Ah, a New Year. Thank God, is all I can say.
There’s a great line from Bridget Jones’ Diary, the book, which I always re-read around this time of year, that I would quote here verbatim if I had the book with me, which I don’t, as you will understand in a minute, so I’ll sum up: she is ranting about now unfair it is of – whoever – that just as we’ve all gotten used to putting whatever we feel like in our mouths for a month straight we’re suddenly expected to resume work and perfect discipline as if the whole past month’s debauch never happened.
Well, I agree.
Furthermore, I know I am not the only writer in this community who feels I am so off track with my writing after the holidays that I have no idea how to get back on, so I just thought I’d out myself on that subject right away in case anyone else can relate.
I have such a hard time with the week between Christmas and New Year’s in general that this week I impulsively – and perhaps ill-advisedly, given that it’s WINTER – decided to drive across the country with two cats and my Southern California wardrobe, just to have something to keep my mind off this end of the year panic.
Well, it was a little more complicated than that, but still – when in doubt, road trip, is what I say.
Of course, being from Southern California, I still have no real concept of winter, so when I found myself driving in SNOW with two really angry cats screaming at me from the back seat, I started to reconsider the plan. By then of course I was too far along to go back, so, well, anyway, I was snowed in for a day somewhere in Arizona, but we got out of it okay enough. Even without this thing you apparently are supposed to have for snow, called chains. I mean, tire chains. Where do they come up with these things?
So I spent my New Year’s Eve in a hotel in Albuquerque, doing galley corrections. (Did I mention that I got galleys two days before Christmas? Due just after New Year’s? That seems to be when they show up, as I know others here can attest).
Look, there are worse things, and I’m not really complaining. I have two books coming out this year. I have to remember that. And it IS the New Year, now, or really Monday it will be, because this weekend is just strange.
But despite the fact that I wouldn’t really recommend driving anywhere (much less across the entire country in winter) with two cats unless there’s no other way around it, I feel a lot better being on the road. There’s nothing else to do but drive and space out, enforced meditation, and then I did my galleys in the hotels at night, and movement just feels like – movement. Which I needed.
It occurred to me on the drive portion of today (gorgeous) – that my malaise had a lot to do with the fact that I am at the exact same place in BOTH books that I am in the process of writing. That would be – in the first draft, my least favorite part of the writing process, and in the third quarter of each draft – usually my least favorite part of any book or script. So no wonder I freaked out and thought it would be a good idea to drive across the country in winter. I would have done just about anything to get away, and that was the first semi-justifiable thing that came to mind.
But I got my galleys done (finding someplace to mail them in is another story), there was no snow today, and the road trip is having the intended effect of vacuuming out my brain, which it sorely needed after the last year (don’t ask…), and now I can focus in the afternoons on teaching my online Screenwriting Tricks For Authors class, and teaching always makes me remember why I write. I can’t very well coax a class into keeping going on that $#%^&*! first draft without talking myself into it as well.
So okay, this all might be a strange way to start off the year, but it IS a new year, and we all have a chance to start fresh. And I don’t know about you all, but man, do I need that.
That was my week.
How was yours?