Monday, November 14, 2016

Salvage

So, 2016 has been for me, personally, a pretty shitty year. Lots of emotionally-draining occurrences that have left me...well, emotionally-drained. And yes, I know I'm saying this with the understanding that I don't live in Aleppo, or didn't lose everything in a crazy flood, or anything along those lines, so while it's been a shitty year, it could have been much, much worse. And I'm probably a jerky jerkface for having the audacity to say that it's been a shitty year, but even if I am some super huge jerk for saying so, it's been a shitty year.

Not to be mysterious or cryptic or anything, but I don't particularly want to get into the reasons why this year has been so rough, so, just know that it has been, I guess. I'm only mentioning it now because it's kind of the driving force behind me writing this post at all.

So instead of talking about things about which I don't want to talk, I'm talking about goals—More specifically, I'm talking about how I have had to let go of a lot of the goals (like, all of them, except for one.) I set for myself back in January, including my biggest, most important (to me) goal of all—releasing my second book.

Which I really should have seen coming. As I've said before (and will say again, I'm sure), it's not an M.J. release unless I screw it up the first time around.



So, fine. Whatever. We accept the things we cannot change and move on to Plan B.

Which is, to say, salvaging as much of the year as I can in the time I have left. (As it relates to my novel, I mean. That healthy eating goal is toast.)

I have spent much of this year editing and revising my intended release. I can't get it to the point where I'm happy with it. (Or, as happy as I ever get with my own writing.) My critique partners have had good responses to the chapters they've read, and my three beta readers gave it very high marks, but I'm not seeing it. Not yet.

As such, I've been working my way through another round of revisions. I'm way behind the pace I had intended to set, but again, it's an M.J. release, so of course I am, but I'm trying very hard to get caught up.

Well, it's too late to get caught up. How about this: I'm trying very hard to just be finished with these never-ending revisions (at least until such time as the proofreader gets his or her hands on it and tells me everything I've missed) by the end of November.

On paper, it's totally doable. I think. I have fourteen chapters left to revise, and seventeen days in which to do them. Each chapter is in various stages of completion. Some only need a few lines tweaked. Some require more rewriting. One scene contains what I am pretty damn sure is the most terrible sentence in the entire history of sentences. I also want to add one brand new scene, maybe two.

And I want to do it all by November 30th.

Hmmm. Maybe it's not doable.

But I won't know until I try.

So in the hope of giving Plan B the attention it requires, I am reinstating my "When It Is Acceptable To Interrupt The Writer At Work" guidelines that I generally pull out when I am participating in NaNoWriMo.

Here's the current list:


WHEN IT IS ACCEPTABLE TO INTERRUPT THE WRITER AT WORK


1. The mobility-challenged German shepherd has fallen, and you cannot get him back up on your own.

2. The house is on fire. (May also be extended to include the imminent arrival of a hurricane (Cat Three or higher) and/or tornado. Because we live in Florida, where both these things are possible. And possibly probable.)

3. Joss Whedon is at the door. (May also be extended to include Benedict Cumberbatch. If it's anyone else on my list of favorite celebrities, however, politely ask them to come inside and wait for a break.)

4. There is an actual, legitimate emergency not mentioned above. (Please see addendum below)


Addendum A: the following things do not constitute an emergency:

1. Any YouTube video you think is funny. I guarantee you that I will not find it funny.

2. Any other YouTube video. Seriously, just don't.

3. Any tweet by that guy in Australia you follow who's always posting the pictures of giant spiders, snakes, or crazy angry kangaroos. (Actually, let's just make that an always thing.)

4. Any tweet, really.

5. You want to know what's for dinner. You have two hands and phone. You can order pizza yourself.



And on that note, I'm going back to work. Hope everyone has a great Monday, and a fantastic week. See you next time.




32 comments:

  1. You can do it! Focus. Don't imagine what you'll do if Joss shows up at your door... like I'm imagining now. Or imagining Benedict... yeah. (He says my name in Doctor Strange. I got to hear my name in Benedict's mouth, albeit an American accented voice, but still!) Okay. Focus. Revise.

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    1. He DOES say your name! I don't know how you can focus at all. If he had said my name, I know I wouldn't be able to...

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  2. Yeah, I've had those kinds of years myself. And you're allowed to complain - you recognize other people have it worse, but YOUR pain still hurts YOU. Hang on through the rest of the year, MJ - 2017 will be better.

    Good luck with your November goal!

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    1. I was almost going to reply, "Well, it would be hard to be worse," but then I imagined the universe crackings its knuckles, saying, "Challenge accepted." So I have decided to just say Thank you for your kind words and encouragement. :)

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  3. Love the 'what's not an emergency' list. Sorry to hear about your year. Keep plodding on with the edits and you might surprise yourself and have them completed on time (or ahead of time?) Good luck!

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    1. I'll be thrilled if I finish before Christmas, but I like the idea of finishing ahead of time. Dare to dream, right?

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  4. You can do it, MJ. And I'm with you on those YouTube videos. Or any cute cat picture.

