I am entrenching myself in a cocoon. No drinks out, no dinners, no phone calls please, no trips anywhere at all, no freelance projects (difficult when this broke), no expectations, no more things I have to do and can’t remember why I had to do them. No reasons, really, just feel like isolating, just feel very very tired. (I will be going to the doctor Tuesday morning.) Just feel like not being here, and I have to be somewhere five days a week—job—and after that I want to stuff cotton in my ears and pull my favorite cobalt blue sheet up over my head and wait there, wondering, till something good makes me want to peek out. I wore a nightgown under my clothes to work on Thursday; I am not 100%.

Writing a new book and each day I am winding closer in, but I’m not yet at the point of no return—where you can’t stop writing the book even if you tried. I want that.

In the meantime, isolation. In the meantime, patience, while I stack these words on top of words on top of words.

The First Monumental Word

I may have to give up on my search for the perfect first line. I keep going back for it. I haven’t made much progress at all with Attempt #3 at writing the new novel—yep, I went back not once but twice to start over from scratch. Drastic scratch. Brand-new and blank Word document, after all the many pages that came before. The concept gets better each time (I hope), but the page count keeps falling off to oblivion. The current problem seems to be the new starting point, the first note at which to open the whole entire book. It doesn’t matter if I’ve written scenes that come after, I have to get the first line down. I have to know it in order to know the tone and mood and lens through which to see everything that comes after. Don’t I?

I may have to let go. On that first paragraph. On that first sentence. Especially on the first word, which I am putting a lot of weight on. The first sentence now starts with the word “It.” I can’t have a novel start with the word “It,” I told myself! (I’m so dramatic.) So, in horror, I went back this morning, even though I’d made progress way past the first page the other day. And I am staring at “It” and I can’t find another way to craft that particular sentence without starting with “It” and so, unavoidably, the sentence has fallen to pieces and I just erased it entirely from the document and am now first-sentenceless.

Will this ever end?

Question: How long does it take to find your first line? Have you ever written a whole entire draft and gone back and filled in the first line later? Can you know your book without knowing at what exact pinpoint in time where it starts? Can you? (Yeah, yeah, I know that’s more than one question.)

I usually get my first sentence before I can continue. I’ve skipped the middle before, but never the start. The start, for me, is everything.

And, p.s., you think that’s bad? My narrator has changed names at least five times.

What Comes First, Redux

I’ve been tired, slogging through the days. Zombie-shuffling down hallways. Walking into walls—literally. Forgetting things people tell me. Shocked I haven’t made more mistakes.

A big, monumental decision came last week. I’d really set myself up for a fall—I’d hung on to this dayjob that hasn’t laid me off yet while at the same time pursuing writing projects, just-in-case, plus freelance on top of that, and I crashed. I used to be able to work full-time, write work-for-hire novels, and do freelance proofreading and copyediting on the side, but, I don’t know, I guess I’ve just gotten older and there are things I can’t handle anymore. Or maybe it’s knowing all that I would be giving up if I took on so much on top of my full-time job. I wouldn’t be able to write my own new novel. Where would I find the time?

I knew all this, but I buried it. I kept on. I thought I was getting sick, like something serious. My stress had grabbed hold of me physically. The headaches, the heaviness, the blurs. But then, when I admitted the truth to myself (to my husband, to my mom), I felt so much better. I couldn’t do it, not everything I’d said I’d do. Something had to give.

So I took myself out of the running for one work-for-hire novel project. Postponed a meeting about another. And, on Friday, I turned down one more work-for-hire crash writing project that would have left me breathless through mid-April. Of course, after last night and seeing how much we owe in taxes this year, I am regretting the loss of those paychecks, but…

Fact is…

I want my life to have meaning. I don’t want all the regrets. I have these realizations over and over, and yet I keep making the same mistakes. But no one is going to give me the time to write this novel. I will not get a big fat check to make this possible. I can’t even apply to a writers colony right now because I don’t have enough vacation time at work. I will have to work harder than I ever have to do this, and I’m all on my own with it. But that doesn’t mean I should give up!

So I’m back. I turned in my last freelance project yesterday morning. All that lies ahead are the hundreds of pages I have to write. Daunting? Yes. Frightening? Yes. Buckets of doubt raining down on my head? Oh my, yes.

Still gonna try though. I can’t handle as much as I used to, so I have to be even more focused with my priorities: E, novel, dayjob. That’s it.

Something heartening happened this week that’s helping to keep me afloat. I showed my last novel, DANI, to a couple of people. The response! I am so happy by what was said! Thank you to those friends who read it! Sometimes a good word can keep you going for months. I’m taking this one and running with it…

Book Trailer Fantasies

There is a lot that needs doing. I have a proofreading project due Monday morning. I have a novel aching to be written. Emails owed. Comments on friends’ fiction. Doctor’s appointment to make. Outline to reimagine now that my novel has taken a drastic turn into new territory. Pitch to write, now that a tween series idea took hold of me on the commute home last night and I want to get it down on paper. Apartment to clean, always an apartment to clean. Much more, I’m sure, that I am forgetting because I am always, always forgetting something.

But sometimes I get carried off into fantasyland and today’s fantasy involves my book trailer for DANI NOIR. I decided, months and months ago, that not only do I want to make a trailer to promote the book, I want to make a movie.


I want to shoot a scene for the trailer.

Totally unnecessary, I know—we can just make something in Flash. Totally insane, probably. Totally ridiculous—waiting for someone in the know to tell me this. But let me say: I am married to a talented director/DP. We’ve made short films together in NYC before. We’ve learned our lessons. And I want to call in favors. Maybe his friends from film school would help? Maybe someone would lend us a DV camera? Lights, anyone got lights? We could shoot it in one afternoon. We don’t need sync sound. We don’t need to cater the set, just buy everyone lunch and coffee. I have a spot downtown that I think would be perfect (we might need a film permit though).

Oh and we need an actress—a girl, age 12-17—two actresses, ideally, one about 13 and the other about 16. (Maybe, if my sister has time…)

I’ll produce, but I still need to convince my husband to be the director, cinematographer, and editor… Um, help?