Sentence Challenge – Day 36

*My sentence challenge is simple. I craft, design and obsessively edit one sentence until I like it. The only rules are to write one in a given day and to like the finished product.

Day 36

The clutter left no space for loneliness.

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Maybe never

She never wasted time on irony. Except when she did.

Like when her health declined in middle age to the point she believed she would never be the same again. Being defeated by illness will do that to a person.

So there she was again using that word, as if she could ignore how ‘never’ seemed to bubble to the surface of her existence as ‘maybe’ time and time again. As if her declarations of ‘never’ could be etched in glossy granite, scarring deeper with each utterance. As if she knew the most about her life and could direct its path by casting a word out into the universe.

As if.

At least she might find solace in being wrong. Because irony never wasted time on her, either. It played her swiftly and with ruthless honesty.

Someday, she might accept that within the penumbra of ‘never,’ possibility can shine through.

Maybe never. But maybe.

Day 230 – Back into the rewrite

Day two hundred thirty of my 365 Day Writing Project.

I’m back. Back into the rewrite. I did some other writing for a bit, but began to again feel that niggling urge to get up to my elbows in revising my first draft. And I must say, it feels good to get back at it.

I’m revisiting the second half of Chapter 3 with purpose in mind to make changes to the plot. So far, so good. It’s even a little exciting. I have discovered that plot changes have that effect on me. With renewed creative energy, I look forward to working on it some more tomorrow.

Day 219 – It’s a love-hate relationship

Day two hundred nineteen of my 365 Day Writing Project.

As I continue to rewrite and revise my first draft, I sometimes feel like I’m in some kind of bipolar existence. One moment I’m reading it thinking, “Who wrote this garbage?” and then another moment I’m caught up in the story and a single sentence leads me to breathe a deep sigh and forms a smile on my face. Can I really love and hate my own book at the same time?

Yes. I absolutely can, and here is why: because it’s the first draft. It is a simple fact of a first draft that there are at least as many lousy parts as those that are good. The point of rewriting second, third, fourth and tenth drafts is to eliminate the junk and turn the rest into something great. I have faith that at some point in the revision of multiple drafts, my love-hate relationship with my book will evolve into love-love.

“(W)riters are often the worst judges of what they have written.” –Stephen King, Just After Sunset

Day 216 – It’s okay to get sidetracked

Day two hundred sixteen of my 365 Day Writing Project.

I haven’t posted here in several days. I got sidetracked with other writing but I have also been going to bed earlier than usual to try to shake this sickness I have had for three weeks. While I have managed to still work on my book, I have fallen off a bit from my usual progress. I actually started writing something else a few days ago. I feel like I’m just messing around at this point, but it was something that was screaming in my head and I just had to let it out.

Which leaves me wondering, do I have the ability to write two books at the same time? Many writers have more than one work in progress at a time. With my day job and life in general, I feel like I am maxed out most days. Working on more than one piece of writing strikes me as crazy right now but I guess I’ll see where things take me. If I feel compelled to work on this new piece of writing, I’ll go for it. But I want to keep focused on my book and continue the rewriting phase after the first draft. I have a lot of work to do and I want to continue moving forward. As long as I do that, even if progress slows down, getting sidetracked with other writing once in a while is okay.

Day 210 – Progress is slow and ugly

Day two hundred ten of my 365 Day Writing Project.

I’m working on the first draft rewrite but I’m finding progress to be slow. I don’t suppose I should expect anything more than that. It’s a work in progress. And typically, I’m not able to work on it during the day. My writing time is at night, usually after the kids are in bed. Which happens to be when I am most tired. It isn’t easy, but little by little I’ll get there. I know I will.

But for now, it’s ugly. Slow and ugly. They say the first draft is always total crap. Now that I’m nitpicking through it, I see that I am no exception to the rule. I just hope my writing – and my book – evolve into something much better than they are at the moment.

“Writing is like sausage making in my view; you’ll all be happier in the end if you just eat the final product without knowing what’s gone into it.” – George R.R. Martin

Day 208 – Plot changes in the rewrite

Day two hundred eight of my 365 Day Writing Project.

It happened to me again. I was in the shower this morning when I had an idea about the plot. An idea that will result in several significant changes to the story, actually. I haven’t totally vetted the details but I have taken a lot of notes, and I plan to break it all down into an outline over the next day or two. I think the changes could make the story stronger. They will also require me to develop certain character interactions differently. I don’t know how I feel about all of this yet, but I should once I have the outline figured out. And then there will be a lot to look forward to writing.

This is not the first time a big idea has come to me in the shower. I’ll have to remember this the next time I’m stuck. Maybe if I just hop in the shower it will get my creativity flowing. Whatever works, right?

Day 198 – There is hope after a first draft

Day one hundred ninety-eight of my 365 Day Writing Project.

I haven’t posted here in a few days, but I have been continuing to read my first draft. I’m about to start Chapter Fifteen. Moving right along. It is an interesting process; a roller coaster of emotions tossing me back and forth in a bi-polar mindset I don’t yet know how to reconcile. Sometimes I cringe at the writing or part of a scene in the story. Other times, I am pleased. Now that I’m two-thirds of the way through the draft, I am relieved (yes, relieved!) to say the latter instance is more prevalent than the former.

Which leads me to conclude that despite the large amount of work my first draft needs, there is hope I can turn it into something good. Maybe even great.

Day 171 – Forming the habit of writing

Day one hundred seventy-one of my 365 Day Writing Project.

Words: 1,000

I thought a lot about writing today. I kept thinking about how I would rather be working on my novel than what I was doing at the time. I was looking forward to my nightly ritual of having a cup of tea and writing after the kids were asleep. I couldn’t wait for it.

When I finally got the opportunity, I was happy to have it. But all of this thinking about writing got me thinking about what I would be doing at night if I didn’t write. I actually Tweeted about this (see below). What I learned from it was that I didn’t really miss the things I would be doing if I wasn’t writing. It felt unnatural to consider them again, which is great news for me. It means that I have fully formed the habit of writing every day, to the point of rendering my old nightly habits and routines into something other than habits and routines.

Writing is what I do now. It has been 171 days (or nights) of committed, disciplined writing. This is my daily habit, my routine. And since I’m wishing I could be writing when I’m doing something else, I know without any doubt that it is a good habit to have.

Day 128 – Surprise yourself

Day one hundred twenty-eight of my 365 Day Writing Project.

Words: 1,200

Completely weary, I sat down at my laptop quite late tonight. I wanted to just go to bed. But I ignored that need notion and settled in front of the keyboard. Write, I told myself. Even if only a hundred words, write. Think about the story, keep your focus. Write.

1,200 words later, I’m now going to go to bed. Satisfied. Pleased with myself. Totally surprised that I pulled that out this late at night when I was so tired. Sure, I nodded off for a moment here and there. I even startled awake to find sssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss across my screen. But that’s what the DELETE key is for. No harm, no foul. 1,200 words down (not including the string of ssss), and the story is continuing to move forward. Progress, when I could have easily just gone to bed and made none.

When you’re feeling like you don’t have it in you or you just plain don’t want to, go for it anyway. You might only manage a hundred words. But then again, you might just surprise yourself.