jitters

I haven’t worked on my novel for two days– I’ve been scrambling to put together my materials for class.

I didn’t expect this. I’m terrified. What were they thinking, hiring me on?

Classes at the college start tomorrow, but mine is a Tuesday/Thursday class, so I’ve got one more day before I’m facing my first students at the head of the room. There’s also an online course, which I feel better about– just like blogging, with homework. Still, I was told very late that I’d be doing this, less than a week ago, and not all of my instructor information has come through, which means that I’ll have a syllabus with no office hours, personal campus phone, or even a college email. I’ve been rushing to review the lesson plans, even as I cut out the badly written sections out and replace them.

To go on top of everything else, I constantly get asked what high school I go to. I look like a fifteen year old. People keep trying to tell me that that’s secretly a good thing (after they’re done apologizing when I mention that I graduated from college years ago). It’s not when all the eligibly men assume at a glance that you’re jailbait, or when you blend in perfectly with your students. Just one more thing to worry about.

I usually keep a rule that I don’t talk about my personal life on this blog, but I needed to rant. It’ll be back to books when I’m comfortable again.

fear of tension

I once read somewhere that the last 20% of a book is harder to write than all the 80% before it. I’ve been opening my book lately, rereading the last lines (right before a minor fight scene, major discovery, and pre-discussed setting), and I promptly freeze up and try to think of something else that I could do.

It’s a little like drawing. I have sketchbooks filled with character sketches, half-finished, because I’m too afraid to draw the second eye. I’m terrified that they won’t match and that I’ll have indented and smudged the paper if I get it wrong. There’s nothing worse than a very cool character that comes out cross-eyed.

I always do this before important scenes. I do this in drawing… I even do this when I’m reading. Sometimes it’s so hard to open up a book and read that first page. And when I do work up the nerve, I sit down and gush it all out at once, like a tsunami when the tide was due to come in. My goal for today is to end that scene… be it five hundred words or five thousand.

Anybody else run into this problem? How do you get over it?

fearless

I gave my notice at work today. I’m a project lead, not a tester, so I gave three week’s notice instead of two. Starting October, I’ll be officially writing full time. I have savings enough to live comfortably (if frugally) for several years. I’m also going to be moving to a small town in another state, between a lake and a mountain. Farm country.

On the wall beside my desk at work I taped a piece of paper, on which I’ve written, “Please don’t annoy the writer. She may put you in a book and kill you.” On the bottom left corner of that sheet I’ve taped up a dove candy wrapper. It’s nothing special, just wrinkled aluminum with a fortune cookie type message printed on the inside. This one says, ‘Be fearless.’

I think I’ll take that one with me when I go.


As for the book’s progress (for the curious)… I’m starting the last scene of the last chapter of the second draft.