Blog No. 349
As you know, I’ve been trying to suss out some of the reasons as to why my writing productivity plummets in the summer. I think I was on the right track with the chaos that the Day Job brings this time of year and with the usual uptick in events (that hasn’t happened this year). There’s also the serious issue that the people who I go write with become unavailable (kids and stuff) so it becomes much easier to just put off writing or even cut my sessions short (where I’m about finished but the other person is still going so I managed a little more). There’s this other thing, though, and I don’t think it has anything to do with the season.
It turns out that (as far as my shoddy memory can attest) for most of my writing summers, I’ve been mid project. Either my third attempt at a novel (first with a finished first draft) with Pilot, or All These Crooked Streets, Neon Heart, and now the Invasion Novel. It seems that on projects like this, (either of some length or requiring lots of focus) I tend to hit a bit of a wall. I certainly had it with Pilot. I was over the honeymoon phase and stuck with the nitty-gritty plodding of the story, knowing where I wanted to go, but not sure how to get there. With Streets, it was a lot of not seeing eye-to-eye with Christian, fighting the layout, and desperately not wanting to work on it anymore. (It was keeping me from getting to work on Thinking Machine). With Neon Heart, I was a good chunk of the way through the story (eight percent or so) and I just wasn’t sure. I had lost the forest for the trees and was second guessing every decision I was making. At one point, I thought I may just have to rewrite the whole thing.
Now, working on the Invasion Novel, I’m in the same boat. I’m not sure if anything I’ve written is any good (or on the right track). I’m unsure of where to go next (even though I know where I want the plot to go). And possibly most importantly, I’m in the middle of a scene that I clearly saw from the beginning and it’s not turning out how I imagined it. There’s a lot of uneasiness and at just over forty-thousand words, I’m both not where I wanted to be and starting to get exhausted with the process. I’ve had a couple of friends tell me that if something (my body, the story, whatever) is telling me to take a break that maybe I should, but I’m so lazy as it is, and I have so much I want to write, and my window for making this writing thing my Day Job is closing.
It’s not all doom and despair. I’ve come to a big realization. The Invasion Novel is not what I had originally planned, and I’m okay with that. I’m trying to be okay with that. I fully expect to have to do some big second draft rewrites, but there is potential (at my current word count verses point in the plot) that I’m overwriting this thing by a lot. It may not be efficient (and this story
may will definitely take me longer than initially planned) but having the extra room (ie words) gives me more that I can cut. Is a section boring or repetitive? Cut it. Am I taking to long to get to the point? Cut it. You get the idea. That doesn’t mean that I won’t have to still rewrite a lot. It just acts as a buffer. I can bring out the hatchet and keep what’s best, hopefully making the whole book better for it. I’m just going to be doing that later than expected.