May: Deadlines, Early Mornings and Cold Tea

So the last few months have been kind of crazy. Oasis was released in March, and ever since then my life has been a whirlwind of media interviews, stress, and that indescribable feeling of knowing that people are actually reading your book.

The feedback for Oasis has been amazing. I’ve received so many lovely messages on all my social medias from people saying that they loved Oasis, or that my story inspired them. The idea that my little baby book is out in the wild, and that people are reading it, and understanding it and loving it is an amazing feeling. But almost more so, the idea that I could inspire someone to start writing, or to keep writing, or to try to get published is just incredible.

But finally things are beginning to calm down a little. With all my interviews done and Oasis doing its own little thing, I’ve had the time to turn to book two. During April my writing group and I participated in Camp NaNoWriMo, National Novel Writing Month’s chill younger sibling. We ramped our meetings up from once a month to once a week, and it’s pretty awesome to be perfectly honest. I wrote 25,000 words in that month, but this month is gonna be a little different…

May 31st is my deadline for the first draft of Book Two, or The One Where Everyone Dies (TOWED) as I affectionately refer to it. It’s going as well as first drafts ever go, which is to say I swing wildly between thinking it’s fantastic and I have everything in the bag, and that it’s awful and I am officially a Failure with a capital F.

First drafts are hard for me. They always have. I started NaNoWriMo in 2013 because I knew I needed something to push me through this first gruelling phase of the writing process, where I’m acutely aware that what I’m writing is wrong, but at a complete loss as to how to make it right. I try to remind myself during these times what we were taught in NaNoWriMo: First drafts are not supposed to be wonderful. You’re shovelling sand into a sand box so you can build sandcastles later. And if I tried to build this sandcastle perfectly one grain at a time, it would never actually happen.

45,000 words is my goal for this month, another little (or not so little) NaNoWriMo. It might end up less than that, because my first drafts tend to be very light, and get built up over edits. It might be more than that — I’ve never written a sequel before. There are a lot of things to wrap up, and I’m not quite sure how long that’s gonna take.

May is going to be a hectic month, but the best kind of hectic. It’s hacking away at TOWED a day at a time, and going to writing groups every week where my fears are consoled and my coffee cup is refilled. It’s full of early mornings and walks with the pupperfloof, hot tea when I remember, and cold tea when I forget. It’s for working hard, but being kind to myself — pushing my limits when I can, and treating myself to anime and warm baths when I can’t. It’s for old music that reminds me where I’ve come from, and good friends that remind me where I want to go. May is for everything I love: hard work and warm days with strong breezes, good books and falling into bed at night the best kind of exhausted.

June will start with a bang and blue hair, but that’s a post for a different day.