Tuesday, July 16, 2013

New Books, New Rules

At this point, I've accomplished all of my major goals when it comes to playing WoW. All of the things that were driving me to log on and play for a little while every day after work have now been completed, and then some. My warlock and hunter are both at level 90, my shaman is *finally* at level 80, and I got my paladin up to level 65, dropped blacksmithing, picked up jewelcrafting, and leveled that up to an Outlands-appropriate level. I've achieved Exalted status with 3 factions in Pandaria (Tillers, Anglers, and Order of the Cloud Serpents, for what it's worth), and I did some older rep grinding and hit Exalted on a few BC factions, just for kicks. I obsessed over the pet battles, striving always for that rare capture (I'm still a little pissed that a rare cheetah cub still eludes me, that adorable bastard), and I've actually got quite a hefty stable of rare battle pets, including my level 18 panther cub, which started out as a level 1. This is kind of a point of pride for me, I will admit.

For anyone that's not up to date on World of Warcraft doings, I'm sure most of that was pure gibberish. I mention it largely due to the fact that for the last few months, these goals, as satisfied as I am with them, have been a larger distraction to something that has been lurking in the back of my head for 15 goddamn years, and which lately has been demanding more brainspace, if not actual (or frequent) action.

I have this novel, you see, that has been a bitch and a half to rewrite. I wrote the initial draft when I was in high school, constantly writing away before classes began, or after I'd finished in-class assignments, and after school - often during play rehearsal when I was not needed on stage or on book (on book, for those non-theatre people reading this, usually refers to when someone (often a stage manager or assistant director) follows the script and assists the rehearsing actors when they can't quite remember a line). I wrote two sequels to this novel, and another stand-alone novel as well, during my high school career. It may not have been *good* writing (hahahahahaha "may" - it's actually kind of terrible, you guys), but I wrote a lot. I'm not even going to try to bullshit anything about quantity versus quality, because it's just bullshit and silly and not the point.

Entering college, the characters and general idea of this first novel of mine stuck with me, and I started the first rewrite. I changed things, as is the point of any rewrite, but I didn't ultimately get too far. Other things ended up getting in the way, and I spent less time writing. There was a semester where I took a creative writing course, and yet another rewrite began, but while my overall output improved, it seemed like it was getting harder to write.

I have been out of college for more than ten years  (what was I thinking, that I graduated when I was 20?) 7 years now, and I write very little these days, as anyone who follows this blog can attest. Fiction has always been more my calling, and writing about my own life is just boring. My thoughts and feelings and the events of my life don't change that much, and don't feel worth taking the time to put onto a screen for internet strangers to glance over. I've also developed a sense of privacy (nobody is more surprised about this than I am), and there are things that I just don't want out there - at least, things that I don't want out there in this location.

But things feel like they're changing. I'm 30 years old now, and while I admitted long ago that the life of a professional writer was one I could probably not live up to, what with the necessary discipline of writing every day, and all, there are still these people living in my brain. Even though I've spent very little time actually putting down words about their lives, I have spent quite a lot of time indeed devoted to working it out. I have gone over portions of this rewrite again and again as I try to fall asleep, distracting my brain from whatever my anxiety has decided would be great fun to torment me with.

What's more, I've been reading new things. For such a long time, the books I was reading were limited to those I already owned. My collection is pretty good - I can read a bit of a book every day and not repeat a book for at least a year or two. But that's no way to grow or feed my brain. So I recently took an opportunity to hit up the local library and just read something different. I picked up a book I thought might be fun (but failed to actually catch my attention enough to make it very far) and a steampunk book, which I fairly devoured. I have a new author whose books I need to start collecting, and a new genre to continue to discover. Good times!

So I'm out of goals in WoW, my main distraction, which means I am less impelled to log in every day, apart from sheer habit. I'm becoming more aware of, and dissatisfied with, the incomplete nature of this book, this story, that has been with me for half my life. And I'm reading new things that are wonderfully engaging.

New books, new rules.

I decided, while on my way home from work today, that each day, I will not log into WoW until I have written something. Maybe I will glare at my screen for an hour and come up with nothing, but you can't edit a blank page, and I'm sick of not even trying. I want to have a completed version of this novel that I can be at least moderately pleased with. I want to have solved the problems my first draft created. And it might be nice to actually have a few copies of that book out there. It would be especially nice if people felt my books were worth giving money to me for one of these copies. And it'd be quite nice if I could move on from this rewrite to its sequel, and to complete that bastard, and so on, and so forth.

But it has to start somewhere, and so since I'm reading new books, there are going to be new rules that go along with them. I very much hope that these new rules will foster a bit of personal discipline, which I could maybe carry into other areas of my life that need it, such as the matter of my personal fitness and eating habits.

Many things to work on. I have to start somewhere.


  1. Good luck to you. Creative expression is a fickle bitch. Sometimes getting that creative stuff out in quantity instead of quality is indeed better, if just to make space for other creative stuff wanting your attention. Wash, rinse and repeat. Wash, rinse and repeat.

  2. It doesn't have to be a story to let the characters out.