Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Writing again

Some of you who follow me on Twitter know this already, but I started working on the next book in the Bad Fairy series on Sunday night. I fired off 6,000 words that first night, and another 1900 last night. (Would have been more, but illness is interfering, and my upstairs neighbors' noise consistently prevents me from napping.)

Starting this now was probably a bad idea. I am not exactly what you might call a well person when I am writing. Until I'm finished writing it, my life will become a series of gasping and choking my way around doing anything else. I write very hard and fast. It more or less consumes my existence and there's not much room for anything else. And I've chosen to start the book at an extremely inconvenient time in my life. My sister is getting married. My other sister is coming to visit in association with the wedding, bringing her husband and son (yaaaaaay tiny nephew, I want to eat his little face!). I have a book coming out in a few months. I keep getting appearance invitations. And I may or may not be seriously ill. (I've been dealing with a mysterious condition for over a year that seems to come and go, but nowadays it's come and not gone for over a month, so I'm going to the doctor at the end of the week. I hope it's not something awful.)

But I love the feeling of diving in and swimming around in this world again. I love waking up and knowing there's new material I can reread and build on. I love spending an evening seeing things falling into place and remembering why I love this character so much. I missed Delia, and I haven't finished bringing her life to the page. She's so much fun, even though she's being a huge brat right now. (What do you want? She's been dealt a terrible, life-changing disappointment at the tender age of thirteen, and she's trying to come to terms with it. Her poor mother.) I can't wait to take her through her adolescence and get her to the heart of her story. Even though spending time in her head is really disorienting sometimes.

As much as writing takes out of me, it does sustain me and lift me up. I love love love writing. I haven't written a new novel since 2012--just a few short stories, and of course the nonfiction book. I've just been letting distraction after distraction take priority--getting signed to a literary agency, going on submission, getting another literary agent for my nonfiction, that book selling to a publisher, multiple appearances and interviews, several major vacations, Pitch Wars and editing for mentees, family stuff, art projects, other obligations . . . it made the world in my head pretty crowded.

And it wasn't that I think I need to "find the perfect time to write." That time doesn't exist. Your distractions and hardships and competing projects don't just ease off one day and set the stage for an idyllic "writing oasis" for you (unless you're very lucky). I already know that, and know it's a matter of fitting it into the everyday--so writing is the default and regular state of your life, not a special island you clear in your world. But for me, the last couple of years have just not been a good headspace for writing this book. This story is emotionally overwhelming for me, and it's going to get more overwhelming right from here, right from now. I almost feel like crying while writing this and trying to choose words that will convey what a knock-down drag-out whammy this is going to be.

Maybe in my next blog post I'll share a few out-of-context quotes from Delia so you can see what she's up to. :)

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