Me, My Distractions and My Doubts and My Lack of Knitting Ability and My Neglected Chapter 5

You may have noticed some silence here. I have not yet taken up a hobby to occupy myself offline; for example, I still don’t know how to knit myself a hat and I will probably never know how to knit myself a hat, and I hope I don’t regret that later, when it’s cold out and I’m in dire need of a hat. Instead, life has gotten in the way of this blog and everything else. There have been some distractions, and not the fun kind, and there has been some recovering, the slow kind, and a big event of epic proportions this past week that has now passed and I am still here, still standing. E and I are still together, don’t worry. But clear away the dust and what’s left? The new novel. I have to write it!

No, really.

I have to write it.

That’s not to say I don’t want to. Because it’s all I want to do; everything else I’m supposed to be doing is keeping me from it and, no, I’m not too bitter about that or anything.

A joke last night was that it’s like The Neverending Story. There are C and R, my narrator and her sister, down at the party waiting for me to pick them back up. They’re yelling up at me because I’ve totally left them stranded. Aren’t I listening? Their story just stops if I don’t keep writing it.

I’ve been working on the new chapter, Chapter 5, and I know exactly what happens in Chapter 5, where we head off to and where we land. I see Chapter 5 in bright flashes, and I was into it and then I lost my stride with what was going on this week, but that’s over now, I can move past it now, so why won’t Chapter 5 have me back?

Yesterday, I decided I had to reread the first four chapters, the ones everyone else read, to try to see in them what other people did. I haven’t looked at them since mid-June.

It took hours to get the courage to open the document. Then, once open, I stared at the first page for some time. It looked strange at first, alien. I’d changed my contact information to my agent’s contact information since writing it, so it looked so official. Almost intimidating.

I read the first sentence. You have no idea how long it took me to get that first sentence. (Oh, maybe you do.) And who knows if the first sentence will stay the first sentence as I keep writing, or especially after revisions, surely it’ll change, but for now, okay, I still liked my first sentence. My first paragraph. Oh good, I still liked the entire first page.

I kept reading. As I did, I made tweaks here and there (editing myself is an addiction), but just a word or two. Mostly, I was reading and hearing C’s voice in my head and connecting to it once again.

And then I remembered the great editorial conversations I’ve had with my editor, her confidence in this manuscript, in me, the details of what she said, how it resonated, and it got me excited again, raring to go.

Besides, this is just a first draft, I’m telling myself, don’t worry so much. Don’t start doubting again.

All I need right now are pages. Just might need to lock myself in a seedy hotel I’m afraid to leave or an isolated cabin without internet access for a month to get them. If I disappear off the grid, you know why. Anyone want to join me? Added bonus if you know how to knit us hats.

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