150 prewrite

as you can imagine, now that i’m writing towards the ‘end’ of the book, i have a feeling that the order of things is important. who does what when. it’s like braiding bread (not hair, bread). there are some loose ends i want to weave in, and i won’t get it all right the first time, and will have to take it out and reweave the flabby dough strands. and then sometimes they stick together and the reweaving is awkward. and sometimes two of the bread dough strands look nice together but have nothing to do with the rest of it. if i’d written a 3 strand book, that’d be fine. but this is more like a 8 strand braided bread, which is harder, and requires a youtube video and a few false starts.

long way of saying that i’m going to (i think) write more slowly for a few days, to make sure i have this going correctly. in an ideal world, i would have this written in its entirety, fixed, and polished before i show it to you.

this is not an ideal world.

oh, and i have this idea, but it might be crazy. in some ways, i want this story to go on, and so i’m thinking that i could continue with these characters, ongoing, in something like the format of a television soap opera… you know, some people come and go, but the story goes on, and you follow them through daily stuff and bigger adventure stuff, and smaller stuff, and then christmas. whatever. i’d still collect it into a ‘book’ and i’d still give each ‘book’ a beginning/middle/end, but maybe it’s like harry potter (not that i’ve read them) where the story spans 5 books. or it’s like star wars, where some books are before the story and some are after (not that i’ve seen those movies, either).

have you ever seen an episode of the 1980s tv soap opera Santa Barbara? That’s what i’m thinking of. it’s the only soap that i followed as a teenager. we used to record it on a VCR to watch after school. my high school boyfriend got me hooked on it. that and cups of strong tea with milk and sugar.

so maybe this ‘book’ is like a new form of writing. it’s a blend of fiction, sober blog, novel, and daily soap opera. it’s serial fiction, but ongoing. i don’t even know if there’s a name for this. it’d be like the old-fashioned radio soap operas – where you had to tune in to listen, no vcrs for radio – and follow the characters’ stories day by day.

like, “the adventures of nancy drew” but sober stories, in a series of books.

ok, well that’s a long way of saying “i haven’t written anything yet today because i have stage fright that the next thing i write will take the story somewhere OTHER than the ending i have planned.”

i’ll go for my run and come back and write 50 words.

i’m back to being awake through the night, thinking about this story, and how the strands should be woven. in what order. which one is the bigger punch. how to get from Y to Z.

hugs xo

119 prewrite

this week was a new thing for me, a new work thing, requiring being awake at 5:40 a.m. and commuting 45 minutes each way. i haven’t worked outside the house in 18 years. i am unfamiliar with commuting. i don’t say this to make you feel sorry for me, but to highlight the ‘transition’ process that you and i both know so well.

starts off eager enough. didn’t sleep very well the night before, wondering what will happen. day 2 i’m tired but it’s ok. day 3 there’s a misunderstanding with a superior and a few of us are left unsure what to do. he said this but the other guy said that. combined with exhaustion. and i literally thought “that’s it, i can’t do this. i know it’s only day 3, but this was a dumb idea. i’ll just go home.”

and i knew the following:

i can’t decide if i like it or not until it’s well underway. i can’t decide on day 3, when i’m tired. i know the first week of anything is hard. imagining getting up daily at 5:40 and then actually doing it, are two different things. with different emotions attached. and for me, being tired makes me hate my life (warning).

one thing i shared with my husband as a funny-ha-ha moment, was that on the lowest moment on day 3, i thought “i’d rather be home writing my book than here doing this.”

and that’s funny because the whole time i was getting up to write, in the dark, for 100 days, i wanted it to be over.

of course, we know what happened. i finally got to the ‘over’ part and then kept going because it was fine.

and i know the same thing will happen with the work thing. by the end of the 3 month contract, i’ll be super sad it’s over, will miss all the people, won’t have any option to ‘keep on going’ and will remember this time fondly…

do one hard day. then do another. get some sleep (i’ve just had two 12-hr sleeps). make a decision to assess it later. you can’t decide now if it’s worthwhile, while it’s still hard.

individual moments are hard. the collected time is lovely. when you look back on it, you see all the achievements, the friends, the connections, the memories, the honest stuff. you don’t look back on months of drinking and feel proud. not once. not ever.

