My husband and I bought this Irish whiskey from the Celtic Whiskey Shop in Dublin in May 2014, and we made a pact that we would drink it when I was done with my novel.
It has sat on my desk since then, taunting me, pushing me, but most of the time ignoring me, knowing that it is totally out of my league. I stare at it as I labor, trying to pretend that I'm mostly uninterested but really holding back my own writer's tears.
But you can sit there for now all smug, you little 50ml son of a gun, but one day I will drink you and oh it will be so sweet. One day...soon.
l've been struggling in the rewriting phase of my first novel for over a year. It's been a fight for motivation, discipline and confidence. Some days I feel sure there is a good story in the crap that is my first draft. But most days it is an accomplishment to sit in front of my computer and move forward even a little bit, to get through anything at all.
Looking back on the social media posts from my first draft, I was mostly invigorated. There was something about the blank page that was less intimidating to me than the last year's revision process. I mean I'm a professional editor and proofreader. The written word should not be so daunting to me. But they are my written words, and I know how awful they can be. Before you say, "You're being modest, you're exaggerating, etc. etc.," let me just say it's true. Trust me.
It's interesting that I was so intent on documenting my first draft, when during the revision process I have been largely silent about my progress. It's hard to measure progress in revisions--I try to move forward chapter by chapter but have to continuously go back and make structural changes, define characters more clearly, fix broken story lines. The first draft was measured with word count. This one is measured by ... what? Tears???
But this evening, I decided to put together my tweets and Instagram posts from the first phase of my novel. It reminded me why I am doing this. I love it. Don't get me wrong. It's mostly painful. The pits. The dark dungeons of my inner being. I put myself down. I stress myself out. I impose impossible deadlines only to scream as they pass unmet. But if I'm not doing it, I feel as if I'm not living my purpose. It's the worst, but I love it.
If you are at all interested, here is the collection of posts, the ups and downs of my first draft.