Sunday, February 13, 2011

Fourth draft blues

I just realized I haven't posted in over a week, so here's to rectifying that.

The book has me in a funk. I have always oscillated through periods of liking it and hating it, and right now I am in a hater phase.

I am attempting to edit half of the chapters to make the voices of my two narrators more distinct. This means bringing these newly-reworked chapters back to a much less polished phase of production. Although I imagine that this process is necessary or at least beneficial, it's frustrating and discouraging.

I'm not just lazy. It's not that I don't want to work on the manuscript any more. I just have gotten to the point where I can't seem to tell if the changes I'm making are helping or hurting. Sometimes I wonder if I will even be able to resolve the issues I am trying to fix, or if the work has critical flaws that can't be undone.

I've been working on this novel since last April, which doesn't sound like too long (10 months, whatever), but it's been an intense 10 months. I normally work on it for at least 2-3 hours a day, more if I can scrape together the time, and I normally enjoy the work, but it's difficult not to get discouraged sometimes.

In an effort to avoid burnout I'm going to force myself to take a break from it for a few days. I'd like to say I will leave it alone for a week but we all know that isn't going to happen.

In the meantime I am working on a short story. Why am I writing on my break from writing? I don't know. In my free time, I also read and work on dance stuff, but I don't watch television or play video games in my free time any more, and I try to limit the time I waste on the Internet. Mostly I write, think about writing, and bother my loved ones with my writing-related drama. In any case, writing this story feels like a break, so it's a break. So there.

Right now I am happy just to have an idea for a story. I've been searching for one for months, but I kept coming up with stuff that was too complicated to condense into short fiction. I'm hoping this idea is just complicated enough. It's going to be interesting to see how the project turns out.

But back to the book. Here's the thing-- I believe in the story and I believe in the characters. It's everything else I'm not so sure about. But whether or not the writing itself is hackneyed crap, I've gleaned a tremendous amount of knowledge from writing it. Even if there are problems with the manuscript that I will never be able to fix, I will keep writing other things and I will keep trying.

It would make me sad to let this project go, because I am so fond of the characters and the plot. But I'm nowhere near the point of no return, not yet. I'm not ready to give up. I just need a break.

It does feel weird to live in this space, where this project dominates so much of my mental energy, knowing I'm the only one who cares even ten percent this much about it. Even for me, an introvert with a hyperactive imagination and a tenuous grasp on reality-- even for me it's weird.

But I'm used to weird, so whatever.


  1. Glenn usually hits this phase in the writing process close to the end. He starts questioning whether his writing and content is worth anything at all. Just keep getting pep talks from your loved ones, and know that there is an end, which might be closer than you think.
    PS- it will never be perfect, but hopefully you'll find contentment soon.

  2. Here's a pep talk! Don't be discouraged; we all go through funks and that usually means one is about to grow leaps and bounds.

    I'm really enjoying the book right now and I can feel myself getting sucked in. :)

    I had a dream last night (or the night before) where I was writing a novella/short story. I can't remember what it was about or else I would tell you in hopes that it would inspire you...but sorry.

  3. Thank you so much, guys! Your comments really brought my spirits up.
    Andalee-- if you think of it let me know! I love ideas :)