90 prewrite

from me: because of an early dentist appt today, i’m off schedule. didn’t sleep well, it’s black skies and pouring rain at 8:45 a.m. and my husband woke me 3 times through the night with snoring and thrashing.

so.

i’;m off to the dentist, and then i will do something new. i will have lunch at Pret a Manger, and then i will write AT THE LIBRARY in the afternoon, which i never do. i never do the fiction off-site, and i’m always done by noon my time.

not today.

today will be late.

as an experiment.

i can tell i’ll hate this experiment, but the writing itself will be fine once i finally squeeze it out. the toothpaste tube of writing is getting harder to squeeze. i’m looking forward to day 100. you know this feeling, right? elated one minute, squeezed the next. when i get to day 100 i’ll want to keep going, but today i’m looking forward to the end.

it’s all fine ? i’m posting this now so that you know that the writing for today WILL come, it’ll just be later. for now i need a shower, coffee, and then a one hour commute in the rain to the dentist. it’s only a cleaning.

it’s all fine.

65 prewrite

from me, prewrite:

i am now wearing my new fuzzy writing socks. they are soft and thin. they may last one season. maybe you’re supposed to get new socks every so often. maybe, like other tools, they wear out and they need to be upgraded continuously, augmented. why would i think that one pair of house socks would last forever, but more to the point, why would i continue to wear them once they had holes in them and my big toe was sticking out. it’s not about poverty, it’s not about deprivation, it’s about flat-out laziness in the self-care department. really. new socks.

like you, having two favourite sober podcast episodes that you listen to all time, so much so that eventually you have it memorized, can repeat all the words forwards and backwards. you could download a new episode. ooh no, i have these already. (or even better, “i tried socks, they don’t work for me.” did you try new socks, these ones over here? “no, they won’t work either.”)

well for 7 euros i have fuzzy socks. ok, that’s probably 2 bucks more than i would have liked. but really. based on a comparison to what? where is the price referential coming in? i’m ok to spend 17 euros on a lentil salad yesterday (very good, reliably lovely bakery, but stupidly expensive) but i’m not ok spending 7 on socks when the ones i have have holds in them.

what if the new tool WORKS, what’s it worth then? what if these socks have sober super powers and as docsam says “they can be your Writing Socks and give you special abilities to foreshadow and sprinkle conflict and develop characters. :)” then every time i look down at my feet, i remember. just like what if the new bracelet works, and every time you look at it you remember what you’re doing, and why.

if the first tool has holes in it from overuse, then augment it with a new one. even if you love the old socks? wear a thinner layer underneath. keep the old socks. that’s fine. just don’t have your toes sticking out!

sober fiction will live here :)

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Starting on Thursday October 5th

I am trying different. I think that publishing my new fiction novel online, from the beginning, day by day, even though it’s not finished, is an adventure and i’m thinking it’ll help me keep going.

I’m on day 20 of continuous sober fiction writing today, so i feel brave enough to start to share it with you.

because clearly, what i had been trying wasn’t working in terms of getting the fiction project started … take an online class about story writing, but if there’s no participation or homework, then i read it and thank ‘yeah, whatever’ (sort of like all those sober classes/workshops where you read but nothing every happens. they’re missing the PERSON / gentle pressure / accountability part of it. This is why self-study is so tempting. Work at your own pace! Take this class even if you aren’t sober! Sure, that’s tempting. cuz really, they get to take your money and nothing changes for you. sure it’s a good business model (for them), but how does it help YOU.)

and so if this is about me, and the writing thing (just like it’s about you and the sober thing) then i need to (a) have some external gentle pressure, and (b) i need to try different. i keep having these fantastic ideas of what the book will be, and when i can’t see how it all fits together, then i don’t start. i want to see all the way from maine to san francisco while i’m sitting in the parking lot in maine. it’s a snowy morning, blue light, no shit i can’t see where i’m going.

nobody can. we just start. that’s the THING of it. and if i can’t start on my own (no shit) then i involve other people. and i get to PICK the people. like, i don’t post on my catering newsletter that i’m writing a sober fiction book, cuz they just don’t care (and if they have feedback, it wouldn’t be useful). so when you’re looking for sober support, you can do the same: face the people who can actually help.

and if my ‘audience’ for a sober fiction book are sober people, then — hey — that’s you.

so the experiment begins.

i will write here. new posts will be visible for 24 hrs. then i take them down and put up a new one the next day.

you can follow along.

but also, you can be the carrot or stick / cheerleader or heckler / idea-giver or nodding in agreement / hater or lover / bored or engaged reader that everybody needs when writing ?

first installment within the next 24 hrs.

question: Is one of the reasons you don’t read as much, because you don’t have time? maybe getting it day by day, 5 minutes a time would help?