The Endless Wars: The Descent

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The Clean Room

Whenever I get ready for another big push on a book, I go back and re-read/edit the preceding chapter or two. It helps put me in the right mindset, and gives me some great momentum for that day's push.

In today's case, I actually went back to the 'zero' chapter of this piece, and started pushing all the way through. I'd put this book down for a bit while I tended to some time-sensitive professional commitments, but I also needed to think through a complete overhaul of a character's thread through the first few chapters. I wasn't really sure what to do with him at the outset of writing this novel, so I just kinda had him doing nothing, which I thought maybe would be an interesting change for him from the last Endless Wars novel.

Yeah, not so much.

However, I did finally realize what his role in this novel was.

So, in going back through the beginning, I had a chance to slip back into his head, and in that moment, realized that we were very much on the same page, to an eerie extent. So, I plunged in, cut his sections open, did some major surgery, and just rode that wave.

What was great about today's lunch time session was that I really got to remember why I love writing. In pushing through this character's arc, I was just letting the story guide me, I was just letting the words fall out of me, and before long, looking over some of what I'd just written, I realized that I was really expressing some frustrations and disappointments I had, and in doing so, realized that much of this book is a reexamination of where I am in life.

Don't get me wrong, I don't hate my life, I don't regret anything. I'm where I need to be right now, but it's great when working on art really gets you thinking about what you were put on this planet to do, and reveals some potential futures.

The Clean Room
I am constantly distracted. My attention is constantly in demand. I make myself available nearly all the time.

It's funny, because, at heart, I am an intensely isolated person, and my lifestyle very much matched that. If you wanted to hang out, you needed to come to me. If you wanted to talk, you needed to call me.

Now, though, little of that has changed, except I'm a father, husband, sysadmin, friend, counselor, mentor, and many other things, all of which constantly lay siege to my time, and I can really see it in my writing.

Writing fiction while distracted is a fucking terrible thing to do. In editing some of my stuff today, I could see that I'd started and stopped and started and stopped many times in a small section, because I'd have thoughts repeating themselves. I'm glad I'm one of only three people to ever see that edit, because it's embarrassing, but it also highlights a change I need to make in my life.

One, I need to put a process back into place, and two, part of that process needs to involve some 'me' time, something for which I used to fight ferociously, and with the advent of being a family man and professional, I let slowly starve, wither, and die. That needs to change.

I need a mental clean room. I need to be able to go to a place, at least in my head, that tunes everything else out. I used to be good at that, but I'm just so fucking distracted all the time.

I'd still like to have a mobile solution to this, too. I'm constantly on the move, I travel quite a bit, and nearly every day is a crushing load of stuff. There's some paring down that can be done there, but not a lot, if I want to keep losing weight, maintain a happy marriage, connect with my child, and show some level of proficiency at my job.

Writing every day needs to be in there.

I've even given thought to writing first thing in the morning. I've heard Toni Morrison talk about doing this, and she's had success, so maybe there's something there for me. I dunno, though. Even being two years sober now, I'm still not a morning person.

We'll see. Thoughts from other writers or artists are welcome.

Other Projects
I put everything else on hold. I need to write this book, and I need to write it now. I've got some musical and game-related stuff in the pipeline that I'm really excited to work on, but this Endless Wars novel is very much front and center. I've got some downtime planned this winter, and I'd love to crank on this thing hard.

Yup. Just checking in.


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