Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Facing Facts

You know those giant, daunting projects that you know you should be working on but they kind of freak you out to even think about, so you're not?

I'm finally within spitting distance of finishing a logistical project that has been hanging over my head for far too many years. No, not the novel that's still mid-revision. A family thing.

After several months (*cough* years?) of just moving it from one month to another's MUST DO THIS list, this morning I spent some time figuring out exactly what information I'd need. And then in an hour, I found the information. (And, bonus! I've semi-organized the piles I had to get through to find it.) And then I did some calculations. And finally I think I have the information I need to finish this thing.

(Something we are NOT THINKING ABOUT is completing this project means several others are now possible and should be dealt with. But we're NOT THINKING ABOUT THAT TODAY!! We're instead reveling in the near-finishing of THIS ONE!)

One thing I've learned about this type of yucky project is that when you finally start working on it, you often find resolution and finish the job pretty quickly. This thing that's been wearing you down for so long? Gone. And you feel so free! And you wonder why you waited!

This time, I haven't been so lucky. Yes, I have the information. It's not as cheerful as I'd hoped, but I do have it. I don't have that "Hooray! Freedom!" feeling about this project--perhaps I never will. But it WILL be done, and I WILL be free of it, even if I don't I feel it.

Which makes me think of that mid-revision novel. In the past few days, I've been madly finishing or near-finishing many short pieces and dealing with other stuff and haven't even cracked open the novel's file. Nevertheless, my unconscious has apparently still been working on it. I've been struggling with one character in particular, and through the experience of the past day or two, I have greater insight into who she is and what she'd really do.

I thought I had all the information I needed to do a good revision on this novel. But what I've learned in the past week or so (about all the characters, not just this one) means I was wrong. And although I don't have that "Hooray! Freedom!" feeling, I'm happy to have more information.

Now this revision will bring the novel significantly closer to the book I think it can be. That's a bonus benefit to finishing this project. I'll take it!