I had a fantasy of buying new Halloween decorations this year and coating our new apartment in Denver with lights and cobwebs and creepy little ghouls and skeletons and ghosts. Of carving three pumpkins each and placing them all over the house with their scary faces glowing.
So far I’ve done none of that. And I know that today is Halloween. I know.
My husband and I are making a lame effort. We are carving pumpkins this evening. We’ll also watch a scary movie, so we’ll get some good Halloween creepies in. But I have to say that doing it with decorations up makes it that much more fun. I kind of dropped the ball this year. I never picked the ball up in the first place.
I might make a last-ditch attempt at some Halloween cheer and throw up the few decorations we do have. Some jack-o-lantern lights, some Nightmare Before Christmas figurines, a couple cobwebs, an ugly witch, and a pumpkin candle. Be festive at least for one evening. I love Halloween, so I know that even doing that much would make me feel better about the whole thing.
What happens each year? Every Halloween, I say “oh, I didn’t do as much as I wanted to this year. Let’s do more next year.” Then the next year it’s worse! I love holidays and I love decorating, so why don’t I do it? Last year my excuse was that I was busy in school. This year it’s that I’m pregnant and exhausted and settling into a new town and looking for work. Always an excuse, right? I need to cut that crap out and just be festive, dang it!
Next year I will have no excuse good enough to justify blowing off the holidays. Why? It will be my little boy’s first holiday season! I can’t gyp him out of Halloween and costumes and trick-or-treating and spooky movies and decorations just because I’m lazy or tired or busy. Kids don’t care about your excuses. The ones who miss out on holidays just grow up jaded wondering why their friends have all these sparkly memories of happy family holiday fun time and all they have is their mom going, “Darn, we forgot to decorate again this year. Sorry. Welcome to the adult world, junior.”
I’m 29. I’ve been an adult for a while. I’m not naive. I know that maybe holidays will never be as great as they used to be. And you know what? It sucks. I don’t like that aspect of adult life. I don’t like that all the magic goes out of things. I don’t like being too busy and jaded to stop and enjoy things. I don’t like being made to feel like a weirdo for being the only adult couple unaccompanied by children on the haunted hay wagon ride.
I want my kids to be as excited about holidays and the change of seasons and snow and sunsets and all of that as I used to be. I hope I can figure out a way to make it exciting to them, even when maybe it isn’t exciting to me.
* segue into talking about writing*
Because writing is similar! Making something that I’ve been living with in my head for 5 years, or in some cases 10 or more years, magical and new to readers when it’s something I know so well that it has no effect on me anymore. It’s just like trying to help kids see the magic and mystery of holidays when I can’t find it anymore. It’s about storytelling and choosing the right words and creating an atmosphere, of having the right attitude and not betraying your disinterest.
I’ve been thinking a lot about writing lately. Have I been doing a lot of it lately? Not too bad. I’m on about pg. 363 of my rewrite. I’ve made some progress. I’m not going at the rate I would like, but at least I’m going.
I’m motivated about writing in a way I never have been before. I’ve always had a pipe dream of publishing books and having people like them and all that, but now I want to get it done soon. I see an end in sight, maybe for the first time. I’ve never been this close to finishing something decent, and now that I’m close I want to just do it. I want to finish and send it out into the world and see what people think. I want to know if it’s going to catch anyone’s interest, or if I’m the only one who wants to read this particular story.
Page goals and word goals weren’t working for me. Goals are good, but I think I need to keep my eye on the end goal. I want to finish the story by July (ish) of 2015. If I don’t quite finish the rewrite by the end of this year, fine. That doesn’t mean I can’t still finish part 4 by July. Writing new material often goes faster than rewriting.
Maybe it won’t be polished in July. Maybe I’ll finish it then and have to immediately start editing it and possibly rewriting bits of it again. But that’s okay. Having something complete on the page, even if it still needs work, would be a huge accomplishment for me. I’ve finished short stories before. I’ve never finished a book, especially not one that was well thought out and organized. Reaching that goal would make the whole pipe dream seem more possible.
And if I do finish it in July, my next goal will be to finish the editing and the rewriting by the end of 2015. That won’t give me a ton of time, but depending on my work situation at the time, I may be able to make it work. If I have a lot of free time, or if the idea of getting so close to the finish motivates me enough, I can see myself getting back into writing every day. I did it for two years or more a couple years ago. I could do it again. This complacency and lack of motivation that I feel now may go away. Maybe it’s a phase. Who knows.
The point to all my babbling is this:
Maybe I can’t get my story published. Maybe no one else wants to read it. But I CAN finish it. I don’t have a doubt about that. It’s not like I’ve been sitting here this whole time unmotivated because I’m thinking, “Oh my gosh, what if I can’t finish this thing?” It’s more like, “Wow, what if I don’t finish this for another 3 years?”
What if I don’t? Who cares. I know that I can finish it. And once I do, I can’t control what happens next. So I just need to finish and see where things go from there.