December 05, 2002

1126 Words

Definitely not earth-shattering, but I wrote a very important scene that I skipped over yesterday. It was a tough scene to write. This is probably the reason why I skipped it in the first place. But this morning, I sat down with my legal pad and sketched out the main elements of the scene, and that helped put it into focus. Once I sat down to write it, it flowed pretty well. And it was a short scene, so I was able to finish it off. Now I can get back to the regular flow of the book. I'm still pretty worn out by all my second-guessing, but I'm getting my strength back. I realized last night that there is nothing terribly wrong with the book. As far as first drafts go, it's pretty strong actually. But I caught myself trying to look at the Big Picture instead of taking things one step at a time. Instead of focusing on how to make the next scene work, I was worrying about future scenes I've yet to write, the book as a whole, and the revisions I'm going to have to make when the first draft is finished. This last part is always a big worry of mine, but experience tells me I can tackle those revisions when the time comes, and there's no point in worrying about revision if I don't even have a first draft completed. Duh! So now I'm going to get back to focusing on each scene as I come to it, and only that scene. It's worked so far. I also find, when I only worry about what I have to do today, tomorrow's work--and even next week's work--tends to take care of itself. One day at a time, as the saying goes. I think I can do that.

December 04, 2002

1475 Words

but the self-doubt looms: I can't shake it. Rather than repeat myself in two places, this is what I had to say about my self-doubt in a post to the Breakout Novel Board:

I knew it would happen sooner or later. I'm in the thick of my middle, actually on the second half of the middle, and now things are getting wonky. I don't know if my judgment is clouded by self-doubt, or if the writing is really as out of control as it feels; somewhere in there I lost my rhythm. I'm still writing, trying to push through, but it's getting harder and harder and now every choice I make, from the structure of a scene down to each individual word, I find myself second-guessing. At the same point, my enthusiasm for the project continues to hold strong. But I've literally got this sick feeling in my stomach that I'm failing, that I've done it all wrong, that this will never be the book I want it to be, not even by half. And (the biggie) I'm convinced it will never get published.

I know. I'm obsessing. But I can't get out of this funk. I think part of it might be the forced time-off I took for Thanksgiving. I lost my stride. But I was noticing these fears, obsessions, or doubts creeping in before I took the time off.

This actually happens to me with every book I've ever written. When I first started writing this was the very point where I'd quit, thinking some other idea would work itself out better. I have loads of half-finished novels, though for the most part I've kicked the not-finishing habit. Why does this happen? Why does it seem like there's this little saboteur hiding in my subconscious, waiting for the right moment to demolish my progress and short-circuit my confidence? Is there any way to evict the bastard, or am I stuck with him? Anyone else even have a clue about what I'm talking about?

Whew! Glad I got that off my chest.

December 03, 2002

256 Words

Can you stand it? I debated even bothering to post today's word-count, but figured this would be a prime example of what happens when you reach the second half of your novel and you've got to start carrying all those neat little threads you planted in the first half that weren't in the outline. Today I finished a scene (and liked how I ended it) which led me to start thinking about where I was going to take the view-point character next. I'm going to have to come up with a scene for him that I hadn't planned, but will work really well with the character. And I need to make this scene a turning point in the character's life, so it ain't going to be easy. That got me staring into space for a half-hour or so, and I burned up the rest of my writing time trying to figure out how to readjust my plot accordingly. It happens. But it's never a happy occasion to see such a low word-count as a result. Still, I'm once again excited by the book's possibilities and hope my rhythm will return soon. Like, tomorrow!

December 02, 2002

I'm back

Feels like I've been gone for ages. Today I got in 1234 words on the novel. I think I have things under control again. I spent a lot of time just thinking about the plot and how to fix the things I'm unhappy with while I was away. So now it's full speed ahead once more. I want to finish this damn thing!