beneath a hollow moon


This morning one of my finished novels, the one that had some of the best writing and worldbuilding I’d done but was structurally flawed, starting talking to me, giving me new ideas and ways to fix the broken bits. Basically, after I finished this novel I realized that I’d tried to write a trilogy within the skin of a single novel (one of the curses of being an organic writer) and it would take a mountain of work to make things right. I’d slogged away at this thing for a year and a half and didn’t have the heart to do a massive restructure and start over, at least not at that juncture. So I shelved it and went on to another novel. I needed the break.

Well, today, as I said, that old novel started talking, doing a full court press, the new structure unfolding before me. It will still need more thinking, but I begin to see how to fix things. And, of course, it has absolutely nothing to do with the novel I am currently working on. But having finished six novels, I’m familiar with this syndrome. It is yet another elaborate attempt at sabotage by my subconscious—because the novel you’re not working on is always more attractive than the novel you are currently working on.

So, I took some notes and politely told the old novel to hold its peace. I would get to it in due time—but first I am going to finish what I’m currently working on. Like I said, I’ve been through this process enough to know that distractions are not my friend. Finish what’s on your plate before planning the next meal.

I actually take this as a positive sign. If the old habits of distraction are trying this hard, maybe it’s a sign that the Wonder Machine really is back online.

I’m so afraid to be hopeful because I’ve been disappointed so often in recent years. This time feels different from all the other abortive attempts, but who the hell knows?

I should probably stop talking about it, so if I go silent it isn’t necessarily a bad sign. Just conservation of resources.

I’ve got just over 42k done on a new novel. That’s not as impressive as it sounds because much of that was prewritten long ago and I’m getting back to it. But I have written over 4300 new words in the last two weeks. I’ve never written at a blistering pace. If I can write 700-750 words on a given day, that’s an impressive word count for me. So, I am unreasonably pleased by that 4300 words, enough so that I feel comfortable about talking about it now.

But not too much. Talking about what I’m writing is a sure way of killing that thing for me.

I’ve been flailing for so long, trying to get things back online, trying old ideas and new ones, and, apparently, I finally landed on the right piece of writing at the time that was right for me. I have been able to put in an almost daily writing habit, something that has eluded me for a very long time.

I won’t say it’s always been easy. The forces of procrastination are still there—but they are the normal forces of procrastination, the ones I’ve been used to dealing with my entire writing life. Not the procrastination of the soul that has been plaguing me for so long.

And the forces of sabotage are still there. As I said recently on Twitter, “I love how when you finally start to make substantial progress on a piece of writing and it’s feeling good the inner critic has got to find new and more extravagant ways of sabotaging things.” But I recognize that voice for what it is and I can tell it to shut up and move on with what I’m doing. It’s been nagging me all my life, it’s part of the artist’s way, all artists everywhere (or most I know), and part of the deal we make with the Universe. For some Universe-only-knows reason.

But unlike the last few years, I recognize that now, too, and can shove it roughly out of the way and get back to what I need to be doing.

So, wish me luck. I’m on that bumpy and thrilling road again and hope to keep on traveling.