Sometimes, I get into these moods where I’m like YES. PEN BOYS. TEEN ANGST. BOYYYYYS. OLIVER I MISS YOU. And then I listen to Ghost on the Shore by Lord Huron, and I’m transported back into my love of Henry and I want to write Saints at sea RIGHT NOW.
Most of the time right now, I want to write the new draft for the Pen boys. After spending my birthday weekend with Erin, I was even more invigorated to write it. I wanted to write it before, but not in the same all-consuming way that I felt the first time, or even while writing Saints. But then, my life kind of turned upside down, and the thought of starting a new project in the middle of everything else felt like the worst possible idea, so I set my sights back on Saints 2.
I’ll be honest, these last two weeks have been hard. In the span of a few days, I found out that I was no longer going to be able to live in my apartment, and that I needed to be moved out by the end of May. I might have been able to handle that like a rational human being if the month of April wasn’t also one of my busiest months. I’ve finally started getting students at my new studio, The Empowerment Studio, in the Lemon Tree Counseling & Wellness Center, so now I really am teaching six times a week on top of my full-time job. I also got certified in kids yoga on 4/8, I’m seeing Papa Roach & Escape the Fate (OH MY GOD) on 4/13, my favorite little nephew has a birthday party the day after, I have a Barefoot meeting and an event on 4/15, a Lemon Tree meeting on 4/21 after my two morning classes, my reiki 1 certification on 4/28, and two doctor’s appointments for blood work and my physical worked into that. And on top of all that, I’m still planning Erin’s bridal shower and bachelorette party. I was prepared for this month to be busy. I knew I was going to be tired at the end of it. But throw needing to move into a new place on top of that?
I kind of fell apart. I posted a couple days ago about how overwhelmed I was, how I couldn’t keep track of everything, how I felt uprooted and disconnected. My stress levels are so high that my shoulders and my neck hurt every day. I keep waking up with headaches. I’m home past 9PM every night, and I just can’t do it. So, last night, I made the decision that I was going to move home, regroup, and start fresh after the summer is over. Take some time to save up a little, find roommates, and try again. It’s not a failure. It’s going to be okay.
Now, during all of this, I was in the middle of editing Saints 2 and subsequently falling behind on my reading for my Goodreads challenge. These two things are not at all something that should affect anything because they are so minor compared to everything else, but these two things became the only thing that I could fix, so I put my head to the ground and edited something like 50-100 pages a day. I’m still behind on my Goodreads goal, and that bums me out, but now that Saints 2 edits are done, I’m going to read like a maniac.
And really, finishing edits for Saints 2 was kind of what helped me figure out where I was going in life. It wasn’t like I finished it and went, ah ha! I’ve figured out my life! No, it was more–well, I did it. I wrote a series of books, I edited both of them, and they’re done.
Saints is done.
The whole thing. Which, it’s only two books, but it’s done. I spent 12 years working on Ronan, and never even got close to finishing. But between October and yesterday, I wrote, edited, and completed two full books that are the main series in the Saintsverse. There will be spin-offs (Saints at sea is still plaguing my every thought), and I’ll see these characters again, but I’m done.
I can’t quite believe it. I did it. I don’t think it’s sinking in. I keep saying it out loud, but that’s it. I just keep saying it out loud. It’s really done.
This time around, it was a little different. I had a set word count in mind. I wanted to surpass the first one, which was around 135k, and hit the 150k mark. Let me tell you, I just barely got there, but it happened. The first draft of Saints 2 was 152k, and after edits, I actually only added 530 words, coming out at 153,426 words. Damn. I’m really proud of the fact that I added under 1k words. I feel like that means it was pretty solid the first time around, though if I’m being honest, that probably also had to do with the fact that I heavily edited parts one and two as soon as they were done.
When I set out to write Saints 2, I told myself that I wanted to have it done by the end of March, written and edited. As I was starting to get through part three, I was feeling like this might be impossible because the story was dragging ass. It just was not coming. And when I finally admitted that it probably wouldn’t be done until the end of April, it was like my brain just did a big old NOPE and gave me all the words. The writing was actually completed before the end of March, and I’m pretty pleased with my timeline for editing.
It’s weird. I’ve been saying in every blog that I don’t want to let Landon go, that I’m not ready, that I’m going to miss him so much, but now that it’s done? I’m ready to let him go. Those last few chapters with him are so good. He’s so happy. He’s in love. He’s ready to be let go of. And that feels really, really damn good. It feels complete. Alex is probably never going to feel complete because I’m never going to want to let go of him or even be ready to, and the Pen boys are just in constant limbo that I feel like I’m going to be with them for awhile, and who the hell knows about Ronan and Mason, but Saints is done. Landon is done. And I’m happy.
So, that leaves the question: what’s next?
A heck of a lot of things. I’m going to be sending Saints 2 to Alex very soon (heyyyyy). My other readers are all busy with other things, and while normally I would wait for them to read the first one, it really, honestly feels solid enough to go out now. So I’m sending it out. And you guys get to come along this time! Last time was with Mason, and this blog was still private, but now, you get to see my insane, color-coded spreadsheet for literary agents. Eventually, my goal is to move onto Saints at sea, but I don’t expect that to happen until after the summer, at the very, very earliest. What’s the summer for, you ask?
I’m coming home.
It’s back to Penhallam with my knuckleheads. While Erin was here, I figured out a lot. Things are changing, and I’m really excited about all of it, and holy magic, I miss my Olly. I’ve been listening to Setting Out by Citizen of the World on repeat for the last few days, and I’m so ready to be back in his sad, brilliant little mind.
I’m going to take a little break before then because I do still have to move home and figure out my life, and I’d like to take a few weeks, maybe a full month, to just read and release. I’m officially two books behind on my Goodreads challenge (jfc), and I’ve read all of one book in the first eleven freaking days of April, so I need to get my butt in gear. I’m also (drumroll, please) finally
FINALLY buying the Ikea Billy bookshelves. I always told myself that the next time I moved, no matter where it was, I was finally going to invest in them. It’s going to set me back a little over $300, but I’ll probably have these for the rest of my life, and I’m so excited. I’ve wanted them for so long, so get ready for some amazing aesthetic pictures when that finally happens.
I’m still trying to wrap my mind around the fact that I’ve written and completed a series of books, that I’ve finished a story. Wow.
I think I deserve some yoga tonight.