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Monday, February 14, 2011

Breaking Point

It's Monday. I'm not sure I can describe how much I loathe Monday. The day starts thirty minutes before the alarm clock goes off with someone screaming. This happens every Monday.

Even though I'm up 30 minutes earlier than usual it takes 45 minutes extra to get everyone out the door. This happens every Monday.

I'm supposed to have kids to school before 8, hit the gym by 8:15, and be back to writing by 10am. With zero energy in the bitter cold I actually wanted to crawl back into bed and forget this whole health and wellness craze. This happens every Monday.

It's Monday.

I've taken two days away from my WIP to work on a Secret Project. Secret Project has characters, but no actual plot yet. This is a major problem and the reason Secret Project is sitting on the back burner to simmer rather than garnering any real attention.

This means I must go back to the book that is giving me fits, and I realize I'm at my breaking point.

This is usually where I find another plot, any other plot, and run-off for a few blissful months of Shiny New Idea love.

Do you know how tempting it is to give up?

It isn't the book that's wrong, it's ME! I can picture everything in my mind, all the layers of detail, and I can't get it right on the page. It isn't perfect, and that is driving me crazy.

I start with one rough scene. Right now the new writing stands out like a buzz-saw at the orchestra. It's choppy, rough, horrible!

Then the doubt sets in. What if all the writing is that terrible and I just can't see it? What if all my writing is this bad?

Maybe I'm not the right author for this story. Someone else could write it better. They could take this idea and make it a masterpiece. I'm just butchering this. But this Shiny New Idea... that's easy. I could write that. And it would be a first draft, all first drafts are rough...

I hate this stage of editing.

I hate it so much I usually will abandon a book rather than muscle through this morass of choppy writing. But WIP is open, and I'm going to try. If you see a little lost author sobbing on the street begging for a plot-hole fix, that's me. Give me a piece of chocolate and send me back to work.


  1. Keep at it! We all get to that point! I find myself mulling over my writing over and over, kicking myself, certain it's the worst piece of crap ever. Then, I have moments when I realize, hey--this ain't so bad after all. It's like a cycle. I guess we just have to accept that NO piece of writing is ever going to be perfect no matter how much we fuss over it. Just get in there, do your best, and have some chocolate too :)

  2. Have you had betas look at it yet? That's what I'd do at this point, because they can tell you that your writing's not crap. And sometimes that's all we need to break out of that "this sucks" attitude and get back to work.

    The worst thing that can happen is they tell you it is crap (something I highly doubt will happen), and give you some ideas on how you can fix it. My point being that outside eyes are sometimes far more helpful than banging one's head repeatedly against a wall, even one of words. ;-)

    Good luck either way - the first one revised all the way through is definitely the hardest (I have 5 trunked novels that I never completed revisions or edits on, so I definitely know where you're coming from there). After you get one done though...it's way, way easier to tackle the next, IMO.

  3. Mysti - Thank you for the chocolate

    Jamie - I'll try sending it to my crit partner. I'm half convinced she's ready to sacrifice the souls of small fuzzy animals just to make me stick with an editing project, but she should be able to point me in the right direction.

    At this point I have a chunk of new writing to do, and I think I just have to plunge in and write it. The book won't be finished in one edit, but it will get finished eventually.

  4. I'll give you my whole chocolate stash for a Shiny New Novel idea! *hugs*

  5. Dldzioba - What genre do you want? I have stacks of Shiny Ideas that I don't have time to write. If you give me a basic idea of what you like, I can probably give you an idea. :o)

  6. I'm glad I'm not the only one with a healthy attitude about giving ideas freely. They always develop differently anyway. I used to give my friends a copy of my ideas file whenever they were stuck. Problem is one of them are speaking to me(the ideas, that is) at the moment.

    As for what I like, I'm generally a fantasy girl, and after this novel the only real requirement I have is no more royals. Titles are evil and need to die.


  7. Dldzioba - Let's see...
    -- I have a death goddess offering immortality to anyone who can love her.
    -- I have an assassin killing a fairy queen (with no explanation as to why).
    -- I have a Paladin sent by his god to protect a woman who doesn't want (or seem to need) protection (I think there might have been a romance planned there).
    -- I have a SAHM who is also Queen of All Evil (looks like a comedy).
    (stops to read QoALE... this is pretty good, gosh, where was I going with this?)
    -- I have a version of the Minataurs labryinth and someone escaping.
    -- I have a scribe who is immune to poisons and saves a condemned man.

    Want more? I have ... counts... 40 ideas tucked into my fantasy folder who have never gotten past page 10. They're just random scenes I scribbled down and abandoned.

  8. I had a moment of revelation yesterday. I was going through the same phase of: any other writer could tell this story better. Then I remembered my conclusion when I put myself down as a bad parent.

    Even though I'm not the best mom, I don't want anyone else raising my kid, because I know him best.

    As a writer, my characters deserve the same. I may not be the best writer, but I know my story and characters and no one can tell their story the way I can.

  9. Mary- *hugs* I'm going to print that and hang it on the wall. I need that reminder for writing and parenting. :o)

  10. Ditto Mary's comment, Li. Someone else could write the ideas, but not in your voice. I'll read asap - and if nothing else, we'll have puppies next week so I'll have 3 hour chunks in the middle of the night with nothing better to do ;) :D