Many notes on numerous drafts of my novel

Seven year’s notes

It wasn’t until college that I became a goal-setting animal. Before then, I tended to follow the wandering path –noticing neither hits nor misses other than traditional milestones like going to prom and graduating from high school. Meeting my college roommate, still a dear friend to this day, changed all that. Other than my mother, never before had I spent time with such a deliberate planner and fastidiously organized person!

<semi-related tangent>When Deba’s cat Jack came to live with me “temporarily” while she relocated to Germany for adventure, first I received letters in the mail “from the cat”, then the cat showed up with all his necessary items – including complete medical records, labeled medications, favorite toys, and litter box! That’s my Deba!</tangent>

Fast-forward a decade. After an epiphany wherein I finally asked myself the right questions about what to do with my life, I was granted leave from work to finish the novel I started writing in 2005. Like any good goal-setter, I hastened to the list making. Below is an overview of what I’m attempting to accomplish, and how I’m faring thus far:

  • Finish 3rd draft of my work-in-progress by July 31: I’m not sure whether I’m ashamed or relieved that I didn’t think to define what I meant by “draft.” What I ended up with on July 31 didn’t look quite draft (hodgepodge of sparklingly revised chapters, other chapters barely begun, whole themes missing, and how about that character arch?), but it’s something, so I’ll take it!
  • Go on retreat to write a large portion of the novel: Done!
  • Draft of query letter to publishers, agents, whoever: Upcoming – I hope.
  • Write initial ten pages of next novel: I’m looking forward to this! Nice to meet some new characters.
  • Redistribute the items I own but don’t use: With this, I’m really succeeding. Probably because moving my stuff around is a deliciously satisfying way to procrastinate, like a squirrel burying nuts –so good, even if you don’t remember it later. So far, I’ve gone through and redistributed a good portion of my clothing and this past weekend, consolidated my books to just one shelf. Hotchacha!
  • Decide on new bike to purchase: On-going. I haven’t gotten very far with this because it’s a struggle for me to balance creating and consuming. If I do one, I tend not to have time for the other. In the meantime, my current bike is cheerfully rotting away into flaky paint and dirt.

In a recent email to a friend, I explained that working on the novel this summer has been a lesson in managing trust and letting go of perfection. Until I typed those words, I hadn’t considered this truth so succinctly. One item I left off the list, however, was hope.

2 Macs

Left: Orange Julius, my old Macbook warrior
Right: Ghost of Julius’s future splitting time between emails and writing