Failure, Preparation, and The Importance of Your Gut

Geez.  I’ve been running around like a chicken with my head cut off this morning.

First I get an email from a student saying that the bookstore claimed to not have ordered the books required for my classes.  So I call the bookstore and sure enough, no one ever turned in the order for ANY of my classes.  I’m a really staunch believer that they must have their textbook by the second week of class, but that requirement really only works if THERE ARE BOOKS TO BUY.  I hate granting extensions (largely because it’s hard to keep up with who is allowed to do what until when) but no choice in this case.  So there’s been a lot of emailing students, calling the department to say “Hey what happened here?” and making the necessary arrangements.

Then I got to be all supervisor and crap, checking in with our team on where they are for various projects.

So I’m just now sitting down to rip out a blog.  Mostly I’m thinking about lunch in an hour.  I’ve stuck to my budget MOST of this week, save Tuesday when I was starving and had another half serving of carbonara.  Cutting back after the holiday excesses is HARD because my body wants to Eat All The Things.  It’s paying off thought, as I was down a little over a pound this morning, which, really, just makes all days start off better, despite it being gray and rainy and HOT for January (seriously?  60s?–This makes all the concrete sweat, which is somehow worse than just a rainy day because it feels STICKY–not to mention that it’s totally a hazard for those of us who have Klutz as their middle name).

The Pink Hammer is through the first two acts of DOTH.  I am past (I hope) the worst of the wailing and gnashing of teeth.  The usual pattern is that the front end isn’t as solid as I think it is and the back end is more solid.  In this case, the front end is a disaster, and…we’ll see about the back end in a couple more days.  We’re working on a revised outline and a list of questions for me to answer, and I am generally going back and doing all the preparation I neglected to do when I started writing in the first place.  I THOUGHT I’d managed to do more prep than I did in reality, and it shows.  I fell into a pattern of what logically came next chronologically rather (the default setting of my brain) than what NEEDED to come next for the story.  So there’s a lot of unnecessary stuff and a lot of missing stuff.  As Ben Franklin said:

If you fail to prepare, you are preparing to fail.

Noted, Benny.   Noted.

I’m also plowing my way through 900 pages of Celtic mythology and folklore, reading different takes of the same stories, doing a better job of internalizing the pantheon and origin story that is the basis for this stuff–before I go off and start twisting it and doing my own thing.  I’ve been collecting books on the subject since I was about 13, so I have, um, a lot (probably several thousand pages worth).  And I’ve read some through the years, but a lot of it winds up hanging out on a shelf to be gotten around to “sometime” rather than actually going on the TBR pile.  So, rectifying that now.

One of the biggest lessons in this project is yet again to trust my gut.  I had the sense about the time I hit the middle and started trying to plot out Act 3 that I had some major problems.  But everybody said “Just finish the book” (which is the default answer since FINISHING is usually the hardest part).  So I finished the book, in all its smelly glory.  And I wish I’d trusted my gut back in whenever that was.  Not that I am in any way blaming all the folks who gave me that advice to finish.  I finished, and I have a draft.  It’s not a good draft, but it’s a starting point.  They didn’t have all the pieces to make an educated suggestion.  No one had those pieces but me.  But regardless of whether I can articulate WHAT is wrong, I have yet to have my gut lead me astray.  So that’s my new policy.

Yes, Gut, I shall listen to thee.

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