Saturday, August 07, 2010

Right Brain Vs Left

I’m spending the summer working on my thesis. My professor has me on a strict plan of handing this research project to her in sections over these warm months, so I can spend the year just revising, and hopefully taking advantage of some financial rewards that come with being a grad student novelist. (Fingers crossed)

Dr L has received about a third of my work and we’re going to chat soon about what I’ve written so far. That makes me nervous and excited. Nervous because Dr L is an intimidating presence. I mean, she’s got the kind of soft voice that can make you feel like you’ve done a really good job. But she also has this look in her eyes that let you know that she can immediately turn into Angry Black Mother at any given time. Thankfully, she hasn’t gone ABM on me.

The biggest struggle I’m facing with this whole process is my rebelling Left Brain, my creative side. Thankfully, my thesis is part research and part novel that I’ve previously written, so I mainly have to focus on the research portion. At the same time, I’m revising another fiction novel that takes up a bit of my time. So it’s hard to go from my analytical Right Brain to my rebellious Left Brain on a daily basis.

I managed to set a schedule for the NIP (Novel In Progress). The goal is to write at least 1,500 words a day, five days a week. I have index cards for each day of the week, noting how many words I should reach by any given day and I check each number off once I’m done. Sometimes I wake up at 5 a.m. to write. Other times I’m up till midnight. And there are some weekends where I’m in front of that computer trying to catch up on the writing that I didn’t get in during the week. But it gets done. By my calculations, this latest draft of NIP will be complete by September. Do you know what happens then?? More revisions. Sigh.

But I can’t say that I’ve established a regular schedule with the thesis. I read my books on black masculinity and recovery, and also offer analysis of other pieces of fiction that I'll be comparing to novel #1. Still, no matter how much I do, I feel like I'm not making any progress.

I'm gonna keep plugging away at both projects, just cause that's what I do. And if it doesn't work, it just doesn't work. I'd be more than happy to throw everything away and just go back to one of my childhood dreams -- to become a rapper. You may laugh, but a wise man once told me that metaphors will keep me out of the projects. We'll see.

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