I didn’t forget. I’d never forget about you, dear blog. At least not yet.
I’ve spent the last two weeks fighting to get editing and re-writes done on my novel. It’s a weird process. I’ve gone from “I made a thing” to “This thing needs a lot of work, let’s get started” to “I’m not sure if this is worth continuing to work on. You read it and tell me, please” over three separate drafts since November. My first two readers have now responded, and it’s in the hands of five more right now (six if you count Shaun). There’s a few places I can still identify, even myself, as problems, but that’s part of the process-fixing. Fuck it, that is the process.
These next readers might determine the future for the book. As of right now, I’m still not sure whether or not it’s worth devoting my time to. It’s my first novel, I didn’t expect it to be good, so it’s not going to break me to pack it away and leave it alone for…well, ever, plus I have a couple more outlined and ready to be written. My biggest struggle is with the tone of the novel. I made a decision to make the language and dialogue fairly anachronistic (I think because if I’d stuck with what fit the society/culture, I would have felt like a douchecanoe and frankly, it wasn’t as interesting to me), but two people have told me that it kills the story for them. It feels weird, but I don’t know if I want to fix that problem. And that might spell out the death of the novel.
It’s very conflicting and nerve wracking. I’ve sent these 57K words out to people, my baby, my only finished book, full well knowing it could be entirely shitty. In fact, expecting it to be shitty. Every person that volunteered to read it I told, “Hey, it’s probably no good” and they wanted to anyway. That means I have the coolest friends ever, but I’m all nerves.
I worry the most because it’s hard to tell somebody they are bad at something. When a friend or family member struggles to do something because they love it, being honest with them about how much they are not meant to do that thing is so difficult that we don’t do it. But eventually, a person grows tired of reading/listening to/watching somebody else’s bad performance and starts begging off from experiencing it again. Hopefully, since I’ve explicitly stated that they have to tell me if its bad, that’ll help, but I still worry that I won’t get the full review if they hate it.
So that’s where my brain’s been, running mental sprints and keeping me up at night. Saturday morning I called it quits and started printing copies and beyond the constant panic…it stopped. I stopped thinking. I knew I hadn’t posted Saturday night, and Sunday night, and last night, but my brain had nothing to give. There were no topics to be explored or jokes to be told. My brain was so tired after doing nothing but work, parent and edit that novel for two weeks (or, try to edit it…kids, ya know?) that it shut down in the creative arena. Despite having the next novel on the edge of my brain and multiple short stories ready to go, I could do no more than stare at cat pictures on the internet for the last few days.
But I’m feeling it again today. There’s stories that need to get the fuck out of my head already so as long as I don’t wind up 6 hours from home on work, I should have my butt back in the chair tonight.
If I want to do this, even if that novel is bad, I need to keep writing. I’ve learned so much already just from editing my own work and talking to others about it, and I can’t get better unless I keep trying. In the words of Chuck Wendig, writers write. I need to get back to that.