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    1. Thank you, Alex! And yes, I'll look at all the cute cat pictures people can find...just not now.

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  5. Good luck with plan B, MJ. And here's hoping the next year will be fabulous. I agree with you about not focussing on why the year was so shitty. It's the past, no sense dwelling on it.

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  6. I think 2016 has been a bitch to most people. I know it's been one of my least favorite years. Good luck finishing your revisions. I know you can do it!

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    1. I saw this picture on Facebook, I think, that showed a row of books. The first was titled '2015' and the last was '2017'. The one in the middle was titled, "We don't talk about this one." And all I could think was, "Sounds good to me."

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  7. So sorry you've had a shitty year. And you're permitted to say it and feel it even though there are people in the world worse off. Get those edits done. And I like you list of reasons to not interrupt.

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    1. I should have mentioned that I reserve the right to add to that list of reasons as people come up with new ways to interrupt. :)

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  8. You're not a jerk for saying you've had a shitty year. We can all feel that way, even if we don't go through those devastating things that you mentioned. I'm so sorry that you've been struggling with book 2. I truly and sincerely hope things get better. Finish those revisions and send it to an editor, if you can. Everything will be okay. :)

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  9. Good luck!
    I can't remember what goals I set for 2016, so it's a good chance I didn't achieve any and won't. You're not alone.

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  10. If it makes you feel any better, I too had planned to finish and release a story (a novella for crying out loud!) but it isn't going to happen. I'm not even halfway done with the next novel, and it's been three years.

    I will wait patiently for your book. The good things are always worth it. :)

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    1. That's the curse of writing fantasy novels, right? Our timelines are always in years?

      May we both hit amazing productive streaks soon!

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  11. You don't have to justify having a bad year because others have had it worse! Good luck with your book. If you have to take your time with it, then do so. It might not be out this year, so it's another reason to look forward to 2017.

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    1. As if we needed any more reasons to look forward to 2017. :)

      And yeah, I won't put out a book I'm not happy with, so if it takes five more years to get to that point, then it takes five more years. I won't be the least bit happy about it, but I'll do it.

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  12. Yeah, so 2016 has sucked for pretty much everybody, I think. We can blame numerology. 2+0+1+6=9. Nine years are hard. They're endings.

    But, good news. 2017 is a one year. And we get to start over.

    Anyway, good luck with your revisions. I seem to recall book one took a couple more years to see the light of day, so you're ahead of the game. Really. And anyway, 2017 is going to be a better time to release the book.

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    1. Yes, the first book did take a couple more years after that first failed attempt. I really hope that doesn't happen this time. It's so demoralizing.

      And I'm definitely blaming numerology from now on. It's nice to have something to blame. :)

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  13. If you really want to finish before the end of November, you can absolutely do it. I like your interruption rules. I think I need to apply it to my life too.

    In regards to not being satisfied with your work, may I suggest you step back from your work for a few weeks. It sounds counterproductive, I know. But if you go back to it after some time has passed, I promise you will see a few thins differently about your manuscript. Sometimes space is the best thing.

    You can do anything, because you are made of awesome. Cheering for you.

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    1. I'm a huge supporter of the 'taking time away from your manuscript' tactic, and I practice it and suggest it to others frequently. And I have taken huge chunks of the year away from this manuscript, so I really feel I need to buckle down now. I considered just taking the rest of the year off, but hated the idea of just wasting a month and a half. So I don't know. We'll see how it goes, I guess. *shrugs*

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  14. 2016 hasn't been the year I planned or wanted either. Here's to a better 2017 for both of us. Love your non-emergency list! Good luck meeting your November deadline - you've got this!

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  15. LOL! The worst sentence in the history of sentences... Oh my. I know it's not looking awesome now, but I think it never does until that final book is in print and in your hands. Sorry you've had such a rough go. Things can only get better from here, eh? Sending cheese your way.

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  16. Laughing and laughing at that list - especially the part about not being interrupted for youtube videos or tweets. My husband does that randomly - I could be washing dishes (think soapy hands), or in the middle of a really tough scene (refuse to moves hands from keyboard), or doing some other task that requires attention, and he says - "honey, you have to see this!" I answer, "now?"
    And he's like - "yeah."
    No.
    :)
    Hoping that you have an amazingly awesome time with revisions and that everything falls into place and that sentence finds a purpose in the whole of the book.

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  17. 2016...yeah, I get that. Plan B is respectable, for sure!

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  18. Loving your emergency list! I need to stick that above my desk at work. I firmly believe that if you want to get this book done, you can do it - if it makes you feel any better, I'm currently around 12,000 words behind for NaNoWriMo, whoops. We both still have time though! Get in the tea and the chocolate (and maybe the whiskey too), plug in your headphones and we can power through it :)

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  19. Wonderful list :-) I feel you on 2016. It was definitely not my favorite year ever. I'm thinking New Year's celebration this year should involve a symbolic bonfire with effigies and everything. Here's hoping 2017 is kinder to us both.

    @mirymom1 from
    Balancing Act

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