Dry November: Day 27

November 27, 2019

Nearly finished with my month of not drinking, but like last year not much looking forward to diminution by drink. The only upside I can see is that it makes me more social. Without a drink, I less desire to go out, and find conversation more draining. I feel awkward and slow. Of course I’m probably less awkward, quicker, and remembering more; it’s just that with a bit of a buzz you miss the pauses, miss that you’ve missed something.

Otherwise I’m halfway through my reread of the novel, which with current spacing is 413 pages. It’s a strange experience to read what I’ve written, like meeting a former self, even though it’s only been set aside for three months. Some sections were written at the start of the year, and some I’d been thinking about for a year before that.

There are many parts that I’d entirely forgotten writing, some of which are quite good; others parts I remembered as being better than they are. And of course some parts are awful, but most of the awful parts look rushed, provisional, and this will make them easy to cut. Or if I still deem them necessary, then their standard will be easy to improve.

There’s also the mounting list of missing scenes to write, of revisions to do. Overall, it coheres much more than the last draft, but it still is not submission quality, and that in itself, after months of work, is daunting. Reading half the novel has generated 12 pages of A4 notes and edits. That’s in addition to the 276 todo items I stored in the document itself, and the additional 244 in Todoist.

Another year of work, then? It’s looking that way. But in rereading it I’ve also gained confidence that there’s something there, that what I’ve written was worth writing.

Bryan Kam

I'm Bryan Kam. I'm thinking about complexity and selfhood. Please sign up to my newsletter or see more here.