I have been tired this week. I’m not sure where it came from. I’ve been riding a high of energy for the past few months: work has gotten done on time, the house has been kept clean, errands have been run. Oil changes, gym visits, novel writing, this blog, all of it kept running smoothly.
And then, around Tuesday this week, it ground to a halt. I like to blame these things on astrological timings, but I’m not sure whether my sign is in anything bad. I’m sure one of my professional astro friends could tell me, but I’m tight with cash at the moment and it’s Not Cool to bother people about this kind of thing unless you’re going to compensate them for their time (which I’ve done in the past, yuck).
Most of my friends who I talk to have been feeling it as well, there’s a sense of tempers being short and everything being terrible. I am normally very much not this way. My personality skews towards the annoyingly positive. This hasn’t been helped by my reluctant return to Twitter, because (and this is 100% accurate and no longer up for debate) my books completely disappear as soon as I don’t have a foot in that world. My tweets don’t ever blow up, but without them, nobody buys the books. It’s frustrating. I enjoyed my four months away.
I was reminded as soon as I showed up that everyone on Twitter has learned everything they need to know yesterday, and they’re fine being nasty about it. Do you know how tired I felt once the takes on the boat in the Suez Canal started picking up?
Okay, let’s not complain the whole time. The weather is beautiful. Yesterday my buddy Rob came over and planted cabbage, corn, borage, and spinach in garden he’s constructed for me. It’s nice to see it in action and absorb new information through osmosis, watching a friend who knows his shit do his thing. I’m still reading The Fast Red Road, which is great. I listened to SGJ on a podcast called Page One, in which he talks about his method for writing books, and that’s worth mentioning:
Apparently, he doesn’t finish a draft and then go back and add scenes. It’s all in one go. However, if he gets stuck, he’ll go back and locate the point where he fucked up, erase everything after that, and start again. I often wondered how his books have this sense of organic growth and aesthetically pleasing punk rawness, and that, I believe, is the answer. It’s not that you write the novel all at once and then publish it (which is what I’ve done with the three Black Gum books), but for larger works, more complex works, you do have to watch your step. It became another tool I put into my toolbox, and forced me to reevaluate Dying World, which has truthfully been a thorn in my side for four years. I restarted it two days ago, keeping the 20k or so words of my last draft, and decided to completely streamline it, make it a more intimate crime story, and I think that might be the direction to go.
In the future, I’ll simply let books like this go, but I’m not going to lose a four-year fight. Instead, when it comes around like this again, I’ll have the antennae for it, and turn it into a short story or something after a month. Not the case here, though. I’ll wrestle this one to the ground, and you’ll be able to tell, and then it will be out there, probably not the best book but a book that was hard-won, worthwhile in that respect if nothing else.
And that, if I’m being honest, is probably where most of my frustration came from this week. The Black Gum books just flow out of me, and Dying World doesn’t, except in fits and starts, and that’s frustrating. But it’s also how this shit works, I guess. It can’t be easy all the time.
Four weeks, barreling ahead, I’ll get it done and it’ll sit on my hard drive for a while.
Then on to the next one.