You don't realize how taxing certain things can be until it's finally done with.
With my first manuscript now in the queue for the ABNA and my collection of essays currently being looked over by the editors in charge, I almost found myself at a loss. I'd be logging in 35+ hour weeks, working on those two projects back to back. It was to the point that I had to scramble to get my reading, my lecture-watching, and my homework done in time for class. And now both of them are done; the essays submitted just before I left for Florida. And, aside from some paperwork for the essay stuff (that I completed while waiting for our delayed plane back to New England), it's been all quiet on the Western front.
So what do I do? Pull up my third manuscript and finally (FINALLY) have at it again.
In a way, waiting until after going to Florida was perfect, as the book takes place in two places: Chicago and Miami. I had been basing a lot of my writing off of the last time I was in Miami, which was way back in 2008. Turns out I remembered horribly and had actually written a scene incorrectly as a result (which ended up working perfectly in the rewrite, but that's for another time). That extra time in Florida (plus a week of not having to worry about everything) also acted as a huge "reset" button, allowing me to go forward with a bit of a blank slate.
My goal now is, bare minimum, a page or two day. Ideally, a scene a day, but I'm not going to beat myself up if that ends up not happening. I am so stupidly close to finishing it and it genuinely irks me that I let it be stagnant for over three months. Even after I remind myself that a lot has been going on in the last three months -- even after I remind myself that it took nearly two years to write my first manuscript -- it still irks me. And I'm hoping to use that annoyance to propel me further, even when the last thing I want to do is write.
Because I am genuinely in an incredible and fortunate place right now. I am given this time to focus on my writing, to focus on building on a brand new career from scratch, to do exactly what it is that I need to do before diving headfirst into job obligations and, eventually familial obligations. It's an absurdly lucky thing for me to be able to have and I need to use it to the best of my abilities. There's an alternative universe somewhere, where my first manuscript got scooped up on the first agency hunt and I became a bestseller by the age of 25, but that's not this universe, and that's not my life. So I can only do the more realistic option of working away at this again and again until I can get a foothold.
So I'm back in action again, only this time with my novel writing. Let's do this.