done. now what?

i finished it. the last post for the first draft of a lesson in vanishing is up. which means the first draft is done. so now

sometimes this is what i feel like...

what do i do?

i know the answer. obviously, i’m supposed to move on to the second draft. and i have been, sort of. very slowly. i’d hesitate to call it an editing stage, when really what i’m doing is adding words to bulk up the count. the word count is pretty puny at this point-the first draft has, oh, maybe 19,000 words? according to wikipedia, that’s a novella.

sure, i was aiming for novel, which is only 40,000 words. or more. i’m trying to convince myself i’m okay with a novella. i should be. for my first attempt, it’s not bad. i guess. hell, steve martin wrote two novellas before he settled into a full length (and shopgirl was lovely; length had nothing to do with it).

there’s a writer’s conference this fall that i’m hoping to attend, and one of the features is one on one manuscript critiques. as it stands now, vanishing would crumble to dust under a critique. or i’d just get all blustery and arrogant and be like, well, what the fuck do you know? except that these are so called experts, so they probably know far more than i do.

basically it comes down to discipline. i was pretty surprised at myself that i managed to push through and actually achieve my CEBS (next goal: finish that goddamn CDP certification i started 6 years ago). so it stands to reason that with this new-found determination i should be able to actually sit down for an hour or two, a few days a week, and write. write anything, really, but mostly get this 2nd draft finished.

except that i haven’t really had the motivation to do that. ever since i finished my exams, all i’ve wanted to do in the evenings is sit on my ass, maybe watch some TV, and read. read a LOT. so when i hear that if i’m actually serious about this writing business,  i should be writing something every day, i’m like, uh, no.

the idea that i can, and will, ignore my own work for days or weeks on end smacks of lack of discipline. this would be bad, very bad, if i intended to make a living with this endeavor. especially if i wanted to do genre fiction, where i’d be up against deadlines…do straight up fiction writers have deadlines? it makes sense that a genre writer would. most of the time it’s a part of a series, and fans get a little too antsy if there’s too much time between books. but some authors go years between books.

the other problem is the other stories crowding to get out. i’m getting older and i shouldn’t be relying on my elephantine memory as a tool for procrastination.

bottom line: i am the reluctant writer. and it’s put up or shut up time. do i make a go of this and stop whining, or do i cast it to the wayside like so many of my other hobbies and pick it up whenever i feel like it? do i honestly want to try and make a living off of words? or do i try to content myself with being a cubicle monkey (preferably at a place with awesome perks and a quieter office, not to mention better, more engaging, more challenging work)?

grr.

*image via ics.uci.edu

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