“There was a war in my head, thundering between my ears.
This had to be the ultimate fool’s errand.”
– Sara Litchfield, The Night Butterflies
Lots of lovely things happened this weekend, large and small: I finally finished Draft 2 of The Book To Be; I gained a new, lovely, editing client; I beat Partner In Crime at the chessboard; it was sunny on Sunday; we made stuffed potato skins; and we finally watched episode 14 of season 5 of Breaking Bad (aaaaaagggghh!!!).
I was (uncharacteristically) aggressive on the chessboard this weekend. Perhaps it’s a reflection of the fact I’m trying to be more aggressive in all of life’s challenges. Sometimes the only route to success involves pushing fiercely forward. I sacrificed quite a few pieces up front in order to give myself the space to manoeuvre and I didn’t end up regretting it.
Life is very chessy at the moment, especially with Project Get Published. Some people agonise over their opening, but I’ve always found making the first move relatively easy. It’s the battle that follows that can get bloody and messy. It can be frustrating that you can only control what you can control. You may think you’ve done everything to force a certain outcome, giving the opposition surely only one sensible option – only to find that they can still surprise you with their response. Sometimes, their move might seem completely counter-intuitive. But they’re playing their game – not yours. And you can’t rush them. They’ll move when they’re ready. All you can do is prepare your onslaught and keep plugging away every time they foil you. You have to not get distracted by anything shiny and concentrate on the goal, using all your powers of prediction to take the best possible position.
Sacrifice with care – you might think capturing the King all important and worth disregarding the other pieces of your life, but it might be better in the end if it takes a little longer but you emerge still having your friends, your partner, your clients and your colleagues to celebrate with. Sacrifice is necessary – I’ve certainly sacrificed the vast percentage of my social life, and it will be worth it. But it’s important to nurture the relationships and still do the chores that you might think slow you down, but in reality are really integral to your long-term success. I don’t want to achieve checkmate but have lost my mate in the process. It can be fantastic to be single-minded, but I think it takes more than one thing to give life meaning.
So I’m sure you’re dying to know. The Book To Be is a dystopian thriller of sorts. ‘Boy monster meets girl monster in post-apocalyptic university town and their fight for survival turns into a fight to bring down the system.’ It is taking *so* much longer for all the pieces to be in the right place to publish than I planned. But the time-investment and dollar-investment and the sacrifices along the way will be worth it. The best way to achieve checkmate is persistence and patience.
Is anyone else struggling to make the right moves at the moment? Anyone struggling to sacrifice the right pieces of life? Keep your eyes on the prize. It will be worth it.
And, *deep breath* is there anyone out there with the time and inclination who would consider being a Treasured Beta Reader for The Night Butterflies? I have 2, I’d love 3 more. Haters of the dystopian genre / books told from several POVs / people with absolutely no time to read / people who are gleeful and lack tact when pointing out other people’s flaws need not apply lol. Please get in touch, if you would like to help me search and destroy poor plot & character points pre-publication. Do it for the karma / your name on the acknowledgements page.