Magic of the Everyday, Personal Life, Writing

Struggles, Small Triumphs, and Quiet Joys

As I’ve mentioned, I’m starting a novel. Oh, how that sounds so–I don’t know, so uppity? So…airy? Unconcerned? Whatever it sounds like, let me assure you, it’s not. It’s been a struggle, and continues to be one. The ideas need wrestling to the ground, and they slip and turn within my mind like the wisps of ghostly thought they are.

Still, I’ve managed a bit of progress towards getting a grasp on my characters, and the plot line. I’m not to the point of having an actual outline yet; I’m still in a state of churn where nothing is finished and everything can change. It’s a tough place to be, tougher still when you realize that the thing you just spent 2 weeks wrestling into some shape is now, with this latest iteration of ideation, tossed out the window. (Idea defenestration-painful!) It’s also a place that, when the ideas do finally open up and flow outwards, feels wonderful–as if someone has opened a tap into a stream of subconscious gold. When I’ve followed the twisty, turning ways of idea, and affixed that magical bit to the page of my document, I feel giddiness both in my brain and in my stomach, making me feel like I’ve just created language itself. (Yes, complete hyperbole, but nonetheless, this is exactly as ridiculously happy as I feel. Honest!)

It’s as hard as I imagined at this stage, since there is no external markings of success. I can’t point to a daily word count, or to progress through an outline or plot–these are rather meaningless at this point. And without those items, I often feel awash in vagueness, as if the world and words I’m creating are worthless. Since I’m used to short stories, with a definite progress, I understand intellectually why this is, but I can’t get over the slightly guilty feeling that “I’m not a writer” because I don’t have concrete stuff to show for my day’s work. You know, I haven’t submitted a story, finished a story, written a scene or two, edited that difficult bit–whatever. Instead, I’m building ghost-worlds over and over in my head (and in a document, yes), and each day’s work can make the previous day’s obsolete.

And yet, that glorious feeling when I get something right, it keeps me coming back. And my characters, they’re getting under my skin. And I’m pretty sure this is a good thing, too. These are my small triumphs, and they’re seeing me through. What sees you through when starting new, large projects?


In the “Quiet Joy” area, the weekend here was absolutely stunning. Hubby and I went to the beach on Saturday, spending nearly 3 hours just strolling and trolling the shoreline for shells. Sometimes we spoke together, sometimes we just walked, lost in our own thoughts. It was wonderful. And we came home with lots of shark’s eye shells. On Sunday, we went to the nearby boardwalk and watched the beach replenishment going on there. It was amazing to see the huge equipment moving such massive quantities of sand. And Sunday evening, a quick stroll, this time in the cemetery across the street. Three walks in two days: now there is something to be happy about!