I began writing my fourth book recently. It sounds like a great accomplishment, but I must admit, only two out of those finished three have real merit. The first was a “practice” novel, I think. So, when I began the fourth, I felt like I had this.
It Began With an Idea
I started with what I thought was a great idea, two fairly filled-out characters with lots of flaws and interesting voices, and a plan as to where I wanted this book to go. And then I just stopped hearing the story. Sure, I’d written four chapters, gone back and edited those chapters until they were sparkling, and started chapter five. (Chapter 5! Yay! I’m on Chapter five!)
And then it all fell apart…
I got cold feet. I started comparing my work with other writers. I started comparing it with my own first novels. I listened to the voice and couldn’t…get…….it…….to……….come………….out………………anymore. I’d lost the one thing that was keeping the novel going—-my confidence.
What happens when you begin writing and you can’t keep it going? Is it the ever-talked-about muse taking a holiday? Is it lack of confidence? Too much confidence? I don’t know the answer to that, but I decided to put the book away. For now. Maybe I’ll come back to it after a few months and find it absolutely stunning. (Ha! Probably not, but I can still dream, right?) Maybe I’ll come back to it and realize I was right to put it away. Maybe I’ll never open the file again.
And then I came across this quote:
“I wrote a book” became “I write books.” For me, it’s an important distinction. I love writing books. I want to write many more. With each one I draft, I might flounder and fumble, but somehow they keep getting written. I see them on my bookshelf, sometimes in bookstores, and it makes me proud. The act of having written books has become self-perpetuating. I want to make more. I want to explore new characters and storylines. I want to suffer through more middle acts and chapter endings and transitions, and somehow, eventually, after floating in freezing cold water for an ever night with shrapnel in my heart, figure it out. – Veronica Rossi
Exactly! I want to have this tattooed across my hands so I can read it everytime I sit at the computer to write. (Okay, not really, I’m a bit of a guppy guts and those needles scare the heck outta me.) But you get the idea. THIS is why I opened up another fresh Word document and began again. Something new, new people to meet, new situations to put them in, new struggles. This time, I’m going to enjoy it, not be freaked out by it.
And so begins Novel # 4.2
Have you ever put something away so early because you lost your writing mojo? If so, what happened? Ever pick it up again? Was the replacement work even better? I’d love to hear from you about it!