This is going to be one of those self-absorbed posts about feeeelings. Be warned, all ye who enter here.
So, I’m a big proponent of Doing What It Takes To Get Stuff Done. This actually doesn’t turn me into a complete drill sergeant. It does the exact opposite: I try to be relaxed, zen, accept my shortcomings, and not force myself into doing something when my body or brain say it’s wrong.
I know, it’s amazing how I get anything done at all.
The thing is, I’ve got this annoying brain that doesn’t work like most people’s, and when I try to fight against it, bad things tend to happen. The worst time in my life can be traced right back to that. When I started to accept my limits, life got better. I got things done, and actually felt like a human being in the process. Score!
What this means is that after any major project, I need to rest a while. Sometimes for a few days, sometimes for a few weeks. I’ve had to account for this when planning my schedule. (Yes, I plan my writing schedule months in advance.) I rarely let myself take more than a month off, and I usually do get things done during that time – they’re just small things. A sketch here. Editing a short story there. Brainstorming. Editing for other people. When I try to do more than what I’m capable of, my brain lets me know, and I shut down. If I keep pushing myself, Bad Things Happen. I can do it when a deadline is looming, but I pay the price later, with long stretches ofhighly frustrating inactivity.
Anyway, When I’m up to writing or revising again, I get antsy. My brain won’t shut up about this or that book, and I know it’s time to get back to work. I’m pretty much in that state right now – the only problem is, I’ve already got work to do. August was reserved to work on The Audio File – the graphic novel project I’m doing in collaboration with K.V. Taylor. I’m excited about it, it looks fun and challenging, and I’m making good headway on drawing the first page.
Brain sez: not enough. It’s already been eagerly plotting the YA sci-fi I’ve mentioned here and there, which I started in November ’09 and subsequently scrapped. Some brainstorming with Jodi Meadows helped me put some things together, reading The Hunger Games got me extra excited to be digging into the YA game and helped me rethink my main character’s motivation, and I’ve been scribbling notebooks full of plotting.
I told my brain, all right, I can keep plotting eagerly, so I can start writing this book when I return from my September vacation. (I’m going to Australia for like a month. How awesome is that?)
But no. Yesterday evening, the brain decided that if it can’t write the YA sci-fi yet, maybe shifting gears to editing The Hands of Cally Wu would help. After all, the writing style can work, but needs a lot of polishing, and I still need to work on the pacing and introduce some plot points earlier on, and -
No, I chastised the brain. August is for Audio File. Besides, if I take on any other major projects, I’ll just need to put it on hold during Australia (!!!) and pausing a project midway is the fastest route to doubting yourself and wanting to give up.
The brain grumped. The brain went to sleep. The brain woke up after an hour of sleep and said, “You know, that urban fantasy trilogy you’ve been brainstorming for the past year and a half? It could work as a YA.”
I laughed, turned over to get back to sleep – and realized it was right. Sleep-deprived Tweeting from my cellphone ensued.
The thing is – this solves so many of the problems I’ve been having with the book. It introduces some others, but those are easily solved. It changes the tone, but that’s not necessarily bad. The characters are younger, and therefore different, but it just makes them more interesting/deliciously angsty. There’s more conflict. And more importantly/annoyingly, since I’ve already done a lot of plotting for this book, it’s just about ready to be written now. (I mean, several hours of non-stop brainstorming will help you convert a book to YA in no time flat.)
So when I’m normally cursing my brain because it’s not letting me be productive – sometimes it it does the opposite.
And at the least opportune time, too. Is anyone surprised?