This is when nothing clicks anymore. When your sentences sound awful, your story doesn’t make sense, you can’t think or concentrate. I believe this is writers burn out. This is writers burn out for me.
This is the point when you wonder for the first time if you should ditch it. Dismantle it all. Everything. And call it a day. This is where I am. I hate to admit it. Admitting it makes it real.
This isn’t writers block. This is something completely different, completely foreign.
My novel is still on my mind, new ideas still come to the surface. Some days I jot them down, other days I push them away.
I’m pretty sure this is why blogs disappear, novels go unfinished, talent goes untapped or unseen. This is when writers walk away.
Walking away isn’t my plan.
But I have been putting too much pressure on myself. Listening to too much noise. I suppose it’s part of the process–these revelations of sorts. I hope.
So, I believe the only solution is to leave it be for a while. Take a few more walks, run a little farther–a little faster and try to regain the passion that put me in front of my laptop screen in the first place.
My rewrites are numerous. My ideas…off the chart ridiculous. My scope…? I’m not sure it’s wide enough. And honestly, I’m not sure how to figure it out. I know that sounds stupid. Let me say it this way. I can name any number of my favorite books and point out just where they went right. The reasons the story works and flows. I can name a few other books that all but lose me. Or pick me up and then drop me again. The books that I need more from, more detail, more explanation, more feeling.
I read my book over and over with all the rewrites and editing. Some days, I love it. Other days, I wonder what in the hell? The questioning of my work is what messes me up. Really, I’m fine with that part of the process. The questioning, it’s needed to a point. What I’m not fine with is where to cut it off. When you read your own work so many times, it can feel cluttered and clunky. When I walk away from it for a few days, read it again, I see more hiccups and fix them. Again.
That’s just it. That’s the problem. I could do this same drill for months. I know I could. So when do I leave it the hell alone and know it’s where it needs to be? When I have too many thoughts and ideas at once, my head will likely explode. And I think that’s my issue. Too many ideas. I put my novel down, walk away, come back, read it again and “Hey! I’ve got an idea!” Or worse, “What am I saying??” I don’t know how to turn it off. All this second guessing will likely kill me.
First off…As if I do not have enough hair pulling going on with simply trying write, I have thrown myself into the twitter bowl. If nothing else, it should be entertaining to watch me crash and burn for a few weeks.
On a positive note, writing picked up steam last night and I was not only able to stomach the first 7 again, but actually made some good edits along the way. I’m on the upside of my carousel ride again…I pray it hangs in for a while.
In the earliest stages of my novel–when it was only a stream of ideas, my POV took hold. It wasn’t something I thought about at the time. But I think about it now and why it came so naturally. I wonder how much of me was my protagonist in the beginning. As the story moved and continued to unfold, the characters became a far cry from where they started–who they were, when I started. The personas, voices, thoughts and feelings are distinctly their own now. They are no longer the people I began with and I love that.
I realize that there is a part of me in everything I write. A part of every author is weaved into their landscape, their characters, their stories. In some way, no matter how small, we are what we write. The choices we make, the angles we take, the voices we use–they are all part of who we are. Knowingly or not.
When we write, we create the world, the rules, the behavior and the actions. It is at our command. The possibilities are endless. The ability to change and evolve. The choice to stay the same. But I believe our characters at some point, take over. They have to. They lead us the rest of the way through the journey and to the end. And in that evolution, the real story comes out.
The best idea in the world rarely ends where a writer thinks it will without total manipulation of the characters. Unless we allow them to speak on their own, we can never know the true story. At some point we need to relinquish part of the control and allow ourselves to be led rather than to lead.
(By Shannon9791 via Photobucket)
This is my new mantra. “This isn’t a rush job!” Only I try to say it calmly.
Do you have those days when you wonder if you should scrap it and walk away–or at least toward another project? But then you read a quote or an excerpt and you remember the reason you’re doing this in the first place? Me too.
There is this blind sort of faith that goes along with writing and finishing a novel. A faith you’re putting into the void in hopes that it will return the favor. As much as my mind seems to have taken a hiatus from any useful thoughts in relation to my (should already be finished) novel, I know I’ll never walk away from it. So in that light, I am attempting to acquire a new look on my writing. Slow and steady wins the race and all that.
In the end, what matters is that I don’t walk away, that I do stay focused (even when it seems impossible–even when that means taking a break) and that I don’t rush it. The ups and downs and backs and forths are tiring. And although I have been going back and forth for a year now with this process, somehow it feels more overwhelming than it ever has. I’m trying to convince myself it’s because this is the Final Draft and therefore, MUST be right. Either way, it isn’t a rush job and like I’ve said before, I’d rather be slow and right, than fast and wrong. So…I’ll be taking a break.