Progress Journal for Aramis Gothboi: Book One
Mog’s ongoing account of completing the first draft.
Total word count: 30,306
Righto, so here we are back in the driver’s seat after about a month’s worth of break. Do I feel better for it? Yes.
Did I feel good the whole time? No, not at all. Should I feel guilty for it? …I don’t think so. It wasn’t as if I was sitting around doing nothing the whole time.
I did manage to get another chapter reviewed with my writer’s group chums who are turning out to be a pretty solid group. It’s still online only, especially with the return of the COVID-19 Lockdown in Victoria, but it’s working out the best it can.
To be honest, I was a little sceptical as to how well this group would work. Previous experience suggested to me that it was the process of being in a room together that nurtured the workshopping process. There’s something about seeing the visceral reaction to your work in that setting that I feel helps to build trust and cohesion. Yes, we’re all in different parts of the world at the moment – and will remain so for at least another month – but I feel like we’ve made some kind of progress and I find that I’m always looking forward to the next session.
Speaking of sessions, I’m back at uni this week for my final semester, and yes, that’s all online too. I’ll be working on this book for the next 16 weeks as part of a course called Towards Publication that, you guessed it, is all about reaching for the goal of getting the manuscript published. Again, the online element will be a challenge, but I’m very much looking forward to returning to structured study. I’m also very much looking forward to completing my degree, but that’s neither here nor there.
Over the last few days, I’ve been slowly working my way back into a state of productivity. Manuscript work, where I left it before my break, was at the point of completing the first draft.
To recap, this includes:
- Editing and refining the 10 roughly-drafted chapters to a satisfactory degree (this is basically cleaning up the prose and making sure every scene is actually complete – no summaries, dot points, or vague descriptions)
- Tracking the beats of each chapter for structural purposes
- Redrafting the synopsis to match current version of manuscript
Today I redrafted two chapters in preparation for the next workshopping session. Returning to this earlier work has reminded me that I’ve still got so much to do before it will be ready to publish. So rough! So much to fix! I’ll give both chapters another pass before I let my workshopping people pick them apart, I do think.
As mentioned, I tried to keep the productivity ball rolling for a while during my break period, which was ultimately the wrong decision.
Here’s an excerpt from the only journal entry over the course of the month:
Tuesday, 23 June 2020
There have been no updates as there’s been no progress. Is it important to be tirelessly working? A routine is awfully important, but if it’s burning you out, perhaps reassessing the parameters of your routine is a good idea. Not that this is what I’m going through at the moment as I’m still on a break from the project. Occasionally I’ll open the manuscript and think about tinkering with bits and pieces, but it all feels a little too huge right now. I’ve got two chapters sitting there that have been workshopped, which require changes to be applied and suggestions to be considered. I just can’t for the life of me, keep my attention on the work at hand. I end up reading a few notes and then going off and doing something else. I really ought to treat this as a break and resolve to not look at the work at all over the next week. Perhaps this will help. If I set a date to resume work next week, that will give me something to look forward to – and I won’t have to feel guilty about doing nothing until then. Monday 29th June is that date. Guess we’ll see how it’s all going sometime after that.
As you can see, the date I set to recommence work zoomed by two weeks ago, but I really did need the break. Not that I had much of one as I did what the heart wants and took on a second project instead.
For those of you that know the genesis of this blog and the whole “Potato Revolution” part of the title, it will come as no surprise for you to hear about the podcast where it all started. It’s been almost ten years since Andy Mai Mai and I recorded that pilot episode way back in 2010, and almost nine since our first episode with Mr Kieran Eaton.
Speaking of Kieran, it was he that contacted me out of the blue one day with the idea to do a new podcast. A little trial and error over the past few weeks has brought us to episode five of Plague Talks.
This little show is at its core about three friends refusing to let distance and current circumstances get them down. We originally intended it to be a sort of documentation of our individual pandemic experiences by sharing our perspectives on the crisis from across the country where we each live (Perth in WA, Orange in NSW, and Melbourne in Victoria). It seemed like as good a premise as any for a podcast (and an excellent catalyst to engage and reinvigorate our minds).
With the second wave taking hold in Victoria (and now threatening NSW), this thread is still there, but the show has evolved somewhat into an opportunity to not just check in on how we’re all surviving from week to week in these challenging times, but to also talk about current events and have a good laugh too. With a strong focus on mental health, the show has made the transition from audio to video (which is a whole new ballgame for the producer in me).
Here’s the latest episode (available on Facebook with two more episodes), and if you’re keen, the first two audio-only podcast episodes can be found here. By all means, have a look or listen and feel free to let me know what you think in the comments.