The Work of Writing: Week Two Update

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Hey, you. Yeah, you. [Cheesy elevator music plays.] Does anything feel better than crossing items off a to-do list? Maybe eating Nutella with a spoon when you’re experiencing hipster starvation (= only had coffee and doughnuts today)Maybe taking a shower after spilling Patron XO shots all over your Converse while waiting on ungrateful tables. But working your way through a to-do list like Alexander the Great working his way through “the ends of the world and the Great Outer Sea” is the crack cocaine of perfectionism, and it feels phenomenal. 

The Work of Writing project continues. Last week’s goal was as follows: “make a strict to-do list and accomplish every single thing on it, from intangible things like revision to tangible things like submitting to literary journals.” I expected this week to be a bit of a soulless hustle, but it actually worked out really well. Suspiciously well. Disturbingly well. AM I ON STEROIDS?

This sort of to-do centric approach felt very career-forward…like maybe I wasn’t communing with the Muses, but I was getting paid! Speaking of paychecks (NOT), the most important thing I accomplished this week was a seriously epic revision of a 35-page story (non-writers: that’s a long story by most standards, and really long for me, also you should totally check out “Where’d You Go, Bernadette” while we’re having this pleasant little aside)…I’d been meaning to revise this baby for months but I irrationally dread revision and I kept putting it off. Come last Wednesday, and I sat down, held the threatening, fully-loaded finger of William Faulkner to my temple, and began to revise.

And guess what guess what guess what? Revision feels good sometimes! Why didn’t my husband by law God delusion passion fantasy law Gabriel Garcia Marquez ever tell me that? (Can I be locked up for writing about him like this?) (I LOVE YOU GABO I LOVE YOU I LOVE YOU CALL MEEEE.) I sat down determined to revise pages 1-17 of my story,  planning to do the second half the next day, but right around page 20, I realized that I was just in the freaking ZONE, man. You know when you’re just on point? When you’re really flying through something, on fire like Katniss Everdeen or Alicia Keys in that horrible song? MY FRIENDS, DO NOT INTERRUPT THOSE MOMENTS FOR ANYTHING IN THE WORLD. I don’t know about you, but those moments are few and far between for a pleb like me and I will do anything, ANYTHING to hang on to them. For a fleeting second, I thought about stopping, crossing off “revise pages 1-17” on my list, and moving on to the next task….and then my much wiser super-ego screamed at me, “TORI, SO HELP ME, IF YOU STOP RIGHT NOW I WILL PLUNGE FAULKNER’S FINGER INTO YOUR EYEBALL,” so I bowed in obedience and kept going. And it was ten thousand percent worth it. And now I have one million dollars.

Hmm, what else? I filmed something new–an advice columnist responding to the apocalypse. (Full disclosure…that was not on my to-do list, I just got manic one evening.) I pitched some articles to websites that I want to write for. (OKAY I PITCHED ONE ARTICLE, PITCHING IS REALLY TIME CONSUMING, PEOPLE.) I revised something for Ladybug magazine. I sent some emails. You know, the unmuselike stuff. Kinda boring. Good thing week three is FULLY upon me and I can finally wander around dark alleyways and make inspiration boards full of photo after photo of my dear Gabo’s face. ALL WORK AND NO PLAY MAKES TORI A DULL STALKER. *slinks off*

Anyone else? Artistic breakthroughs? Soulless hustle? Menial breakdowns? Creative ecstasy? Opium addiction? Picture of yourself rapidly aging in the attic?

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