I’ve got a fun/scary announcement to make.
I’ve started working on Machine again.
To be honest, it came somewhat out of the blue.
I told God I wasn’t going to start working on it again until I had the answer to a tricky, longstanding problem from chapter one. I know there’s a lot of reworking to do, but it didn’t make sense to start until I had an answer to that question. Plus, I knew God had some things for me before I started up on it again, so that felt like a reasonable green light to ask for.
Then, talking to a friend about it recently, I had a few sparks, what very well might have been the answer.
Then today, I felt like God wanted me to work on it. I’ve been working on another book lately, diving deep into some edits that need to happen.
But the whisper today was for Machine, and it was so tender, so excited, that I knew it was right.
I’ll admit, I was a little freaked out. I knew God had wanted me to let Machine go for a while. Had it really been enough time? Had I learned enough?
But the call remained. Just try it. Trust me.
So I did.
And, I signed up for Camp Nanowrimo. Similar to Nanowrimo, it’s a call to work on a writing project for a month. It’s not as intense as the November version, with goals you can set yourself, but it’s still a challenge. I thought, if God wants me to work on Machine, I’ll give it a shot.
But of course, what goal to set? 50,000, the usual requirement for Nanowrimo didn’t seem right. It’s too busy in the summer for me to go for that, and I didn’t feel like adding such a heavy load to my stress levels.
Instead, I thought 30,000. That sounded good.
Except then I thought, what if this is a fluke? What if God just wants me to work on it today or I’m wrong in what I’m hearing at all? What if I can’t do it or it gets too hard or hurts? As any regular reader of this blog will know, Machine has always been “the book.” Putting it aside hurt like crazy, and to pick it up again, to fail, would be even worse.
Plus, 30,000 words in a month is still a lot, nearly 1,000 a day.
So I changed my goal. I set it to 20,000.
And I worked and I wrote and pumped out a little over 2,000 words before I felt it was time to stop.
Except, something about that 20,000 still didn’t feel good. It felt like a lack of trust, like God wouldn’t deliver, and, to be more direct, that I wouldn’t. I’m finding trusting God is getting easier. Trusting myself is getting worse.
And something I realized was this.
My results will, to some extent, match my dreams. God can do amazing things, but if I don’t believe He can (or me with Him), if I don’t dream big, well, that’s going to be reflected in what I do.
God wants me to dream big.
But, I also know that timing is important, and it’s quite possible that I won’t have time or strength or energy to get in that full 30,000.
So my goals are as follows:
- Set the goal for 30,000. Dream big.
- Trust God. I already tried writing Machine on my own and it turned into a disaster. I know with Camp Nanowrimo, the same will be true. If I try to do it in my own strength, it’s probably gonna consume me, and I don’t want that.
- Don’t be stressed. Tied very directly into the second item on this list, I’m not going to let stress overwhelm me. If this is what God wants, He’ll provide. If not, if I’m doing it out of my own power, it’s gonna get stressful.
- Be okay with failure. If I don’t reach my word count, that’s okay. It’s a stretch goal, and it’s honestly just might not happen. That’s okay. I’m still learning, God’s still with me, and it’ll be fine.
And, just in case you’re wondering, yes, I’ve already been learning a lot, as follows:
- The Machine I thought I knew was not the real story. I’m a little freaked out to discover this, and certain I haven’t found the real thing yet, but I’m on my way to get there.
- These are real people (well, sort of). Machine, in a lot of ways, was a huge part of my process, an integral part of me healing and growing up from being a kid. Now that a lot of that purpose has been met, the characters in it can truly be who they’re meant to be. There’s a distance between me and Rick and Eyna and Cog now, and while part of that is painful, there’s a greater part of that that’s freeing. I’ve already seen some of the fruits of this in how Eyna responds as a character. I’m seeing it in Rick too, and am sure it will come up with all the others.
- We’re all growing up. I wrote the first draft of Machine in high school, almost a decade ago. I’ve grown so much from them, and now coming back and re-writing it, not just editing it, I’m seeing that my characters have grown too. Even though they’re still the same age, my understanding of people and story is making them richer, deeper, and yes, even a tiny bit older (Rick always skewed young. We’ll see how he does now). I’m discovering them more, and it’s great.
Anyway, I’m sure there are more lessons to be learned here, but I think I’ll leave it there for now. I’m not sure I’ll get in a second July post while I hammer out these 30k words, but I’ll try to keep in touch when I can.
Thank you for reading. If you want to track my progress stay tuned here, on Facebook, or Twitter (links in the sidebar). Thanks for the support, and as always, questions, comments, and stories always welcome!