(This is a repost of my December 5, 2017 blog. This is one of the few things from this timeframe that has not changed at all. I still lose stuff, so writing about it made me hyper-aware of how this affects everything I do. Now, I need to go find this blog I’m typing for next week…)
I am prone to losing things. Keys, money, important documents, myself–anything that can be lost, I could find a way to lose.
As a result of my “need for a job,” I sought to liquidate some assets to soften the financial blow of “needing a job.” Things that held value: furniture, computers, and other electronics. I didn’t possess multiple computers obviously, so I would need to do something with my book.
By this point, I started typing my book on my computer, and so losing my computer would be … traumatic. This trauma was mitigated by the hope that someday I will own a computer again, and would continue the story. It didn’t hurt that my writers’ block had yet to abate, so the sale of the computer was allowed to continue.
As a precaution, I made several backups: a double density and high-density floppy disk, a Zip disk, and a rewritable CD, each with the book in multiple formats. My book was safe and future-proofed. (This is amusing now, considering NONE of these are used today by me. Though if I had to, I could look at a CD). This pause did help, but not like I thought.
‘Having a job’ proved rewarding, enough so that I sought a place of my own. After a move, I purchased another computer and was ready to start again. However, there was a problem: I lost my book. All of them. They were stored separately, to avoid them being damaged together (when you can’t find any of them, does it really matter?), so after a thorough search, I gave up. It would be a few months before I could stomach a decision. On what to do now.
I finally decided to start again. It shouldn’t take much, I thought. I knew the story, and it’ll be better. Yeah, this is an opportunity: a chance to fix everything I messed up in the previous draft.
So, I wrote three chapters… and gave up. Not that I didn’t try to get further. Rather, the beginning was to my liking at the time. The parts I wanted to adjust though were much further in, so it presented a challenge to rewrite a section I already liked. I also felt there were details I was missing, including why I remember a particular action being taken, with nothing in the story at that point explaining the actions. After starting and stopping a few times, I was forced to shut my rewrite down out of frustration.
Moving is a chore
When I moved again a short time later, I wasn’t looking forward to it. To make it a little easier to deal with, I decided to take the opportunity to clear the clutter and see what was actually needed. I had a lot of junk. A. LOT.
But, it would prove to be a rewarding effort. In one of the last boxes I had to dump (it was a box I realized I hadn’t seen since I moved to this place–not sure how…), I found a pile of drawings I was looking for, and underneath…, wait. Seriously?
There they were. Together. Two floppy disks, a Zip disk, and a rewritable CD! (Who did this? Why are they together? They were supposed to be… Never mind). I immediately copied the contents of each to my computer, as this was exactly what I thought it to be.
Finally, I had my book! I could finally finish it!
Wait, what was the story again? What was giving me writers’ block?
By this point, so much time had passed, I had forgotten the story I was writing (we’re in a different century). So, I read it again, to refresh. I found myself reading my book like everyone else will. It was surprising how little of it I remembered writing, or what motivated me to convey a thought with these particular words.
Or, more surprising, how little detail there was. I would read a section, and I would realize that half the story was missing. I understood where I was going; as I read it, I could recall more and more plot points. But, I was realizing most of them were still in my head as I was writing (see my previous post about writing SLOW…). This meant that I was paraphrasing to compensate: get enough of the story on the page to continue writing what I could. It also meant I needed to fill in some blanks I didn’t realize I left.
But, I also noticed something interesting. As I finished reading this draft, I realized I didn’t remember the story the way I wrote it. In fact, I looked at the three chapters I had started separately, and realized I had fixed my writing obstruction with those three chapters. I suddenly knew where the story needed to go.
I finally could finish!
But wait, what do I do after that?
Blogs in this series:
The Challenge of the Written Form
Original blog – Lost and Found