Are Those Trees Moving?

February 25, 2009 at 3:39 am (Uncategorized)

I’ve consoled myself in the last 24 hours by immersing myself in the new world of my second manuscript. Its characters have very obligingly turned up to help me think about other things, or, more particularly, help me not think about manuscript #1. It was very kind of them. So kind, in fact, that their combined conversations and thoughts produced 6,000 words since I signed off after writing yesterday’s post. That’s quite a lot even for a compulsive like me. And I may end up salvaging only a paragraph of this from the new wreckage that I know awaits down the track, since every MS promises to be a bloody battle for survival (I’ve just found another block of Lindt 70% in the fridge – essential supplies in one’s preparations for war), but that’s hardly the point. The point is that I found refuge in my own imagination (as well as in the kind words of friends), and I kept writing, and I think that’s all I can do to get out of these nasty pits of post-rejection despair. I just have to write my way out of them. I must. It’s the only thing holding misery at bay. 

MS #2 is only in its infancy, and is currently hovering at just under 20,000 words, so you can see what a major surge of production overtook DoctorDi HQ yesterday. Although it probably seems presumptuous to begin another manuscript when I’m still dogged by the first, the truth is I started it after MS #1 was redrafted in great haste for the second round of the Varuna HC thing, because I needed to get away from the first one, and I badly needed to start thinking about something else. This interim waiting period before they announce the winners would have been an excruciating hell (even more of an excruciating hell) had I not started writing something else. And not winning a place, well, that too is going to suck even harder if everything I’ve got is riding on one piece of clearly incomplete work. It’s an insurance policy of sorts to make sure I don’t go to pieces if I don’t make the final cut. And, after yesterday, I doubt I will. I think I may have more work to do on my own before anyone in the B-I-Z wants to pitch in and help show me how it’s done. Certainly that’s the message of yesterday’s phone call. And it’s my manuscript, so that’s to be expected – it’s just so dark and confusing stumbling around on your own, and having someone shine the occasional torchlight is the only reason I haven’t slipped on the rocks and plunged into the ravine long before now. Gently does it. I am really feeling my way quite gingerly through what’s turned out to be a monstrously large and forbidding forest. I don’t know how to get out (maybe I’m in that maze after all…), but I do know I have to keep moving.

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3 Comments

  1. charlotteotter said,

    Di, I am really sorry. I hope that MS #2 provides the solace you need, and also the creative verve to go back and attack #1 when you feel ready. I am nowhere near your position yet, since I’m only ending the first draft of number one, but I can imagine that right now it feels pretty awful. Allow yourself as much 70% as you like, and keep on keeping on. I believe that’s the way through the forest.

  2. Grad said,

    I just discovered your blog today. If it helps any, I think you write in a very clever and insightful way. One day, a publisher who is also clever and insightful will find you, or you them, and you’ll be on your way. I know it sometimes appears relentless, but putting one foot in front of the other is the only way any (well most) of us get to where we’re going. And, as one gets older, it also keeps one from rusting.

  3. doctordi said,

    Thanks, Charlotte. I think I’ll try and follow you out… it’s funny, but it’s the sort of forest where you just never can tell where anyone else is, and their position may be well ahead of your own even if they started out days, weeks, months or years later. So many people sail by while I am looking at the compass trying to read what I see.

    Grad, it helps a whole bunch. Thanks a million. You probably don’t know just how much difference a comment like this makes, but I can assure you it’s huge. And I am smiling a little because your advice is so consistent with Charlotte’s: one foot in front of the other. Basic but unbeatable. Thank you.

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