I was so sure I was going to write four pages a day of fiction all of January. I finished Owl, which was good, which meant I could publish Three Stories Not About Birds, and then I started on the rewrites of Lark’s Guests and lost my momentum. I would have finished it within January if I’d stuck to the plan. I am a bit mourning that.
But I do still feel it’s a story I want to tell. I wondered whether it was the sunk cost fallacy making me want to finish it, and whether I should hibernate it and move on to The Pool In The Fen in February. I decided not to.
The thing is, I’m going to get better at writing. Unless I take up the bad drugs I’m only ever going to get more skilled at word choice and sentence building and, like, you know, writerly stuff. If I put Lark’s Guests to one side to revisit later I’ll be using new skills on a story I came up with before I had those skills, and it’ll be a waste of something. Think of sewing. If you stopped making a scrunchie in the second week you were learning to sew, and then a year or two later when you were good enough to make collared shirts and leg-o’mutton sleeves, you were like ‘right, I’ll go back to finishing that scrunchie now because I said I would’. It still wouldn’t be a great scrunchie.
Lark’s Guests is, with all due respect to my emplottening prowess, kind of a scrunchie. It’s a good scrunchie! Versatile, nice colours, strong elastic. But I know in a few years I’m going to be writing silk opera gowns, and I don’t want the half-made scrunchie still in the drawer or on my mind.
Monday I took Priscilla on the bus to the coast. She still doesn’t like the sea but she liked the town and the churchyard, and slept deeply across my lap on the return trip. Monday evening I’m reading Jane Eyre in a French translation from Project Gutenberg & slightly wishing I hadn’t. If I was rereading in English I’d be done by now, but as it is he’s only just accused her of bespelling his horse.
The Likely Resolutions of Oliver Clock (Kindle monthly free), Jane Eyre (Project Gutenberg to Kindle)
Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday I woke up still ill, with increasing surprise. They’ve been nice warm sofa days with Priscilla asleep elbowily across my lap, but I don’t seem to be shaking off this cold.
I went back to work on Friday and they were pleased to see me. We didn’t do much. The purple crocuses are beginning to come up.
February turns up on Saturday with dry air and a fresh notebook. I used the pdf of the Passion Planner to review January as well as I could and to decide what changes I’m making for February. Most years I have had to set my February goals very low, because it’s a bad time of year in my head, but I really feel that the increased citalopram dose is making me fit to do more than the minimum. It’s one of the biggest benefits of journalling – when I feel strong enough I can look back at this week in previous years and see what the minimum really was. And back when I had office jobs… well, never mind, I’m sorry for that woman and I’m glad she turned into me.
I think I’m doing okay!