Writing log, 9/20/2016

I used to write on Medium a lot. I used to write a lot period. Between 2011–2014 I wrote several hundred articles, though to be fair the vast majority of those were evanescent shards of content — SEO spam, listicles, etc.

In 2015 I halted my output considerably. One reason was getting a full-time job as a social media editor at Salon (which I left in April of this year). Another reason was my feelings on writing, specifically on the internet, changed considerably (we’ll get to that sometime). The final reason: I was working on the first draft of what’ll hopefully be a novel one day.

My most successful Medium article was one about how I was afraid to write fiction. Getting a job at a New York City media outlet like Salon finally afforded me the confidence to begin writing fiction. I started with ‘practice stories’ — stuff I never intended to publish. I started keeping track of how much I read and wrote on my Tumblr for accountability. Four months into that a guy I went to high school with got shot in the head. Did he have plans on writing a novel but was still in the midst of practice stories when he died? We’ll never know.

I finished the first draft in November 2015, a significant landmark since I nearly killed myself towards the end of November two years prior (it’s a long story; I’ll get to it one day). I also took two creative writing courses in early 2016 to help with the second draft. Yet…

In 2016 I wrote practically nothing. I published no articles. I barely wrote any fiction. I had aimed to finish the second draft by May 2016. Yet here we are in September and I am not even halfway through.

In Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II, the protagonist is a Jedi who’s lost her connection to the Force. Just so, someplace along the way between November 2015 and now, I lost my connection to writing. When I sat down (or stood up, I have an adjustable height standing desk; feel free to hate me) to write, it felt like the laptop, the manuscript, the characters, the theme, were all 1oo,o00,000 miles away. It didn’t help that the first draft was mostly garbage narrative summary with very few actual scenes and even less concrete sensory detail.

That’s all ending now.

I’m moving the writing logs over to Medium rather than my Tumblr with no followers as there’s an audience here and therefore more accountability. These writing logs won’t always be so longwinded. Anyway…

Read: About 30–40 pages of N.K. Jemisin’s The Fifth Season. The first 30 or so pages of this book didn’t wow me but after that, holy shit. It keeps getting better. Can’t wait to continue reading this on the train tomorrow.

Wrote: Trickiest part about the writing logs for the second draft is how can you properly assess editing via just word count. Sometimes I delete an entire chapter, rewrite it, and the overall word count goes down. In the first draft it was easier since I was just trying to hit 50,000 words. Anyway…I don’t have much writing time Tues-Thurs because I get home so late from work. Today I read through one of Character A’s (not her actual name) chapters, arguably one of the more complete ones from the first draft. I tweaked the beginning a bit, deleted a few paragraphs. Tomorrow I’ll be fleshing out everything more, adding important scenes and much-needed antagonism.

Thanks for following along.

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