Wow, I’ve been gone for damn near a whole month, and I’m sure your lives have felt empty without me. But I’m back, and I have good(ish) reasons for being gone this long I swear. And I promise never to abandon you like this ever again.
I would love to tell you that August was about landing a dream publishing contract. I would love to tell you that August was about a series of misadventures (okay, there were a few) that make really wild and dramatic stories (not so much). Basically the catalyst for my absence was that my car had a minor issue and my laptop gave its long overdue death rattle at the beginning of the month. So, for the first few days of August I was without both.
It’s amazing what you start to accomplish when two of the things you use most are not available to you.
As a result, I finally got around to my annual deep cleaning of the apartment. I do it once a year. I clean and organize every drawer, cupboard and closet. I dust, sweep, mop and scrub every crevice. I wash all the sheets, towels, slip covers, etc.
I always save the kitchen for last. I could make up some bullshit about food being the energy of life. But in truth the kitchen is a gigantic pain in the ass, so I put it off. But I always feel better when it’s done. Until a week later when I managed to put the underused spices I just happen to need for once in the back of the cupboard and have to dig, and dig, and dig to find them and fuck up the organization.
It’s a two-day process and CrossFit has nothing on all that movement. I’m not too proud to admit my old ass was sore at the end. But it’s the good kind of pain.
It feels daunting at first, but once I get going it’s always cathartic. There’s something soothing about cleaning. It brings clarity and helps me organize my thoughts. It’s also a good time to take stock and realize all the things I truly have to be thankful for.
Don’t worry, I’m not gonna bore you with a full list here, no one wants to read that shit.
The central theme is that I really like my life right now. Although it’s far from perfect, every day it gets molded more and more into what I want it to be. Not enough people can say that about theirs. I have fought hard to create this, and focus on what I want, and my own expectations of myself rather than the expectations of others.
That was a hard-fought battle. That I put my soul into winning. There is a feeling of fulfillment that even as a wordsmith, I lack the words to describe.
The next day my new laptop arrived. It was inexpensive and is pretty basic, but it works, which is a step above the old one. And I don’t care how old you are, new toys are fun. It was also a great opportunity to organize my files, particularly my writing folder. I spent hours getting everything back into its place and set up just how I wanted it.
I also learned a very valuable lesson. Always check your fucking cloud files to make sure everything has been backed up recently. I thought I had it set to automatic. Nope. Not so much. Seriously, if you only take one thing away from this random post about cleaning shit, take that.
Always check your fucking cloud files.
Fortunately, I had updated in mid-June when I started to realize my laptop was on death’s door, so most of my shit was fine. But my podcast scripts all came back in a previous format, which was okay since the first four episodes had already been recorded and uploaded. And the audio files all came back corrupted, which means that all the work on the background audio I had done and just copied and pasted for future episodes had to be rebuilt from scratch.
And that sucked balls, because that side of podcasting is not my strong suit.
But it was an opportunity to do it better the second time around since I had learned a thing or two in the months since I built it the first time. And although I’m biased, I think the audio quality of the two most recent episodes is higher as a result.
And I never would have even thought to redo it if I hadn’t been forced.
I also took the opportunity to look at a few other writing projects from a fresh perspective, most notably the novel that I’ve had in development hell for the better part of the year.
Part of it was exploring other writing opportunities to get me out of there, and putting my shoulder into getting the podcast off the ground. But most of it is because the first finished draft of the novel is crap, and no amount of editing can seem to fix it.
At the beginning of the year, I was two-thirds through the rough draft and although I knew it had plenty of holes, decided to go ahead and finish it. And I did. And Jesus fuck is it awful. That thing will never, ever see the light of day.
But the bones are good. And so is the concept. I am not willing to give up the ghost. I had been reluctant to shred it, 100K words is a lot to trash. But when I started reorganizing my files, cleaning my house, and taking all the stock that goes with that, I realized that I would rather take another go at doing it right from the ground up, rather than put what I had out into the world.
So I’ve been going back to basics, filling out character profiles for the major and minor characters I want to put in the work (basically any character that isn’t completely and intentionally flat. I’m not doing this for “beat cop 2” or any crazy shit like that). I’m writing out descriptions of all the settings as well.
Also, I realized I need to do some research other than a few quick articles on the internet. So I’ll be doing more religious reading in the next month than I have ever done in my life. I don’t plan on finding Jesus, but I’ll have a pretty decent line on where he hangs out.
In short, I’m fully embodying Hemingway’s “Iceberg Theory” of writing. And I’m having a ton of fun doing it.
Oh, it turns out that Cards Against Humanity is looking for some freelance writers to work “as needed” or “sometimes.” I don’t have a shot in hell of getting it, but man that application was fun as fuck to write. I may post it at a later date.
So it’s been a busy month of getting organized and getting some shit done that I had been ignoring in pursuit of the more fun and exciting things on my to do list.
And you know what, it turns out all that shit was more fun than I thought.