I'm supposed to be getting schoolwork done, but the truth is, there's only two weeks left of that and my heart just isn't in it.
So, here I am, taking a break from writing with...yet more writing.
It's funny. I've spent the better part of my adult life trying to avoid becoming a writer of any kind. The lure was always there. I love stories. I think narrative is how people understand the world, and that you can learn all sorts of things about people by the stories they choose to hear and tell.
Thing was, though, that my grandmother was a professional author. As in, able to pay at least some of the bills by selling her work. What I've read of it wasn't really my genre, but it was beautifully crafted.
She was very good.
She died a paranoid shut-in, though, and I've always felt that her occupation was a contributing factor. That by turning her attention so far into worlds she built, she lost touch with the real one in some profound and irretrievable way.
So I always, always found something else to do when I was younger. I spent a lot of that energy on roleplaying games like D&D, just to have that creative energy going somewhere harmless. Say what you will about sitting around a table with dice and Mountain Dew, it still gets you out of the house and interacting with real human beings.
Last May, though, I was really depressed about finals. They were harder than I could ever remember school being. My most recent gaming group had collapsed due to a variety of factors. My best friends were all very busy, and I didn't want to be a downer. My girlfriend was in worse shape than I was.
I decided that, to feel better about life, I ought to Do Something.
So I sat down and wrote my first novel. Took roughly five weeks, and I completely shot from the hip. No outline, nothing, just sat down and typed every day. (We're not talking a NaNoWriMo novella, either. It's about 100,000 words.)
Then I went to Washington to visit my family and friends for a couple of weeks, came home, and cranked out the sequel.
(The two are sort of...me playing with the Hero's Journey. They coincide with me reading volumes of TVTropes. I'm not ready to post them online, at least not whole - I'm still holding out hope that I'll find some time to edit them properly, and maybe find an agent. Sell them. Become wealthy and famous and all that other stuff that'll never happen. But I'll post excerpts at some point.)
The whole deal was very cathartic, honestly. It was better than playing roleplaying games. It was better than watching TV or movies. It was better than reading books. My record was 19 hours out of 24 spent just writing - got in over 8700 words just that day, and I nearly forgot to eat. It was glorious, and I was hooked.
I took it for proof that I'd been wrong when I was younger. That I should've done this a long time ago.
Then school started back up, and...that's about where I first ran into trouble. I scrapped a 62000+ word partial draft of the third novel because it wasn't gelling. Wrote some short stories to sort of set the scene, and started the third novel over from scratch.
The second time around with that book is going better: it's more focused, and I have a better idea of what to do with a number of the characters. It's still a little labyrinthine though, due to the number of characters and plots I need to make sure to address. As a result, I'm worried about coming in at a reasonable length.
I most emphatically don't want to push the story past a trilogy. I really want to write about other characters soon, give these ones a rest.
So...since I was feeling stuck, I started another project that is tangentially connected. A distant spinoff that shares the rules of the original series, but none of the characters or specific situations.
This evening, I'm feeling a little tired to keep that on the rails, so here I am: writing a blog post to take a break from writing a novella that is a break from my novel that is a break from my work.
Looking back at what's gone on tonight, I think maybe I made the right call when I was younger. This really is looking like a trap, now.
Since I'm already a junkie, though, I'll spend some time talking about how I went about this. Probably next time.