Usually, during Insecure Writers Support Group day I tend to try to give advice or hope, to tell my fellow writers that we’ve got to keep moving forward, keep writing, always writing. And none of that is any less true this month, but I feel like going in a bit of a different direction this time around. I feel like whining (just a little, I promise).
If you read my “goals in review” post earlier this week you’ll know that my writing goal didn’t work out all that badly for January. I wrote an average of over 600 words per day, which is pretty damn acceptable, especially considering my work situation and the fact that I spent a decent chunk of the month sick as a dog. However, I was still quite disappointed in my performance for January, and the reason is that I never once touched my actual novel. No, none of those words I wrote had anything to do with an actual manuscript of any kind.
I’m disappointed in myself for a number of reasons, but the big problem here, I believe, is that I’ve grown a little disenchanted with my novel.
If you don’t know, what I’ve been (not) working on is a four-part young adult fantasy series. I am approximately 90% finished with the first draft of the first book and have been there for something like five months now. I desperately want to get this thing finished, to pass it off onto my beta-reader and move on to book two, but somehow I just can’t seem to force myself to do it. I tell myself, day after day, “Sit down and finish that damn story”, but it never happens. There’s always an excuse, something else to do, something else to focus on…or I just curl up in bed and refuse to move. That’s actually probably the most common result.
It’s not that I no longer want to write the story…in fact, technically I’ve been writing this story for years, although it’s only recently that I decided to make it a short series. The real problem, I think, is the scope. “Nowhere to Hide” took almost three years, all total, to go from idea to available-for-sale. At that same rate of accomplishment, my current project won’t be finished until approximately 2028. That’s not to say that I couldn’t write these books faster, but there’s only so fast you can go without sacrificing quality, especially when you have a demanding day job and other projects that you’re not willing to give up. And so I imagine that my daughter will be graduating high school before I have the entire series done, and thinking about that exhausts me. Thus, I don’t write, and it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy because I’m wasting even more time and pushing the end-game further back.
Even I can see that this is extremely stupid. And yet, here we are.
So I guess, what I’m looking for here is a bit of commiseration from my fellow writers. What do you do when you become disenchanted with your story, but you still do actually want to complete it? Any tips for me? I could definitely use them right now because I’ll be super-frustrated with myself if I go an entire month again without contributing anything to this project. >.<
6 thoughts on “The Self-Fulfilling Prophecy: An IWSG Post”
I was thinking of starting this up on my blog and was wondering if you’d like to team up with me on Insecure Writer’s Support Group Day. I don’t know. Tag each other’s posts. And occasionally guest post on other’s blog? Because this IS a good idea! Frankie Blooding
Date: Wed, 3 Feb 2016 12:01:14 +0000 To: firstname.lastname@example.org
I’m that way with the guitar. I want to learn to play. I piddle around on it and can play some chords. But I’ve yet to learn a whole song. i.e. finish writing a whole book. It’s kind of like I’m waiting for something to come along and give me the right inspiration instead of looking for that inspiration. Do muses find us or do we have to find them? I found a neat App -Yousician to help inspire me. Hope you find your inspiration!
That last hump is always the hardest. When ideas are fresh and new and exciting, the words come easy. When you’re getting close to the end and you’re trying to juggle all the pieces and it feels more like work, it becomes a bit of a slog. But there’s no trick (that I know of) except to just plug away until it’s done. It may not be as fun or as easy, and it may not be perfect the first time around, but once the first draft is done, then you’ll at least have that accomplished and you can play with it and fine-tune it during revising.
If nothing else, get it done so you can start having fun again with the next book! 😉
One thing that’s helped me when I feel disenchanted with my writing is to go back and reread what I have. I’ll have one of two reactions: “Hey, this is pretty good! I want to keep doing this!” or, “Wow, this sucks, but I think I see how I can fix it.” Either way, I start writing again.
I normally do what James does. Take a break and then go back and re-read. Alternatively, if you’ve been stuck on book one, but have the whole series planned out then maybe start thinking about book 2. Either fleshing it out or writing it. I did book two of my trilogy for NANO last year, and it gave me such a new perspective on book 1 that I was excited to go back and incorporate those ideas into my revisions of book 1 (no major re-writes, don’t worry.)
I recently saw Meg Cabot post about how it’s completely normal to hate your book as you get midway through (or later). You just have to keep going! I think we all go through that. There’s that newness that comes with starting a new story and we feel gratification and finishing, but everything in between gives us PLENTY of time for those doubts to creep in.