I have been very remiss in my blogging. That’s primarily because: A) I’ve had precious little I felt worth sharing; B) I’ve been spending considerable amounts of my free time working on the new novel; and C) I’ve gone through a rather difficult period of self-doubt and disappointment.
Dealing with C first: all writers go through this. All writers hit a point, and multiple times, where they say “why the hell am I doing all this?” It goes with the territory. Especially when you remain unpublished. The longer you go without an agent and/or a publishing deal, the more often you’ll cycle through these types of moments. There’s no shame in it, it’s no crime, it simply “is.” I received another agent rejection and I’ve been wallowing a bit in the “I suck” theory of life. Hey, it’s a theory!
But I still write. It’s not crippling depression, and it’s not that beast others call “writer’s block.” I’m not a believer in writer’s block anyways. The only times I don’t write SOMETHING is when I’m either on vacation (and I still could if I wanted to, but that’s my time to kick back and be lazy), I was super massively depressed (and pretty much didn’t do anything), or I chose not to (had just finished SUMMER and took a long break through Christmas). I work full time, have the kids part time, have been taking some courses, so my time is already busy enough. Since writing isn’t my career at this point (but that’s the goal), I cut myself some slack on taking time off.
A is self-explanatory, so I’ll skip right to B now…
I’ve reached the 36,000 word mark as of this morning. As with every novel I’ve written so far (two others I’ve finished, multiples I’ve started) I’m hitting that “oh my god, this is hard” phase of writing. It usually kicks in for me right away 25,000 words, when the initial rush of excitement wears off. I think, for me at least, it’s a point where I’m beginning to feel the weight of what’s behind me already and how difficult it would be to make changes now, but I’m not sure where everything should go next. Decision paths have been blocked off be previous choices, and any new, fresh idea I have would require considerable changes to the earlier writing.
This is where I need to stop worrying about changes and focus on the original vision of what I was doing. I am powering through this and moving towards the 40 and 50K mark. I will focus on where I was going and not worry about where it MIGHT go if only I hadn’t done x, y, and z earlier, and now I need to go back and fix those, and that’s slowing me down, and oh my god this is hard!
No. Don’t. Keep writing, keeping moving forward. Put down a sentence. Make it a paragraph. Fill a page. Go on to three pages. I’m holding myself to an expectation of roughly 1,000 words per day, so I get up, put my bathrobe on, and write. If I stop and keep going back to make changes, this will never get completed.
What I’ll do is note those ideas for future revisions. When the first draft is done, I’ll review those notes and decide how to improve the manuscript. That will mean expanding it (unlike most authors who always say they are cutting after the first draft). I think this novel is going to the path of Shadow of a Doubt, which was slim when I finished (63,000 words) and became much more expanded on re-write as I executed some details I felt were needed and expanded scenes and ideas. It ended at over 90,000 words. I’m shooting for 70k first draft this time, and 100k on re-write, slimming it back down with proofing/revisions to 90 or 95k.
Power through. That’s your goal, kiddies. Just write and move forward. I’m keeping up with the new “outlining one chapter ahead” so I still have that target to aim for, but am not boxed into one set confining and painful path.