I’ve been working full-time on the novel for almost three weeks now, hoping to hit the 10,000 word mark by Friday. Patterns in my work ethic and “idea reception” are beginning to emerge. Keeping a day-to-day journal and using the Habits app since late May have both been particularly informative. Working toward a first draft is beginning to feel like I’m swimming toward shore in a lagoon. Each flurry of ideas and progress feels like a wave lifting me up and carrying me farther, and each period without ideas feels like I’m swimming, sometimes against a strong current.
My novel is set at a large tech company in Silicon Valley, where I went to high school. Over the weekend I drove over to Washington D.C. to spend some time with a couple friends who work at Facebook’s D.C. office. I learned a lot of details about life at Facebook that I could not have come up with on my own, many of which reaffirmed the axiom that the truth is stranger than fiction. Also visited Mt. Vernon while I was there. Definitely an interesting experience. Being there breathed some life into my conception of George Washington, particularly looking over the Potomac and seeing the view George Washington loved so much, as we know from his writings. Before I left I saw some Make America Great Again hats out in the wild for the first time since the election. Very spooky.
The greatest challenge I’ve faced so far writing this novel has been to allow myself write terribly and fix it later, instead of holding every sentence to a final-draft or even just a third-draft standard and not writing anything at all. Not only has relaxing the standards of my first-draft writing allowed me to write more, it has also allowed me to explore the world of the story in more ways than I would have had access to otherwise. This summer is shaping up to be the best I’ve ever had.