I am so pleased to say that my first western novel is back on track. I've been chronicling the viscious bout of burnout I had the last half of last year. It was so deep and dark I don't think I could ever find words to accurately describe it.
But this year, God has restored the light in me and I am bubbling over with enthusiasm and creativity for the novel concept I love so much. I am elated to feel that love of writing and research back in my heart. And that's despite some terrible things that have happened at work (terrible is a subjective term to be sure, but some recent dirty, underhanded events that have happened at work are things I've never experienced before in 24 years in the work force). But still, despite those drawbacks at work, it can't dampen my spirit.
Yesterday, I went to a favorite local restaurant and had my birthday burger early (George Washington and I are the same approximate age and celebrate on the 22nd) and I took my trusty spiral notebook and sat down with my lead character. Together we mapped out exactly what he had been doing in the 14 years prior to the start of my novel. I needed to do this because after writing the first draft of my novel, it became clear I didn't know my main character well enough.
Tackling this little exercise gave me further insight into my lead character and in fact changed who he was slightly so I will have to adapt that in my revisions. I've also resumed my research since January and have begun to fill in knowledge gaps that were missing in my first draft. Today I'm going to spend some time typing up some of those key pieces of data and doing a little more research.
I also need to sit down and have a similar chat with my second major character in the novel to get his perspective on his thirteen years of life.
The goal is to do the research, fill in plot holes, and have character chats done by the end of this month. Then voila! On March 1st I start my second re-write, armed with all the information I need to get the job done.
I don't for one minute think it's going to be easy - in fact it is going to be one of the most difficult things I've ever done. But I deeply desire to finish this puppy and submit it by the end of June, and I pray that God will help me to stay on track. And I believe He will, as long as I continue to put Him first in my life. Writing can no longer be my idol.