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To do or not to do
I put a poll in this newsletter?
Sometimes, still, the fact that I live in New York surprises me. I didn’t necessarily mean to build a whole life here when I came for college at eighteen. Now I am twice that age, and though I left more than once — grad school in Dublin, a year in Phoenix for work — I’ve always come back.
There are things that are really hard about living here, and I’ve done my fair share of dreaming about moving somewhere where housing costs are lower and the tree-to-person ratio is higher. But then I have a particularly New York day or week and I’m good for a while.
Last week was one of those weeks.
Wednesday: Beers, pizza, and pond novel talk with Anna (our new weekly ritual).
Walking home each night, in that perfect early fall weather that makes New York feel like a movie set, I felt very grateful that I live in this city, where there’s a reading pretty much every night of the week.
Thank you to Daniel for taking bedtime three nights in a row so I could live my best NYC reader/writer life and eat that delicious piece of pizza.
This week in writing
A couple of weeks ago, I sent Anna an email with a long list of things I know the manuscript needs right now, changes I want to make, things we’ve talked about adding that I haven’t added yet, etc. That list has become my to-do list, and I have been choosing one task at a time and working at it until it’s done. It feels nice to check things off the list!
But then I listened to the most recent episode of Happier in Hollywood (highly recommend this podcast if you are at ALL interested in TV writing). The two hosts have been working on a novel during the WGA strike1 and they were talking about taking some time to pause and reconnect with their characters now that they’ve got a good chunk of a draft done. But then they said that despite the changes they’ve decided to make to what’s already on the page, and despite some of those changes being pretty major, e.g. switching tenses, they’re still only writing forward — going back to make edits now would cause them to lose their momentum.
That got me thinking. Is my to-do list keeping me from getting to the end of the draft? Maybe having the list is enough, and I should really be writing to the end, then going back to make all these changes later…
This week in reading
I am reading WAY too many books at once. I’m still working away at Life with Picasso and Trust, and now I’m also reading A. M. Homes’s This Book Will Save Your Life and Jiordan Castle’s Disappearing Act, plus listening to Make Miracles in Forty Days by Melody Beattie. Five wildly different books, something for every mood. 😝
News of the WGA’s tentative deal *just* broke as I type this! 👏