It’s not a bad thing to know exactly what you’re going to do during the day when you wake up in the morning. As a veteran list-maker, I like the idea of writing a to-do list that has only one entry.
I’ve been writing. More correctly, I’ve been revising, rewording, and polishing an official draft for a novel now named Black Magic Dreams, going word by word, sentence by sentence, paragraph by paragraph. This is my sequel to Smoke Dreams, my first adult novel published in 2013. It’s the one that has the house with a personality, and is centered around the story of a ten-year-old boy who is kidnapped by the Comanche Indians in 1870.
I started writing the sequel in 2016, so the text I’m currently working on has a lengthy ancestry, but the major work has been in the last six months, when I committed to getting the sequel published. I officially renamed my manuscript this week and it will be the version I give to an editor in June.
I’m on page 242 of 303, so I’m closing in fast and will be finished by the end of the week. I’ll let it rest a few weeks, read it one last time, and then let it go.
I’m a binge writer when I’m preparing a manuscript for someone else to edit. I don’t read other novels because I don’t want to confuse writing styles; I don’t write on other stories because I don’t want to have my mind divided between different characters and plots; I don’t keep up with my blogging; I don’t even watch TV shows, other than PBS.
My goal for each day is to advance my manuscript, which is only possible because I have the time and space to do it—old man, lives alone, no marriage to maintain, no other obligations beyond taking people to lunch, buying groceries, and walking. And golf. It’s my latest passion; I play a round every week and am hoping to play more. And I also help take care of my granddaughter a day each week.
I did recently take a week of sick leave. I caught the latest virus that’s going around New Mexico and spent a few days flushing out my intestines. Even then, I managed to edit a few chapters in between trips to the bathroom.
It’s nice that the end of this period is coming. I’m tired of working on it, tired of serving a stern taskmaster, and it’s time for another set of eyes to review the story, the structure, and how effectively I’ve told the tale. Once this manuscript is sent to my editor, I expect to not be writing at all during the summer. I’ve got seven books in a to-read stack, ranging from a history of Fort Bascom in northeastern New Mexico, to more research about Coronado’s journey, to a new WWII fiction book about a young Jewish man who ends up being the driver for a Nazi general. I have an on-line presentation about Teddy’s War for the Santa Fe Library next week, a short story ready to submit tomorrow for a writing contest, a rafting trip during the second week of June, another one in July, a book to finalize that will be published on September 1, a video to make for a grandson, and several landscaping projects that I will be helping with. I have a special trip to Glacier National Park in September to celebrate my 70th birthday.
I’m going to be happy to leave writing behind for a while.
Don Willerton has been a reader all his life and yearns to write words like the authors he has read. He's working hard at it and invites others to share their experiences.