Today I was having lunch with a friend and was telling her about the ups and downs of the YA I’ve been working on for over five years. If you’ve been with me awhile, you know all about my trials, tribulations, breakthroughs and milestone successes.
I mentioned how that for me it’s not all fun and creativity. Sometimes I have to just push through until things start to click.
“Slogging,” I said. “That’s what it feels like.”
“And right now you don’t even feel like slogging,” she said.
Yes. That was it.
Right now I am doing something that should be fairly easy—inputting changes from a hard copy I’ve marked up. But as I go through it, the story isn’t feeling fresh and alive to me; it feels dead on the page. And suddenly I’m wondering if it’s the story itself or a reflection of how I feel in general. Yes, the malaise still lingers. Argh.
And then I did something really unhelpful; I read a really good book and started thinking my story really sucked compared to that book. Had to remind myself of the Teddy Roosevelt quote: “Comparison is the thief of joy.” Then I had to move myself out of that so I could evaluate my story on its own merits…when I was ready.
So…what’s a writer to do?
While I’m waiting to be ready, I’m switching to a YA idea that came to me about a year and a half ago while I give the other book a little distance.
To that end…
- I’m taking a four-week story/plotting class
- I’m going to brainstorm with my critique group, and
- I signed NaNoWriMo for the first time ever. It has always intimidated me because I’m a revise-as-I-go writer–REALLY bad approach for someone who re-visions and rewrites as much as I do–but I’m hoping NaNo will help cure me of that because I’d really like to get a first draft out quickly
So that’s the plan. And this weekend is the Rocky Mountain Chapter SCBWI Fall Conference and I know that I’ll get a lot of great inspiration. I’ll be writing about that next week.
Anyone out there get this stalled on a book?
Heck yeah! This slog reminds me of my only published article, “Spurts and Splats!” Over the past fifteen years, I’ve been mostly splatting. But I finally have a completed rough draft, which is a mess! I’m a discovery writer, and I keep getting lost or buried in my stories. Lately I’ve been motivated by learning how to outline using the 7-point plot method by Dan Wells and Plot Doctoring by Derek Murphy. I’m in the process of merging that info into a DEFAULT template that I hope will help me analyze my manuscript and get on with revising. Wishing you the best!
Love the title of your piece – boy does it sound like how many of us write! Congrats on your completed rough draft. I’m looking forward to having one of those in the next few months. Thank you for sharing the books! I’m reading K.M. Weiland’s Structuring Your Novel and her Outlining Your Novel. I also spent time brainstorming and raising questions and sent them to my critique group so we can have a group brainstorming session at our next meeting. Love our process–would love to hear how your revision goes with your technique!
Hope all those things has you feeling good and ready to slog again! When all else fails to boost my own writing morale I read poetry. Looking forward to seeing you this weekend!
Thanks, Julie! I hope so too. I did feel that glimmer of excitement during the first Story/Plot class when I dove into my character a bit–that’s a good sign. Reading poetry – that is a wonderful suggestion–thank you! See you soon!