Towards the end of March, I stepped back from writing on The Brown Knowser. It wasn't because I was feeling lazy—though a flu, last week, didn't help. It wasn't because my family and I were sad at the passing of our 13-year-old cat, though again, it didn't help.
There are two other activities that occupied my time. These things I love to do but for the past couple of years, I haven't spent any time doing.
These things are reading and writing fiction.
For decades, as part of my own year-end tradition, I would make a list of books that I planned to read over the following year. My list would start at about a dozen or so novels, but as the year went on I would find that the list would grow—sometimes, double by the end of that year, in time for me to create a new list for the next year.
I find that in reading fiction, my own creative juices begin to flow. And if you've read some of my blog posts over the past few months, you can see that those juices have congealed into a slimy mess.
When my novel, Songsaengnim: A Korea Diary, was finally published in March of 2012, I was ready to start work, right away, on the sequel. Originally, my story wasn't going to be told in two parts: it was going to be one tale that spanned two years in South Korea. But when I found that the novel was getting to be very long, I made the decision to break it up into two books, each covering one year.
In retrospect, that was, perhaps, a bad idea. Had I stuck to one novel, it might have been published later than 2012 but it would have been finished by now.
Could'a, should'a, would'a: that'll be on my tombstone.
I already had nine chapters under way for the sequel, Gyeosunim and had posted them, as I had done with Songsaengnim, on their own blog site. However, I was never fully satisfied with the first draft of the book, and so I walked away, took a break, and then started again. And the second draft, which I didn't share as a blog, also didn't turn my crank, and so I walked away, again.
I told myself that I was being lazy, but uninspired was closer to the truth.
But I shouldn't have been surprised: Songsaengnim took me three drafts before I was happy with the flow, and even after I finished it, I went back and made a few more changes—adding different endings, changing some characters, deleting others.
I was never 100-percent satisfied with the novel, but I suppose no writer is completely happy with their work.
So, I've started draft number three of Gyeosunim. And I'm driven to get it done. With any luck, I'll have it ready for the publisher by the end of this summer.
So, if a weekday goes by and there's no Brown Knowser blog post, it'll most likely be because I decided to work on my novel, instead. When I'm happy with the new chapters, I'll post them on my Gyeosunim blog. I'll replace the nine posted chapters as they become ready, too. So you can read the existing ones now, if you wish, and read the updated ones when I've cleaned them up or written anew.
I'm not lazy: I'm writing.