Saturday, 27 August 2011

Progress, Growth and Learning

A friend at work said something this week that made me realise how far I've come with my writing. A year ago I had many false starts and bits of stories lying around on my hard drive. I liked the ideas but I lacked the will to finish them, or even to continue with them beyond the first few chapters (or pages in some cases). But when I heard someone else say "wow, you've already written a book with 80,000 words done" it dawned on me that I have done more in the last year to improve and progress with my writing then I have ever done before. The thought scared and exhilarated me in equal measure. I've also started to play around with a new idea which recycles two of those false starts into one story, with the hope I can start a draft on that while I'm editing the first one. I would never have imagined working on two long stories at once but it's given me energy to work on more than one thing at a time and ironically means I get more done.

The excitement of coming to the end of my first draft is building as I get closer to completing it. There should be about 10,000 to 15,000 words to go, so I may come in slightly under the 100,000 target but as long as the story is complete I don't think it matters. I'm taking my time as I've had some new ideas for the end, which I've been testing and playing around with. I like to write out things in a different file (or, as I use Scrivener now, I instead do it on a different sheet within the manuscript's file). It's not something I've always done but I've found it's a useful way to test the waters and see if the idea I had 'flows' or not. Funnily enough the thing I'm most looking forward to is getting the first draft done so I can start the rewriting stage - getting words down on a blank bit of paper is hard (like trying to force your head through a concrete wall at times), but taking what I have and improving it? Well, that sounds like the ultimate puzzle. And I love puzzles.

It's not just my writing though that I realise has moved on in leaps and bounds. I'll be going to Las Vegas in a week and a half with my boyfriend and it would be a massive understatement to say that I'm excited. I have always wanted to go to America, and Vegas was one of the places on my list. This too has made me see how far I've come since I started this blog; I've moved in with my boyfriend, I've (nearly) finished a first draft of a novel, and I'm going to the USA. It may be hard to believe but there was a time when I thought none of these things would happen, or would at least take a really long time to ever come about. It's made me see how much effort a person has to put in if they want to see their dreams; and how worthwhile it is do it.

I'm loving my life at the moment, and after seeing two close family members die in the last two years I am very pleased that this year (touch wood) has been far more successful then I dared to imagine. Yet I likely wouldn't have made so much progress had it not been for the pain and experiences in the three years previously. It's a shame that we humans often require so much suffering to get our heads in gear and actually start making a difference to our lives. So this is for you Gran and Uncle Jim, you are much missed even though you are still here in my heart, pushing me onwards and to better things. You have my eternal love and gratitude.

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