Writing status

Making my list Monday helped immeasurably. I since started another list next to my computer about possible blog topics so I should be good to go for quite some time, with plenty of room to rant and rave as as the mood strikes.  While other bloggers are dropping like flies, giving up on the medium for all sorts of valid reasons, I, your host, everything in between, am ready to step it all up a notch – take it to a whole other level.  I suspect these other bloggers might not enjoy naval gazing quite as much as I do – it’s no surprise I love blogging, given my prolific propensity for journaling of all sorts, from what I ate for the day to my undeveloped thoughts on Turkey’s government.  Document, document, document, I say – how else will future generations be entertained? I mean, thanks to global warming they’ll probably survive on freeze-dried sea weed and rage, and probably they should know I once dined on turkey burgers and vodka.

But anyway. My writing status.  The writing, it goes well. What I’ve had to do, in order for it to go well, is to break my goals up by week, stop reading how to write books, and develop a schedule tailored to my rather come-what-may approach to this whole process.  Regarding my novel, I had to decide it was perfectly okay NOT to write on it every day simply because, and I don’t know if you know this or not, but writing a novel is HARD and things crop up like timelines and plot points and CHARACTERS YOU DIDN’T EVEN KNOW EXISTED, and then you have to compensate.  My last take on the same story was such a frickin’ mess I stopped the writing, changed the point of view, actually started it where the action begins and figured out things like the actual dates of the Gulf War and what tribe of Native Americans have a reservation near the setting of the story.  And because problems like these continually crop up I’ve decided to work on the novel for one week, and the next research and fix whatever problems come up, so I’m in a bit of a write, revise, write, revise situation which is not recommended by any novelist anywhere but is the only way I will get the damn thing written, ever.  And for the first time in my whole writerly life I am thinking in terms of symbolism and metaphor, and what this novel will be SAYING, and I know the very last line.  Can you imagine that? I know how the novel ends and I know the last line. I think things are looking good.  I even know what colony I want to take this to in 2008.  I think at the very least, I will complete this sucker.

But what about the nonfiction, you ask? You know, what you got your MFA in? Well, I’ve decided since I write nonfiction all day long for a nice salary, health benefits and loads of vacation, the degree has paid for itself.  I don’t have to write nonfiction in my spare time if I don’t want to.  When I decided this I felt so happy.  I think I’ve been wrapped up in the whole nonfiction brain…like, how can I write a novel when I haven’t published my expose on crossword puzzles to the New Yorker…how can I play around with fiction when literary journals reject the work I did for graduate school? S. made it very clear for me….if I’m writing nonfiction all day long, and a lot of technical and sometimes sad but never ever easy or happy nonfiction, perhaps I need a little escapism at the end of it.  I think he’s absolutely correct. That said, I am working on a 1000 word piece about Detroit for LIterary Journal that Rejected Me and working on a long, lay essay about the integrity of cancer cells and still plan to work and revise my MFA manuscript so, you know, I haven’t completely forsaken the genre or anything like that. 

With regards to my work writing, it goes – it goes – it goes.  Every day I walk the halls of the hospital I see patients and survivors who inspire me to continue writing about cancer in its many, many facets – from the cell-signaling pathway that needs a targeted therapy to the antioxidants possibly found in green tea polyphenols to the necessity of legalizing stem cell research to the lives saved and the lives lost in this sea of a disease, and I am honored that I can be a writer for these people. 

That’s it, from my corner of the writerly world.  If I dared to classify how it’s all going, I would say, since developing realistic expectations and accepting my schedule and my life for where they are right now, instead of where I’d like them to be, I would say it goes well. And, forty-five minutes is enough to write a paragraph, when that’s all you have.

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11 Responses to Writing status

  1. nicolemarie says:

    I really enjoyed this post on so many different level. I can totally relate. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and feelings.

  2. Make Tea Not War says:

    Good on you for the keeping blogging and also on realising you can focus on fiction, if that’s were your heart currently is. And, who knows, once you’ve got a few novels under you belt maybe non fiction will seem more compelling again.

  3. Andi says:

    You’re so inspiring. Once my thesis is done I’m kicking into full-on novel mode for the summer. Now I just have to decide *which* novel to start with. Do I go with the entertaining, snarky (marketable) girly fiction or start with the research-heavy, literary piece. *sigh*

    I’m glad things are going well!

  4. Dorothy W. says:

    It’s great to make a realization like that, isn’t it? Now you are free to write your fiction — I hope it goes very well!

  5. yogamum says:

    I knew the last line of my novel when I started, too!

    Of course the 80,000 words before it need a LOT of revising…

  6. Nicole – thanks so much! I’m glad you can relate – that’s why I love blogging!
    Ms. Make Tea – I sure am goign to miss your blog, though! I wonder if I’ll burn out on this someday. it’s possible.
    Andi, inspiring, me? THANK YOU. I say write the book you want to write the most, and the one that you know you can finish.
    Dorothy…I feel very free right now, is the best way to describe it.
    Yogamum – Yes, it is those darn 80000 words that are tripping me up, every day!

  7. LK says:

    Rock and roll, Courtney!!!!

  8. Smithereens says:

    Characters I didn’t even know existed just popping in to say hello? Why, Courtney, you must be a mind-reader, I have a serious case in my own novella right now!

  9. LK -LOL!!
    Smithereens….characters certainly have a lot of balls, anymore. I bet it wasn’t like this back when Faulkner and Hemingway were writing…I bet in the good old days characters behaved themselves.

  10. Emily says:

    You’re so, so smart! I really can’t wait till you finish that novel, as you’re an inspiration to me to work on mine (which has sat abandoned for some time, because I got “stuck” and am hoping I’ll just magically unstick myself by not thinking about it for a while). It makes absolutely perfect sense if you’re writing nonfiction all day long at work to write fiction in your spare time.

  11. litlove says:

    Every so often there just has to be a shake up and a reassessment of one’s writing world, doesn’t there? And you’re right, Courtney, writing is HARD and demanding and simply cannot be done without stops and starts, highs and lows, hiatuses and lapses. I wish it were any other way, but it’s an awkward conclusion I’ve come to myself. Mind you, I’m still pretending I can do it like a day job, even so! Will you post next on how to integrate rational perspectives into what you actually do everyday??? I need the help!

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