(Winter has arrived in New England)
It’s time again for another Waking From Innocent Dreams author update. In my last email, I wrote about wrestling with distractions and making progress on the section called “Bad Guys Close In.” If you missed that update, you can find it in the newsletter archives on my website.
Wow, 2020 has been something else. Despite all its challenges and upsetting news, this year turned out to be perfectly suited for getting some serious writing done. Looking back on the year, I accomplished a lot, even if I didn’t hit all my goals. I rewrote over 170 pages of my book, got feedback from early readers, and overhauled my website, more on that next month. Overall, I’d say it has been a very productive year.
One of the most significant emotional changes for me is that for the first time since I started this project five years ago, I feel like a writer or novelist. Given how little I knew about the art form when I started and my academic struggles as a kid, it still feels strange to identify as one. However, this year when I sat down to write, more often than not, I felt like I knew what I was doing. I felt like I had internalized all the theory, and I was telling a story instead of merely describing events from my past. That’s not to say I didn’t face challenges, but I felt that, given enough time, I could figure out how to solve any problem.
I’ve also gained a deeper appreciation for fiction and the power of stories to not only draw us in but wrestle with difficult themes. As my knowledge of story structure has increased, I can better understand the deeper meaning behind some of my favorite movies and books. It’s incredible to see how a story properly told can draw you in and bring you to new worlds. One of the most meaningful moments of the year came from seeing those forces at play in my book.
I know I’ve said this before, but one of the most challenging aspects of reuniting with my birth family, and everything that came with it, was feeling like I had no way of sharing my experiences with the people closest to me. My two worlds were so different, and it was too difficult to explain everything I was going through that I often felt alone on this journey. With storytelling, I found a way to connect, not just with others but also with myself. So I was overjoyed when early readers described how the first few chapters of my book made them feel, and it mirrored how I felt when I went through those same events. Being able to put people in my shoes through my writing is not only my most significant accomplishment of the year but of this entire project.
Over the next month, I will be finishing up Act 2B and then begin working on Act 3, or the ending payoff. I’ve got about 12 weeks before my job coaching Ultimate Frisbee begins, so that gives me a concrete deadline to finish the manuscript. It might be a tall order to complete it within that time frame, but I’ve already begun plotting the third act, and I’m feeling reasonably confident. We will see where I am in a month!
Until then, stay well, and Happy New Year!