Camp Nanowrimo ends tomorrow. I’ve done my best. Will meet my word goal tomorrow. Yay me!
I am well into the revision of my first draft. 20,000 words of the original 55,000 done. I’m in the middle.
Being in the middle of things is not always comfortable or comforting. This happens with my drawings. I get a third to half-way in, and it’s like I hit a major oobleck hole. Thick. Sticky. Sink-y. No traction for my wheels, which are disappearing into the green goo. Where did my ideas and inspiration energy go?
I have to get out and push. And I have to get help with the pushing.
The fact that I’ve been here before does not help me evade this place in my creation process. It does help that I know I always make my way through and up the other side. It helps that I have strategies for handling the middle oobleck hole.
I had this idea I could whip through creating the second draft of my book. I’ve got a month. The first draft is pretty good. No problem. I can do this.
I am revising my idea of revising. Like, I maybe should expect that this second draft will take me as long as writing the first draft. The first three weeks of April have shown me this.
I admit it. I am a virgin when it comes to second drafts. I mean, I was a virgin. Can’t claim, and blame, that any longer.
I am in the messy midst of second draft, and I am enjoying it. A different process than first draft. I am pickier. Rather than ‘let’s get this down’, it is ‘let’s get this right.’ I am playing with words in a different way. I am studying them, drop by drop, rather than pouring out a whole bucketful of water onto the page and moving quickly to the next page to pour another bucketful.
First draft was falling in love with a crowd. Second draft is loving the individual beauty of a word, phrase, sentence, and hearing how they link and don’t link to those beside them. Second draft is choosing the particular beauty I want my book to be, and matching all to this.
I still love the parts that don’t link up, that don’t match this single beauty. I see their different beauty, and know they will fit somewhere else, some other time. I put them aside.
I’ve had to adjust my word goal for Camp Nanowrimo. Downwards. Make it smaller. Doable. That is alright. I am learning a new writing process, my revision process, and this is exciting.
So, a toast. Raise your coffee mugs, tea cups, wineglasses, and all. Here’s to a longer revision process. Here’s to getting it right, and to particular beauty. Here’s to second drafts and being a writer.
I have a new sticker for my laptop. It reads ‘Get Lost. Write.’ The sticker is from Camp Nanowrimo.
Getting lost in my writing is a good thing. Getting lost and scared before I write is not a good thing.
There is no map for writing. The map is created as I move my head and heart and hands across the page and the keyboard. I call myself Writer. I could call myself Explorer.
I read other writers’ maps, and they give me clues to what I might find in my map. The key word is ‘might’. Their maps are not mine. The map I create is my own, the trails and geography unique to me.
I have learned to start here, exactly where I am in my life in this moment. I learned this from Julia Cameron’s and Natalie Goldberg’s maps.
I know here, a familiar place to step out from. If I come to my day’s writing feeling lost and scared, forgetting how the words always do flow, I start here. Where I am, what the weather is doing, how I am feeling, what I want to write today. I let my writing be just what I am thinking, seeing, feeling, what is in front of me. I do this as long as I need to. And then my head and heart and hands slip from thinking about my writing to just writing.
The writing is not scary. It’s the thinking that is scary, and it’s not real. It’s not true.
What is true is the writing I have already done. The ideas I have for writing not yet created. The place I have made for myself in my life to write and love what I write. The permission I have given myself.
I am a Writer, an Explorer. I create my map as I go, and I always start here.
I was whining to myself this morning about all the work I have to get done. Whining. Complaining. Worrying. Resisting. Maybe I’ll just lay here in bed a little longer.
Two blog pieces to write and post. A coaching session to read and prepare for. Camp Nanowrimo and my book revision to work on. A day-long writing workshop to finish preparing for and teach. A proposal I am working on.
I have bit off more than I can chew, I think. Did this to myself, I think. I took all this on, created it, and now I am freaking out about getting it done.
I stop resisting and get out of bed. I do my morning routine. In the midst of making coffee, my last step before getting into my writing, I stop.
I stand at the kitchen counter, dumbfounded.
I am looking at this the wrong way round. All I have learned, all I am writing about, and here I am. Wrong Way Round.
I created this writing and creating and teaching, and now I am complaining because the Universe has given it to me. I am seeing this as a burden. No. Wrong. These are gifts.
Because of the things I have created, I get to spend today writing, imagining, and playing with words and ideas. And then I get to share the words that I love in my blog. A gift.
The rest of this week: I get to read about and then talk creativity with a fellow creator. Connect with other writers at Camp Nanowrimo while I play with my book. Spend two whole days reading and preparing, then writing and talking writing with a room full of writers and creators. Play with possibilities for my proposal. All gifts.
I get to be in what I love all week long. Open the gifts I have created for myself. Sit like a kid at Christmas, surrounded by toys, deep in play. Writing. Writing. Writing. A gift.
I woke at 6:30 this morning to soggy sloppy snow on the ground, in the trees, and filling the air. My husband’s comment–‘out like a lion’, referring to March 31 today. Upside down Spring.
Yes, I am writing this post a day ahead because tomorrow, April 1, Camp Nanowrimo begins. I am signed up to spend April revising the first draft of my book. I have a virtual cabin full of twelve of us writing similar work. New friends and fellow writers for moral support, for whining and freaking out with, and for mutual cheering on.
It feels appropriate to begin my revision on April Fool’s Day. I am nicknaming this second draft the Inside Out Upside Down Draft, because that is exactly what is going to happen with it.
This is the shake-up of the first draft.
I’ve never revised a book before. Have edited loads of essays, posts, letters, policies, poems, term papers. But never a whole book.
This feels a little intimidating.
I am approaching it with a bag full of Cadbury Cream Eggs and a can of bear spray. I am walking into the deep woods without a map. This is taking my courage and my first draft and being willing to read, feel, take apart, backtrack, turn sideways, throw out, write again and write again, feed that to the bear, and write yet once more.
The chocolate is for me. The bear spray is for the draft if it gets out of control and tries to bite me or anyone else. The bear I just mentioned—he loves to eat bad writing. I plan on feeding him as much as he can take until I am left with only the good writing. Bear is sitting out there in the melting slush right now. Drooling. He just came out of hibernation. He’s HUNGRY.
And so am I. Hungry to play with words galore tomorrow, and for the next twenty-nine days after that.