100 pages of Wildmane is off to my agent. The qualifying lap is over, and the race is on.
It's appropriate that this particular starting gun cracks with the start of the year. I fired up my writing engine back in October. Now it's revving as January rolls around. Of course, there has been a bit of a lag in December. It's only natural. The Christmas season tends to put the brakes on, not just with writing, but with everything. And that's the way it ought to be. There should be at least one moment every year where normal priorities take a back seat, and everything slows down. For me, that's the Christmas season.
Of course, Christmas brings its own hectic race. Well, perhaps for some people who are wise and shop early and get all of their lovely little ducks into a row before Christmas week, this time of year is relaxed and smooth. But in my household, we're very last minute.
Okay, I take that back. I am very last minute. My wife is simply overloaded. Or, to be more accurate, she is very giving and overly ambitious. She plans things out. She buys gifts early. But she also takes it upon herself to create hand-made presents for half the people we know (which is a considerable amount), and then can never manage to finish them all. In fact, a year in which 75% of her Christmas projects are completed by Christmas Eve is a banner year. So between the two of us, there is a lot of rushing, cursing, and multiple attempts to cram twenty marbles into a ten marble bag.
As for me, well, I could give many excuses to explain why I do my Christmas shopping five days out. And often two days out. And yes, sometimes even on Christmas Eve. But I won't bore you with the details. As I mentioned at the beginning of my blog, I'm an emotional sprinter. So perhaps, sub-consciously, I like it that way. Perhaps it's the only way I know how to be at my best.
It would appear that all of my Christmas blathering has nothing to do with writing, but it does. It has everything to do with writing. This post-Christmas lull is one of my favorite times of year. This is when I actually do get to slow down, and it is in those lazy, swampy moments that creativity begins to bubble.
Writing is always in the back of my mind. For those of you who have taken art classes, you know that the negative space of a drawing is as important -if not more important- than the painstakingly sketched lines of positive space. The negative space shapes the drawing. And every moment spent away from the keyboard is that negative space, bulging against the "lines" of my craft, shaping those rare hours where I lose myself in creation, making them more prominent. It is within this "negative space" that I recently crossed a writing threshold. It happened late on Saturday night, two days after Christmas. After sage advice from Aaron, a personal writing inspiration to me and a flagship member of the stalwart Sparkling Hammers writers group, I put the finishing touches on Wildmane and sent it off to Donald. Wildmane has been prepped for the next step: the sale of the manuscript.
Now the real work begins. I've given the story to the world, and now I have to make good on the promise those pages hold. It is akin to starting from the beginning. As I mentioned in The Creator and the Revisionist blog entry, writing the rough draft and revising it are two very different frames of mind. Now that Donald has something to utilize in a sale, I have no need of revision until the end of the book. I have spent the last week honing the manuscript, drilling down to the details and shaping the text. Over the next few days I intend to let go of that, to let my mind drift, let it expand once more, let it come to that place I enjoy the most, and then to let it loose on the story.
Perhaps Donald will be able to sell the manuscript soon, perhaps even before the rest of the story is complete. Wouldn't that be a nice belated Christmas present? Perhaps this time next year, I will be able to write a blog about the impending release date of Wildmane. What a nice little dream, and since the beginning of the year is the time for dreaming, why not? To all of you aspiring writers out there, take a moment with me in this brief pause, this "deep breath before the plunge" and send your dream out to the world. 2009 is coming. Let it give us that big break we've been waiting for.