work in progress

I’m trying to work on a novella to meet my deadline (More info when available, but the anthology should be hitting bookshelves this June!) and decided listening to the new Bjork album for the first time would get me in the right mood to type up edits and rework certain paragraphs.

Track Three has me terrified that someone is sneaking up behind me with a knife.

stee comes home tomorrow, and I am giddy with anticipation. He has been gone too long, and I’ve been going a little crazy, locking myself up in the house to finish all these deadlines, spending way too much time with just the cats. I’ve been lucky that friends have stopped by or invited me out during these long days, but the amount of work I had to do meant I had to spend most of my days alone, in front of my computer, typing. When people call to chat, I keep them on the phone for long stretches of time, happy to have someone’s life enter mine for a little while, one that doesn’t involve chapters or recaps or treatments or rewrites, one where I’m not still thinking about the characters in Why Girls Are Weird.

“What have you been up to?” they ask.

“Writing. Just writing.” If I’m not writing, I’m cleaning. And when I can’t do either because I’m exhausted, I’m watching television while knitting, because the knitting keeps me from falling asleep.

“That looks like it’d be relaxing,” people always say when they see me knitting something. If they only knew. Once I start a project I want to finish it. I want to get it over with, not because I don’t enjoy knitting, but because I like being done with something. And as soon as I finish, I want to start another, because I have this constant need to finish things. That’s partly why I’m writing an entry right now. When I hit “Publish Post,” I’ll have written an entry. Then I’ve written a recap, sent in the new treatment, worked on the novella, wrote on the book, took out the trash, knit a few rows, took a few phone calls, and listened to the new Bjork. Works-in-progress make me antsy. Not having this first draft finished yet is driving me a little batty, so I need to insert all these mini-projects, to remind myself that I get things done, that even this draft will be finished eventually, and I’ll edit it and turn it in. And then a few weeks later I’ll edit it again and turn it in again, only to repeat the process again a few weeks later. It’s a difficult time, when you’re nearing the end of a draft, when you convince yourself somehow you’ve written three hundred pages of a mistake, and there’s no way you’re ever going to write yourself out of it.

After every sentence I write, the little voice goes, “That was the stupidest thing you’ve ever written. What are you doing? Why do you even own a computer?” It’s a weird game my brain plays as I head to the finish line. It’s the same feeling I get when I set a new running goal, giving myself an extra mile. “How did I think I could make it up that hill? That was stupid. Now I’m halfway up the hill so I have to finish, but it would have been easier to just go the long way around. This hill is high. I don’t even know what I’m doing.” And I make it up the hill and a few months later I don’t even remember being freaked out at the concept of the hill. It becomes a normal part of my run.

Oh, see? There. That last paragraph. “What am I doing? Why am I still typing? How many words in one day can a girl write before they’re all just bad? These are all bad. These are all the dumb words strung together in a crappy order. Way to go.”

I really want to come here and write about something other than writing, but this is my life right now. Maybe there will be less of it in a little while, but it’s looking like the rest of the year is writing and wedding, wedding and writing. It’s a very good thing, but doesn’t exactly make for the best journal fodder.

Um… yeah. Huh. I guess I’ll stop writing and go back to… writing.

All I can think of lately when I’m in the middle of all this work is, “How do people do this when they have children?”

Seriously, I’m in awe.

And Bjork sounds like Carol-Anne trapped inside my laptop.