I have these clear memories of Summer 2000. I just cleared sixth grade with a dumb graduation where we all stood on bleachers singing "Graduation Song" by Vitamin C, and I was weeks away from starting my grand adventure in middle school. In the interim, I sat on my computer, legs crossed, fan blowing in my face, and a cup of ice by my side.
I wrote from eight in the morning to eleven at night. I typed the hell out of a high fantasy saga. I didn't go outside, I didn't play with friends, I just clickity-clack-cobbled a story together about a dragon princess and a lowly stableboy and their army of fire-breathing monster buddies, and I was in Heaven.
Didn't get much better than that.
So why is it that now I sit at a table, scribbling senseless doodles and wishing I had more chores to do?
To be fair, it's probably because the dragon princess saga sucked and I never went back and revised it.
But then I remember how much I enjoyed revising my other manuscript, way back in college, and how I would sit on my bed in my crappy little Chicago apartment and listen to Modest Mouse and thread all of the threads.
I tell myself I'm lucky, to have all this time to write, to focus solely on this book and get it out there. And then I start to realize that perhaps it's the pressure of writing so many hours a day that is making me balk.
So I've tried to be nicer to myself lately. Work as long as you can, come up with a reasonable goal, and get at least that much done.
It's been working so far. While I had the unreasonable goal to get to the end of my manuscript by the end of this week, I have gotten a good chunk of pages closer to the end. In mid-September, I started rewrites, and now I'm a third of the way done. That's not anything to shake your head at.
Just a little every day. Don't have to save the world all at once.
Bring me my ice cubes.
What is this?
Dawson is an editor and writer and MFA student at Stonecoast. She writes stuff.