Hey everyone out there in internet land, I just wanted to put up a quick post primarily as an apology but also to make a quick update. I didn’t post last Friday because our house was being used as a bed & breakfast by out of town guests. It was a good time, and I was too busy playing host to do anything like post a blog or work on the novel, so I just let it go… and I really should have posted an away message or something because I’ve committed to posting every Friday and I like to meet my commitments. I had a fine time with my guests, so I really don’t feel too bad about not posting… but I feel just bad enough to make the apology, so there it is.
My house guests included my long time pal, and all around good egg, Andy Perez and his lovely family. Andy is a artist of some note, an independent comic book publisher, and one of my closest friends in the entire world (you can check out some of Andy’s work here). Andy and his peeps were with us for a few days, and on the day they left my brother, Mikey, and his lovely girlfriend arrived for a stop over at Chez Flores y Garcia on their way back to El Paso. Any visit from my brother is a cause for celebration, and we did it San Antonio style with an outing to the First Friday celebration in the historic King William district and several pitchers of mighty fine beer at Beethoveen’s Maennerchor und Hallen. Coincidentally, Mikey and Andy are collaborators on two independent comic books: Lonely In Black and The Afterlife Chronicles of a Zombie. Neither of these visits were about talking shop, they were about having a good time, and that’s exactly what we did.
On Saturday afternoon, when all the guests has departed and the house was quiet, I got back to work on the novel and had an excellent bit of output… I guess it was all kind of pent up in there. Sunday and Monday were low output days (this is normal for Monday nights), and Tuesday I hit the wall… For some bizarre and unknown reason, I had a big bout of self-doubt on Tuesday… it was just awful. I reread some to the work I’d produced the preceding days and just felt like it was all crap… this led to me feeling like the whole novel was crap, and I was at a point where I might have scrapped it all and said, “fuck it.” I can’t explain what brought on this feeling, it just happened. I woke up Tuesday morning feeling blue and it just got progressively worse from there. By the time I made it home from work, I was in no mood to write… so I decided to distract myself.
Something good came out of that black Tuesday: I accidentally stumbled upon the news that Scrivener was now available for Windows… well actually, that it’s been available for Windows since late last year. Never being one to enjoy using buggy, first generation technology/apps, I was a glad as I could be that day to discover that there was a much more stable version available for purchase. Scrivener is what I wanted to use during NaNoWriMo last year, but it was only available for Mac then and I wasn’t about to run out and buy a Macbook just so I could use the program. It brightened my day at least a little to know that the program I wanted to use was now available to me. I’ve been using WriteWay Pro which is a good product (I know I’ve mentioned it in previous posts), but Scrivener’s feature set is considerably more robust, and it’s what I would’ve been using all along had it been available to me before I invested in WriteWay Pro (still, it was money well spent, and I’m happy to support and promote that product).
So, rather than stew in my own feelings of authorial inadequacy, I spent the evening learning to use Scrivener; yesterday, I set up the novel in Scrivener’s manuscript template, and I was back to writing. Now the software didn’t cure my self doubt, I did that on my own (well, with a little help from my friends); all it took was a bit of grounding and a change of perspective… stepping away from the novel for a night helped too. Writing is a hobby for me right now, but it’s a hobby I apparently take very seriously and like any creative endeavor there are emotional components you never realize are there until you confront them. Is my writing good enough? It’s not, and never will be, to me… that just comes with the territory. I feel like every once in a great while I write something particularly clever or insightful, but for the most part my writing needs work and it always will. Besides: “good enough” for what? Publication? Perhaps… perhaps not; I’ll never know until I try, and I have no intention of trying any time soon, so I need not waste energy worrying about that now.
My goal is to get as good as I possibly can at what I love to do without causing myself an aneurysm… but writing a novel is a challenge, an intellectual challenge that no one is really ever prepared for until they undertake it. At 77,534 words, this novel is the single longest thing I’ve ever written in my entire life and I still have five chapters to go… My desire is to have a 105,000 word final manuscript by the time I’m done with edits, revisions, and rewrites. Why do it in the first place? Because I’m bat-shit crazy, that’s why. Writing a novel is the intellectual equivalent of climbing a mountain: you do it because it’s there and you have the balls to try.
Huge, huge, huge news, (IMHO): one of my favorite authors (if not my absolute favorite), Neil Gaiman, has just signed a five book deal with HarperCollins; but wait, there’s more… get a load of this:
A Sandman prequel… my geek heart is going to explode with excitement… but I have to wait until 2013… Oh what a glorious thing to look forward to.
No new post next Friday; I will be away for a nice little family vacation, and I anticipate not having internet access during that time.