Sunday, March 30, 2014

My Train Derailed

2014, thus far, has been a very bad year for my writing. On top of finishing my last semester of classes, trying to get an internship, looking ahead to graduation, last week I was bed-ridden by a terrible stomach virus. I was completely incapacitated for three days. I wrote a total of seven pages.

I've often harped on my self-imposed deadlines before. Not to beat a dead horse any further, but I really like being able to stick to them. Why? It helps me get the project done. Second, if I am ever fortunate enough to be able to do this in any professional capacity, it'll be a good skill for when I have real deadlines.

I guess the hardest part about this is that I've never had to recover from two gut punches in a row. My grandfather's death in January caused me to, once again, put EC Part 2 on hold in favor of my current WIP. Now, I'm finding it difficult to re-ignite my passion about that work.

What I'm describing is similar to something Neil Gaiman has talked about. When he nears the end of every project (not kidding, every project), he calls his agent and starts to mourn how terrible it is and what a failure it will be upon publication. At this point, the agent laughs and reminds him that he's done that for every book he's written.

Yesterday, it took me nearly an hour a page. There were spelling errors galore. The ink ribbon is fading fast. I'm approaching the end of the story but the manuscript hasn't reached 200 full pages.

And then the floodgate opened...

Is this book exciting enough? Are the characters relatable to the readers? Uh oh, these are historical characters! Are they accurate? Is any of this plausible? I've never written YA books before, how do I know this won't be a total flop? Grr, why won't this book just write itself? I've never had this much trouble with a book before (total lie). How do I ensure that I'm not alienating my female readers with inaccurate portrayals of my female characters? Augh, women!

To cut to the chase, this is the first true writing disaster I've had to bounce back from. I think I know what I need to do, but putting that theory into practice is hard. In the past, all I had were slight hiccups. I'd write a few pages less so I'd have more time for schoolwork, and then write double the quota to make up for it. I worked nearly every day, even if I wasn't able to meet my 1000-words-a-day quota.

This is different. Instead of pulling back on the train's throttle, the train jumped the tracks and blew me sky high. Now, I have to rebuild the train and regain that momentum.

Hopefully, next week's post will be much more optimistic.

Until then, wait, where'd I put that pen...

*Several hours later*

Page 181!

I'm back from the dead!

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