This year I have done a lot of project jumping. I started the year off with the decision to get the first draft of Saving Tomorrow written. Then I worked my ass off on Mocha Nihilism, only to trunk it when it was almost ready for submission. I moved on to Chasing Ascension, hoping to get the first draft of that finished off quickly after cutting 15,000 words from the original version, which I then ditched to start work on Saving Tomorrow, again…
Yup. A lot of project jumping.
And now I’m ditching Saving Tomorrow, for the second time this year. I don’t have another project in mind. There is no new shiny. No other temptation. There is exhaustion and the inability to push ahead with a long term project.
I tried all the tricks in my book. I broke it down into smaller sections – I wasn’t thinking about a novel. I was thinking about this scene, or that. Getting this chapter sorted. Introducing this character. Exploring that situation…
I set myself small, manageable tasks – 750 words a day.
I allowed myself to suck while writing the first draft. I played with whatever ideas came to me. I pushed through blocks and outlined just the right amount for me.
And yet, I just can’t write this novel. Not right now.
Nothing I have tried has managed to get me past the ‘gosh this is going to take me such a terribly long time’ barrier in my brain. I guess what it comes down to is that I am a somewhat hedonistic writer, and one thing that gives me great pleasure is finishing off a draft. Unfortunately, finishing the draft of one scene, or one chapter, is simply not the same as finishing the first draft of an entire novel. It’s not really ‘done’ unless it’s ALL written.
Right now, I can’t make great progress. Life is so very busy. There are many demands on my time and less time than ever for writing. I could write the novel, but it would take me the better part of a year and I just don’t have the stamina for that right now.
What I can do is write short. I can start and finish short stories because they need so many less words. So much less time invested. That feels good. It keeps me smiling, helps me feel like I am making progress. I can begin and end, and have something to show for it. A ‘finished’ something. Eventually a ‘published’ something.
I can also write medium. I’ve proven to myself this year that I can do novellas. I can write them. I can revise them. I can edit them. They are not too hard. Not too big.
I cannot write a novel. Not yet.
So while it feels kind of shitty and lame to put Saving Tomorrow aside, again, it’s really my only option at this point. Setting it aside means that I will still want to write it. I will still love it and have drive for it when I do get the energy/time/head space to throw myself into a novel. (maybe next year, when my middle child starts a couple mornings of pre school a week – maybe when she finally learns to sleep through the night, which please god, can’t be too far off, surely).
Because right now, I feel like I am bashing my head against a wall. I don’t want to write. I feel uninspired and dragged down, and like I’m failing at something I should be able to do. And that’s not good for me, for my creativity, or for my novel.
So, now it’s official. No novel for me. Not this month. Not next. Probably not this year.
BUT, plenty of short stories to complete, new ideas to be had, and hopefully a return to gaining some pleasure from my writing. It’s been an exhausting month for reasons I simply can’t go into here, so I am going to go easy on myself for now.
Let’s see what happens 🙂