It’s been three months since I basically decided to quit my life and runaway to try and finish my novel. And it’s been going really well … which is I think a shock to no one in my life except myself. Logically, it makes sense that the ability to spend all your time doing your favorite thing (writing) in the most beautiful place in the world (Big Sur) seems like a recipe for success. And it is. Still, my inner pragmatist is being like, “Wait why are you enjoying yourself. I thought I gave you enough rope you would hang yourself and then you could get a normal job and spend your free time watching YouTube videos and going on Okcupid dates instead of writing.” Well the joke is on you inner pragmatist, because not only am I sincerely happy in a way I haven’t been in a long time, I also feel really motivated and engaged in “my work” of writing this novel and trying to bring interesting content to this blog.
I never know how much to write about my personal experiences, because in a strange twist of fate more than just my mom reads this blog. But for my mom (whose birthday is tomorrow!), and other friends/family/internet friends that might be interested I thought it was time to give a little life update. So if you want to know more:
I refer to my book as Dreamers. Hopefully it will get a better title someday. It is kind of light science fiction/fantasy about a planet where people’s dreams instead of taking them through some kind of internal journey through their subconscious take them to visit other planets where they can gather intelligence. It’s told in alternating points of view between a girl from the planet and a girl from earth who joins her on these dream voyages. There is also a contemporary storyline. Hopefully, I’ll get a better elevator speech together soon but that is the gist of it.
I came to California with a completed first draft – but it was nowhere near a coherent book. I’ve rewritten two drafts, still basically working on plot issues. I’ve cut two major characters and things look remarkably different from what I first imagined, but it is starting to feel less like a B+ high school capstone project and more like something that could be molded into an actual book. It is still far from ready, but I’m confident that I will finish in the not too distant future and find a way to share it with people, either online or through traditional publishing.
Living here, both alone and with Nana have been really meaningful experiences. I’ve learned to meditate, poach an egg, and more about the Yankees than I would have thought possible. Being surrounded by the natural beauty of Big Sur is amazing. Clichés that used to irk me like “it’s the journey not the destination”, now make a lot of sense. I’ve noticed I frequently feel guilty about taking this time and often panic about my future, both of which are probably important to acknowledge but also probably counter-productive. I know that this won’t last forever, and I also know I wouldn’t want it to (for one thing it’s a little isolating). Old habits like worrying or plotting for the future die hard, but I’m trying to push them aside so I can enjoy the present as much as possible.
People often ask me what comes next. I usually don’t know what to say other than something cute like “I was thinking I’d make pasta for dinner.” I will be spending the month of July traveling! I’m going to a family wedding in Michigan and then to Prague, Vienna, and Budapest. I’m hoping to start querying Dreamers in the fall, but I’m trying to be okay with the idea it still might not be ready. Also, I know that even if every step goes perfectly (which it won’t) it will still be at least a year probably two before this thing gets published. I’m also trying to look at some different grad school options and think about what kind of jobs or part-time jobs could be interesting and not get in the way of me finishing this project. As Natasha Bedingfield might say, the rest is still unwritten – which is also another great example of a cliché I no longer scoff at.