The Integration Project: Day 3 – Write. Just, write.

Working on The Integration Project today, I was afraid. But getting started taught me some amazing things. Read on to find out what they are.
The Integration Project

I was afraid of getting started today. I hadn’t put words into The Integration Project since the very first session on it, and I was afraid of it. I was afraid I didn’t know what I was talking about. I was afraid that I was a fraud. I was afraid that this is all a waste of time.

In other words, darling Patron, I was well off in a downward spiral of victim-thinking.

I put it off as long as possible and by the time I even started writing in my writing journal it was 1 pm. I slept in until 0630 – more than an hour and a half longer than usual for me. I was exhausted, so I figured sleep was the right thing to do.

And then, instead of writing, here’s how I spent my morning:

  • I documented a new publishing project for the Pixie
  • I wrote an article for LinkedIn, promoting the Pixie’s work
  • I cleaned up a whole lot of dead branches in the garden, in preparation for the gardener arriving this arvo
  • I ate (and it was amazing)
  • I read everything else.
  • I scrolled through the internet.
  • I spent half an hour in inner-directed movement, and time afterwards decoding the (very sudden) visions of tarot cards I saw during that time, in sequence.

Part of the reason for the delay is because, when you are waiting for a time to arrive, nothing else feels possible. It’s like if you have a late shift. Nothing else is possible because the time is looming. In my case, it was waiting for the gardener.

Once I identified that pattern of thinking, I realised what I was doing: Noticed this victim-thinking pattern (I can’t, it’s bullshit). So the only thing I could do was to take action, and I figured that whatever comes out is what comes out.

This stuff takes courage! And it can’t even hurt you. How ridiculous.

I was surprised to find myself just diving in, bashing out words. By the time I came up for air, about 35 minutes had passed, and I had already clocked three pages. In my last session, I wrote six.
So I set a goal of hitting another 6 today, taking me to 12 pages in total. After some more interruptions, I did. I hit 12 pages, and felt immensely satisfied with myself.

Here’s what today taught me

As a writer, I am quite concise. This has come from years of writing focused, business-related content, short, sharp and shiny review materials, and essays. But novels are exploratory, sometimes meandering. There is a greater richness, a patience, a much less intense pace.

What I noticed in the session today is that I was rushing through to the action, instead of laying the groundwork on which things can develop much later. There’s a subtlety required to a novel, so I felt that I had to put the brakes on. For what is almost the first time in my life, I am allowing myself to wallow in the detail.

There’s a fine balance between the detail and the imagination; a place where the imagination runs, and a place where you tell people what’s going on. You can’t tell people what’s going on, otherwise they’re going to lose their own personal reconstruction – and a huge amount of what you read is actually what you bring to a story. That’s why, in the reading experience, you co-create with the author that you’re reading. In situations like that, what you bring to that experience is what forges the bond between you and the writer. The feelings you bring, the details you imagine.

That can’t happen if everything is spelled out for you.

From my own perspective as a writer, I have always been so averse to telling readers what’s what that I skip over it. I have never wanted to be that person who describes all of the information about everything so that you don’t have to do any work. No! I want you to do the work.

Writing a novel, though, I have to remind myself that there is time. I have the luxury of revelling in the detail, at least some of the time. There’s no point racing through an interaction just to get to the detail. Novels are absurdly long. We’re looking at 60,000 just for a novella, which is a lean and fast. But a novel? 80,000 to 100,000.

Right now I’ve written two and a half beats, and have clocked only 5,000 words. I’m going to go and count the beats I have to write, and work out how many words I need in each one if I’m going to the novel length with some extra fat on it. Because we all know that once it’s written, loads of it are going to hit the cutting room floor.

[ Goes and counts beats and does some maths. ]

Aaand with 30 beats left to write, we’re looking at about 3500 words per beat. Right, so, I can totally do that.

In fact, that is much more doable than I imagined.

I’m excited, you guys. I’m so excited, I am even considering doing an hour a day on this book, because if I do that, then I could feasibly knock it off in a month… but I don’t want to overdo myself.

Thanks for reading through this week’s update! I am super keen to keep moving on this, because once I’ve finished Act I, I’m going to release it to all of the Initiates among you, who pay $5 per month. 🙂

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