter about. Clearly.
4. Remind me of all this when I start panicking during the revision about how it will never be any good and there's no way I'm equal to the task, what is wrong with me for even trying this, etc. etc., okay? (Seriously, this book has been hard for lots of reasons. Because it's big and epic and *hard*, natch, but also perhaps because I'm writing it while careening toward the release of my debut novel–more fun with ambient stress!–and my worry has been deep at times, but now I'm back to loving it, and I just want to finish so I can Make It The Best I Can. Hallelujah. Not a moment too soon.) Those feelings are a completely normal and unavoidable stage, too.
5. But enough process-o-mancy. Some things well worth reading elsewhere: "it's who you are at the core" by Justine Musk (HELL YES); "10 Things I Learned on Book Tour" by Austin Kleon (good stuff in here applicable to lots of situations, not just touring); "The Incredible Resilience of Books" by Peter Osnos (the sky is the sky and cannot fall); Shannon Messenger on figuring out how to deal with reviews and best interact with review(er)s online as a debut author (to which I can only say, yes, and always thank you to anyone who reads my book–I commented there too); and, finally, the Books That Shaped America exhibit at my beloved LOC (thoughts on the list?).
Have a great weekend, everybody. *mwah*
(*Finished as in typed The End, not as in really finished. The whole problem. And, okay, so I totally did this to Beth Revis and Laurel Snyder at our retreat earlier this year, but I had no choice. It was an extreme situation, and there was No Time. Sorry, guys! I sure hope I don't get hit by a bus before I get around to taking another pass at that one.)