Time is Magic
One of the reasons I began documenting this novel project is that I barely remember anything about the creation process for my first two manuscripts. They both took a long time, but I am foggy on how exactly they came to be. Once something is written, it feels very much outside of me, like maybe I wasn’t even the one who wrote it. (Is this normal?) But I’m very interested in how novels are formed, including my own, and so: the weekly logbook.
And because I’ve been documenting, I can tell you that on February 13, I felt like I was hitting my stride. I even recall telling my agent around that time that I was just months away from a full draft. Never tell your agent that you are just months away from a full draft.
Because I’ve been documenting, I also know that by February 20, the momentum was lost to real life, kid sickness followed by 2+ months of the kiddo waking up around 5am, wanting pancakes, wanting cuddles, wanting me to close my laptop and forget about my morning writing time. I tried getting up earlier, but it only made him wake earlier with me. I tried writing in bed so as not to wake him, but he still somehow sensed that I was up.
I began to feel like the only option was to put the novel on hold indefinitely. It’s nearly impossible to make progress on a novel when you can’t touch the world every day, or at least somewhat regularly. I told myself I could focus on short fiction for a while — and I did revise an old story and begin drafting a new one. But putting this project on hold also made me feel terribly sad and a little hopeless.
It’s a phase, it’s a phase, it’s only a phase, I kept telling myself. And I think it was?
It has been two weeks since the kiddo started sleeping a little later, and I am still hesitant to say I have my mornings back. After all, he is only sleeping until 5:45 or 6. But 45 minutes or an hour each morning — that’s enough to give me hope again. I have been back in the novel, reading old words to remind myself where I left off, writing new words.
The distance has perhaps been a good thing. This week, I was able to finally make a big decision about the narrator’s backstory — something I’d been waffling on since day one — and that brought its own momentum. There were scenes I was waiting to write because they hinged on this unknown, and now I’m happily drafting.
Time! Imagine that.