Sigh. It’s Thursday evening, and I have to go home tomorrow. In some ways, I’m glad: I’ve gone a little loopy and have hit a wall. On the other hand, if I had all day tomorrow to write, I think I could still hammer out a lot of work.
I didn’t get as much done as I wanted, but I did get a lot accomplished. I feel simultaneously proud of my work and also terrified of just how much more effort needs to go into this manuscript before it’s ready to show the world.
Space. It’s so nice. I don’t only mean physical space, but also head and heart space– it’s just that physical space can sure lend to that, eh?
Being alone with a manuscript can make you go crazy. Back in December of 2012, I spent a week in a small town working on (believe it or not) this same novel, and here is what I had to say about it:
When it’s just you and your manuscript in a tiny house for a week, both truth and lies are going to ricochet like crazy off those old walls and you know some barbs are going to get stuck in you. You’ll go from imagining your impending wild success to realizing that you’re a complete fraud. The only reassurances you can find are electronic—Facebook, texts. You drink them like water, but even then, you think what do these people know anyway?
This has been happening a lot lately, you think. This up and down, this rollercoaster. You’ve tried to tell yourself it’s just the writing life, the way things are. And to some extent, this really has to be true.
Here I am, 18 months later, and that book is being published, and I still lived on that rollercoaster all week. I wonder if– for me– writing will always be a rollercoaster of emotions. Yesterday I hit a low low where I couldn’t fathom how Truest would matter to anyone. Yet, by that evening, I was re-writing a scene that I could not stop laughing over. I was honestly losing it laughing in my condo over things my characters did and said.
Tonight I feel stress creeping back in as I face returning to civilization tomorrow. (Honestly, it’s been so nice this week: no make-up, pajamas all day, I don’t even leave my condo.) I feel time biting back down on me; I feel the pressure of my contract all over again. I wish I could stay another week. I wish I could somehow have more space.
Interesting thing about this resort where I’m staying: I started writing my second draft of Truest at this place, two whole years ago. And now (please, Lord) I am writing my second-to-last draft (I hope I hope I hope). I have learned about a million things about fiction and the writing life and young adult literature and about the industry since then, and my book– my gosh, my book!— has grown and changed so tremendously that it’s nearly unrecognizable (in a good way!). But I am still the insecure writer who is trying to fake it till she makes it.
Some people would say I have made it. It doesn’t feel that way to me.
Time for more revisions. I really hope you’ll love my book.
Isn’t it something of a running joke in American culture to refer to the aunt in Duluth? Anyway, I just wanted to say we are our own worst critics. It’s a good idea not to be one’s judge, jury and executioner