So, I think I may be going mad.
I gave the current draft to a few more people to read, before I start sending out queries. Logically, I know it’s going to take a little while to hear back. I mean, it’s a 100,000+ word monstrosity, and they have lives, so it’s going to take longer than a few days, despite what the crazy part of my brain may think. Unfortunately, I’m coming to find it’s the crazy part of my brain that takes over during this period.
My solution has been to distract myself. You would think reading would be the natural choice here. I mean, how many authors state over and over that the best way to improve as a writer is to read, read, read, read, read! Ergo, I should be reading. And I am. But, see, waiting for a critique of something you’ve written doesn’t exactly put one in a “let’s sit and get absorbed in this novel” state of mind. At least, it doesn’t for me.
Here’s why – I’m sitting there, following along with the protagonist, and you know what’s going to happen but still the suspense is killing you, and how did the author manage to make something so obvious this gripping, and maybe I should’ve tried something like that, and perhaps I should go rewrite that whole scene to attempt to make it as good as what I am currently reading, or was reading but stopped paying attention to despite the fact that somehow I’m in a whole new chapter and have no memory of what I’ve read since that brilliantly suspenseful moment. And then I’m again distracted by how much better I might be able to write that scene, if I only could try just this instant…
Did I mention that I don’t let myself touch the draft when it’s out to beta-readers? Perhaps that’s insane, but it’s the only way to get myself to step back for a short time, so I can go back to it with (moderately) new eyes when the draft is returned. (Ok, so I may have cheated last Thursday, but otherwise I’ve been good!) However, this doesn’t help with the craziness.
Since reading only goes so far, I’ve taken to immersing myself in activity. Which is how I wound up on a website all about homesteading, featuring a list of 43 different skills that are easy to learn. And being that I’m crazy, out of all 43 skills, my brain focused on the one that teaches you how to make lard. Because clearly, that’s going to be useful to a person who has never needed lard in her life.
I didn’t actually end up making lard.
Nope, I had enough sense left to distract myself with a different project. Sourdough starter! It’s easy. Bread. Water. Mix them together, keep adding to it for a week, then add to a recipe, and voila! Sourdough bread. Perhaps not as good as the stuff you can get in San Francisco, but something light, and fluffy, and with just the right amount of crisp, which I would then serve to my sisters on the Fourth of July, who would be appropriately impressed, and…
Did I mention it’s been over a decade since I last baked bread? Or that I’ve never used starter before?
Yeah, I made a brick. Turns out, not that easy.
It’s a good thing I didn’t attempt the lard.
In the meantime, I’m considering trying to grow tomatoes and raspberries on my porch.
Did I mention that I have a black thumb?