The Mark Blog

Abandonment Issues

It’s coming down to the wire. One more week. That’s it. My plan is to pull some marathon writing sessions, but will that work? I’ve been working steadily all along, writing more over the last five months than I probably ever have in my life. But the more the characters develop and the more I uncover, the more there is to write about. And the more I write, the more I need to re-write. Now that the stories are truly linked, I’ve become aware that I may need one or two more new stories to fill in certain holes within the bigger collection. Is one week enough time?

Probably not.

Last Sunday, I had most of the day free and thought I’d get a ton done. But all morning everything that came out felt flat, dull, informational, and not very literary. I took a break, played some tennis, ate lunch, cleaned my room, made some coffee. When I returned to the story, I went back through the flat, boring stuff, and, with the general idea intact, began to rewrite the work sentence by sentence, until I went into a whole other realm. This time, the words were coming out looser, and what seemed trite or cliché before began to take a new shape. After a couple hours I read it over. Decent. Better. But it also occurred to me, it might be a whole new, as-yet-unworkshopped story. And, as I’ve learned from this process, a first draft is still a first draft, no matter how good I think it might be.

All day for four okay pages. At that rate, one week is only going to produce 28 pages. My book is probably over 200 pages by now, most of which still needs some re-writing.

I have found that with looming deadlines, I’ll kick into gear. That’s one of the best parts of doing The Mark Program. I’ve had to rewrite stories in a week, and I’ve used every possible hour of every day to meet that deadline. While it may be true that cramming at virtual gunpoint doesn’t necessarily always produce the best work, it does produce work, and sometimes that’s the important part. I can always polish and finesse later, but it’s nice to have a good base upon which to start.

Realistically, I won't be satisfied. This won't be the final draft of my manuscript. I’ve come to terms with that. But I do want it to be as good as I’m capable of making it within this time frame, and that will mean some late nights/early mornings and a lot of coffee. As I’ve expressed previously, sometimes the process can feel endless, and knowing when something is ready may just mean being ready to abandon it. It’s just nice to have a set date of temporary abandonment, so I can go back to doing what I do best: nothing.

That’s a joke. I love doing things. In fact, I get uncomfortable if I don’t have some kind of creative project to work on. Long vacations, rather than relaxing me, can make me more anxious, like why am I wasting all this time when I could be working on something?

During the month break I have before the Final Review, I have two projects in mind: an album and a screenplay. No rest for the wicked. And I like it that way.