Friday, July 18, 2014

Big Project Update - It's a Doozy

I sat down to write this post, then wondered when I had made the announcement that I was going public with my editing process on the memoir. So I saved the draft and opened a new tab in my browser to check previous posts.

It was June 17th.

Now it is July 17th.

After the Universe gave me a few unexpected gifts last week, I did some serious thinking about writing, including The Memoir.

Before I go on, I must tell you that the Universe had to slip the information in sideways, in the guise of work, because I wouldn't have seen it otherwise. Maybe I would have. Maybe she would have found something else to get my attention or some other avenue. But I doubt it. She made the work situation so appealing that of course I jumped at the opportunity with barely a thought to not do it. No regrets.

There were so many insights from the work that I won't even try to tell you all about them. That isn't the point of this particular piece of writing, anyway.

Within a week of that experience, I met with my sporadic Friday night writing group, a Portland writer I met at a workshop in Port Townsend with whom I am going to start regular writing meetings (which will probably become a writing group and more), and I met with my Tuesday writing partner. The writing energy was strong.

The point of this writing is: I have decided to shelve The Memoir for two years. Not all of the stories. There are pieces I have sent out into the world, a couple have been published; there are a couple of stories I want to develop more or rewrite. I will continue to work on some of the stories and revise or edit them to be standalone pieces (if they aren't already).

I realized that The Memoir project had become a block to moving forward with other writing. I did complete another read through the manuscript and came away with more questions, with more problems, with the knowledge that there are some challenges and problems which make it not work in major ways. I have been devoting most of my writing time to The Memoir and it has significant flaws. And I don't want to work on it right now.

I decided to set it aside for a specific period of time so that I don't waste energy and time wondering if I should look at it. If I should work through specific passages and dig out the industrial sized shovel to fill in some of the Godzilla sized potholes and looming question marks.

I have had some insights into the memoir work in the past eighteen months and they were good. New perspectives and new energy. And daunting. And they lead to another path. It is not the path I am on and I have been struggling to keep my footing but feeling like I had to hold on and keep going.

There are so many pieces of advice about creative work being hard, putting one foot in front of the other, hang in there and keep going and you will make it, and that when it gets hard it just means to try harder and you will get through it.

I did all of that. I am actually very good at hanging in there and wading through the muck, head down, move forward, just do it. But not for this anymore. I need a break.

I don't know what will happen in two years. I don't know if I will see where it needs to go and rewrite it. Or junk it. Or extend the "on hold" status. But I do know that I don't have to think about it for two years.

So right now, while I have another three hours alone at this place, with the ocean crashing against the rocks across the street and the wind blowing the shades on the window and the birds arguing over who gets the worm or seed or whatever it is they are conversing about, I am going to unplug and move outside. There is a lovely set of chairs and a table under the pine trees, on the edge of a now cold fire pit. The sun is reaching the edge of the welcoming space and - I assume - warming it just a bit.

I am moving out to that space on the edge of the sun. I will take the laptop, battery fully charged and Ethernet cable disconnected. The owner of the space offered to hook me up to his ultra secure wireless router before he headed off to errands for his work, but I said no, I don't need the Internet to write. So I'm moving outside and away from the temptation of the 'net into the open air - even my mobile has no service since we're in a little cellular black hole here - and I'm going to work on the novel. I've already done a little work on my short story collection and it is coming along well. But I am going to return to the novel I love and begin again. Not completely from scratch, but I am using the notes and research from the first draft to rewrite the story. The first draft was rough and unplanned - a NaNoWriMo winner written without an outline or storyline or anything at the stroke of midnight:01 on a November 1st, and it's a mess, as a pantser NaNoNovel will be.

Big Project Update? Shelved for two years.

Now I get to go write fiction without self-imposed guilt.