We're two days from the middle of November, aka the halfway point for National Novel Writing Month. which means I'd better be at 25K on my NaNo novel done by now (yes, I'm writing this post in advance.) I've been gently nagging some of you who were foolish enough to let me be your writing buddy (and I'm actively blackmailing Keita), and I've even replied to a couple of posts in the NaNo forums. It's the perfect time for a pep talk -- because everything is going great, yes?
For me, 100% great, eh. I'm at about 64%, maybe. Naturally I'm trying to stay positive, but I had hoped to get more words done every day and finish about a week early (now I don't think I can because I'm divided this year between my writer-for-hire day job and NaNo. I am getting a lot of words done; they're simply not all for me.)
Then there is Publishing -- Lord, yes, I know about the award nomination; I've gotten about a thousand e-mails from my romance writer pals. For those who don't know, I'm up for an award I won't win for a novel that is now out of print in a series that the publisher cancelled. I know, I can hardly contain myself either. But seriously, I think I know the reviewer responsible, and if it was you, T., I am genuinely touched. Thanks for thinking of me.
Then there are the novel-related problems. The more I write my NaNo novel, the more I think about the first chapter, which I don't like anymore. Okay, I hate it. If this were a regular writing project, I'd probably rewrite it or delete it or just take it out in the backyard and roast marshmallows over it. But I don't have time to rewrite that chapter and keep on schedule, so I have to hold onto my lousy first chapter. Until December 1st, when I believe I will quite ready to rip it out of my manuscript and drop-kick it into the backyard firepit.
I'm stil not shaking the pom poms very well, but stick with me, there's a point to all this whining. After writing and publishing 51 novels you'd think I could do this in my sleep, right?
Every book is different, but writing them is always and forever work, work, and more work -- and not always successful work. I plan ahead but then for some reason I fall behind. I fail to meet my expectations, often daily. I write scenes and pages and sometimes entire chapters that I think are utter crap. What was bright and shiny and exciting thirteen days ago now often seems more like an annoying, tiresome, plodding, dragging, why-did-I-go-with-dumb-idea millstone tied around my neck. I've already thought about dumping this story entirely and starting over with another idea -- twice since November 1st, in fact.
Here's why I don't: I know to keep going, to keep writing. Yes, I have doubts, the bright and shiny is wearing off, I'm tired, I'm writing two stories simultaneously and I'm disappointing myself. It doesn't matter. This was a great idea, and every problem I have with it can be solved once I finish the book. I'll edit what I doubted and fix it or rewrite it. The bright and shiny never stays but always will come back with the next idea. Then I will rest my brain and recharge my batteries. Maybe I'll even take a little me-vacation and only write one story next month.
I know what you're thinking. What if after all that I discover that it is hopeless, and I can't fix it, and I really should have dumped this story and started over? If that happens, I'll accept what I can't change, stick it in the file cabinet and move on to the next story. Problem solved.
No matter what I do with a story, I know I will always disappoint myself because I'm never satisfied with the work. I think if I ever was, I'd be done and I wouldn't write anymore.
I'm not done. How about you?