How I Spent My Summer Vacation

Posted: September 9, 2017 in 90-Day Novel, writing
Tags: , , ,

The three month vacation that punctuates every school year has come to an end. Tuesday morning I put on what I hoped looked professional (though not what was originally planned due to crazy cold weather that barely broke 60), and headed out to make new co-worker friends and perform the dance of small talk.

Long vacation periods in winter, spring, and summer invariably come with two small talk dialogue options. Before you leave it’s always, “Have any big plans for the summer?” When you come back people want to know, “How was your summer? Go on any big trips?”

My response to the pre-break question is always, “No big plans, just going to get stuff done around the house.”

My response to the post-break questions is typically, “Nothing much…” and then I expound on some festival I attended (Renaissance Faire, State Fair), or a trip up to visit my aunt and uncle who live up north.

The simple answer to why I never have anything big to share is that I have no money. Ongoing student debt from my 7 years in college combined with an unexpected (aren’t they always) appendectomy a few years ago really did a whammy on my ability to splurge, and so I have fun with what I have, which in this case was a lot of time.

Yes, the summer months were spent enjoying all that summer has to offer such as warm (but this year almost never sweltering) weather, no schedules, and the blissful calm of moving to a new apartment that left me being the only person in it during working hours.

Oh, and also I did this.

Furball Finished 1

That, my friends, is a complete rough draft for a novel. It is the result of sitting down every day after seeing my boyfriend off to work, and writing.

I learned a lot about my writing process this summer. For example, I found out I really do need to get my work done right away in the morning because otherwise I get terribly distracted. There’s always some chore calling my name, or the rabbit hole that is the internet. I also found out that the reason I haven’t finished the book I’ve been working on for the past 3 years is that if given the opportunity I will tinker away at the words, because it’s easier than pulling ideas directly from my brain.

Yes, writing a rough draft is haaaaaard. You start out all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed and excited to get things down, and as you go you start realizing that there are parts you don’t want to write, or the mountain of plot that lay ahead is just too long a journey. You want to be done. You want to celebrate an accomplishment. You want to move onto something else that isn’t so difficult, or you haven’t spent so much time on. (Okay, so maybe all that was just me. I’m projecting all of my struggles onto you. Sorry.)

The easiest part was the climax. (That’s what she said?) That scene turned into my final day of writing. Suddenly everything was easy, and I hit a point where I realized I couldn’t stop. I had to keep going. (It didn’t hurt that I was 4 days away from the new school year and had promised myself I would be done before I walked through those double doors into the school building. That kind of motivation is amazing.)

That fervor of needing to finish was actually more exciting than writing the words “The End.” No joke. I wrote those final words, turned to my boyfriend and said, “It’s done.” No thrill of excitement, just cold, hard facts. He looked up from his video game, smiled, and said, “I’m so proud of you.” Then we went back to ignoring each other as I sat, unsure what to do, and he more than likely unsure what else to say in my lack of excitement. When I had explained to him a few hours earlier that I really just had to write and get it finished because I had this burning need to do so he was as excited as I was. I imagined an ending where I threw up my hands in joy, wrapped my arms around my boyfriend, and we made ourselves a few adult beverages to celebrate.

The reality was…underwhelming.

Surreal.

I mean, I had spent the last three months (the whole of my summer vacation) working towards this goal, and now it was over. I was Inigo Montoya.

Drafting Business

It helped that it was a Friday and as such I had a weekend of board games and socializing to distract me. That made the transition easier.

However, when the weekend was over, and the work week begun, I sat in my living room wondering what to do with myself. I had seen my boyfriend off to his job at 6am. I didn’t start work until 8am. Normally I would be writing at this time. (or napping, cuz let’s face it, waking up with boyfriend’s alarm at 4:30am when you have nothing else to do with your day warrants going back to bed and trying again), but I couldn’t do that.

I sat, basking in the gentle yellow glow of the lamp, the world outside still dark, picked up my draft, and started reading it.

So far, it’s not too bad.

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