I was inspired by Chalk the Sun’s Julie Christine, as I often am, to get moving again on The Novel, which I put down after Camp Nanowrimo a few months back when life got very busy. She posted about the manuscript of her first novel, which is near a word count that the manuscript of my first novel is currently at. She also mentioned a functionality of Scrivener that I hadn’t explored before, which is the target function. Now, I am greeted each day by a progress bar, reminding me that I need to write my thousand words a day if I want to reach the end of the novel by the deadline that I have set myself. Butt-in-chair indeed.
We have been away for the Labor Day weekend to celebrate our first wedding anniversary. I booked us a trip to the middle of nowhere in the Catskills, which has excellent trout fishing. Although my Beloved is the fisherman, I did this rather selfishly, because I knew that this would give me hours each day to myself to write without distraction. It is the vacation that I was hoping to be able to take this year — me in the middle of nowhere with nothing but my laptop, with questionable Internet access to remove distractions. This has largely worked and I’ve gotten a fair amount done, though it’s never as much as I imagine myself doing. I haven’t been working solely on The Novel, but also on polishing my portfolio of short fiction, which is more difficult to count progress with. Reading and rereading and editing does take a lot of time, but it doesn’t increase your word count.
All the same, the weekend has been a good practice of Butt-in-Chair, or, in this case, Butt-on-Bed, with the windows all wide open, listening to the dog next door and the crickets all around us. There have been deer and rabbits running across the yard in front of the cabin, which faces an apple orchard. My Beloved, reliving his misspent youth, stole a few apples. Today, I went wading in the stream to visit the fish that My Beloved has been trying (unsuccessfully, alas) to catch. I saw fish as large as my forearm swimming by. We think they might be brook trout. Yesterday we went to the Catskills Fly Fishing Museum and watched a fly tying demonstration and visited their museum. I was really taken with the art of fly tying — there were certain similarities to the fiber arts — and some of the flies in the museum really beggared the imagination as to how they were physically crafted. Perhaps the most interesting thing I learned was that people started raising chickens specifically to make better feathers for tying, much as different breeds of sheep are raised for fiber production versus eating. (I know which I’d rather be…) We have a book and kit for fly tying at home. I may well try it. Or I may just take up standing in streams, watching fish swim by.
We’ll be packing up in the morning and heading back home and we’ve been away long enough that I’ll be glad to go. (I may admit here to a slightly codependent relationship with my cat.) But I am feeling recharged and back on track with The Novel, which I’d been avoiding. I have three weeks before my next semester begins and I am looking to really increase my word count before it happens. With the work I’ve done this weekend, and the recharging of my batteries, I think I’m back on the right track. I keep repeating to myself Margaret Atwood’s best advice about writing: Finish the damn book.
Yes, yes, I think I will.