A first draft is like a good steak…

Happy New Year, writer-peeps! Let us all do a dance of raucous joy for two reasons.

1) The shitstorm that was 2016 is behind us.

2) I have successfully completed a first draft of my angry, political, not-so-alternate near-future novel. It’s messy as hell right now but I feel pretty confident that it doesn’t suck.

Even though working on that book was thoroughly exhausting, all I want to do is dig back into it right this second and start cleaning up issues I’ve already thought of. But I’m not going to do that because a first draft is like a good steak. When it’s done, it needs to rest.

I don’t really like giving writerly advice to other writers so that’s not what I’m doing here. I’m writing this post to remind myself why I’m taking a break from this project.

SUPER-EXCITED-ME: I just finished a thing! And love the thing! I want to go work more on the thing!

WISE-WRITERLY-ME: Erin, calm down. Yes, your new thing is cool. But you need to walk away from it for a few weeks. Maybe longer.

SUPER-EXCITED-ME: What? That is the silliest thing you’ve ever said. The world needs this thing yesterday so let’s go make it happen!

WISE-WRITERLY-ME: Erin, no. You need to gain some distance before you can actually do the work you want to do. If you don’t, you’ll wind up like this guy…

giphy

And your book will wind up like his new pet…

tommy-boy-pet-o

SUPER-EXCITED-ME: I love that movie!

WISE-WRITERLY-ME: Erin, you’re missing the point. If you try to edit your book right now, you won’t see half the issues you would if you looked at it a few weeks or a month from now. Time does strange, amazing things for your writer-brain.

SUPER-EXCITED-ME: Okay, fine. I don’t want to kill my new pet with my overzealousness. But, ugh, what are we going to do for the next month?

WISE-WRITERLY-ME: Ahem. May I present, five things you can do to avoid prematurely revising your new book.

1) Write a blog post. Oh, wait. You’re doing that now.

2) Read books. You have Labyrinth Lost waiting in your phone right now. Go read it.

3) Listen to all the music you missed last year because you were too busy doing book-stuff to care about music. (Seriously, if anyone has any recommendations, please send them my way).

4) Watch Good Behavior. The two MCs are kinda problematic but it’s so smart and funny and dark. Like a grimy female fantasy that’s way more interesting than Fifty Shades.

5) Start outlining a new book.

I’m not sure what that new book’s going to look like yet, but I’m letting a few ideas marinate at the moment. Here’s to a productive 2017.

November Silence / December Noise

I know, I know—things have been quiet here as of late. I didn’t write a November post and there are two big reasons for that.

One, I took part in the carpal-tunnel-fest known as NaNoWriMo. Thus, all writing time was devoted to NaNo-ing instead of blogging and, though I didn’t win, I made significant progress on a project and churned out three times the word count I typically do in a month. So yay.

Two, like a lot of Americans, I was reeling from the results of the 2016 presidential election. Because of where I work, I can’t make political comments in public, and that includes via social media and on this blog. Those who know me personally know where I stand and, last month, it just wouldn’t have been possible for me to follow that rule if I’d written a post.

There’s kind of a third reason that’s a combo of one and two. The project I worked on during NaNo happens to be a dark-ish near-future political satire that got significantly darker and much less satrical in light of the election. Working on it provoked all my anxieties, and yet, it was all I wanted to do because I couldn’t say what I wanted to say elsewhere. I spent so much time thinking about my book that I struggled to focus on anything other than writing. For the first time ever, I felt like writing was starting to affect my mental health. So I took a breather here and there. Some days, I watched TV instead of writing and played silly games with my toddler.

But I didn’t give up on my book and I don’t plan to. As a person who benefits from hetero-white-lady privilege, now is most definitely not the time to take the easy way out. Now is not the time to go quiet. Things need to be said and, with any luck, I’ll have a first draft of my book complete by the end of the year.

On that same note, I’m steeling myself for uncomfortable but totally necessary conversations with relatives that are inevitably going to play out over the holidays. If anyone has survived one of these, tips would be appreciated.

How’s everyone else in writer-land holding up?

My Fave Disney *Secrets*

I’m going to continue my listicle kick and use this post to celebrate my recent safari through the land of plucky princesses, green fairies, animatronic pirates, and excessively silly ears. Yes, I just spent ten days in the World of Diz, where my toddler shouted “Mick!” at every turn (no idea why she drops the E and Y—kids, man).

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5 Songs I Wish My Teen Self Could Hear

Last month, I tackled five songs that defined my teenhood. Many years have passed since I was a teenager and many things about me have evolved, including my taste in music. But somewhere in the depths of my psyche, teenage me is still hanging around, all pissed off and terrified and in awe of all the awesome things the world has to offer. Plenty of songs from my teenhood have the power to bring that teenage version of me to the surface. And, once in a while, I’ll hear a song that didn’t exist when I was a teen but has the inexplicable ability to do the same thing plus more. These songs not only make me feel like I’m fifteen again in the best possible way, they make me want to pluck teen me out of the past, stick a pair of headphones on her ears and say, “You need to listen to this.”

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5 Songs That Defined My Teenhood

Because I spend most of my time writing about writing and bitching about TV shows, you wouldn’t know from this blog that I’m a massive music fan. Though I don’t follow music as closely as I used to and probably listen to more podcasts than albums these days, music has played, and continues to play, an integral role in my life.

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Erin vs. The Magicians – An Update

the-magicians-112-penny-eliot-margo_1000.0

Back in February, I wrote a rather long, rather ranty, rather snobby post about Syfy’s The Magicians, which is based on some of my all-time favorite books. Much to my surprise, that post has received more comments than any other post I’ve written, due, in part, to the strange fact that it can be found by plugging the words “Eliot” and “snaggletooth” into Google. Amazing.

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