So, it’s Monday. It’s grey and windy outside. My husband went back to work today after having some holiday time at home, and I miss him. I’m feeling a bit blech and I don’t really know why.
Oh, yeah – now I remember why. It’s my birthday today. Let the grimacing commence!
I feel old (even though I’m not, really) and completely unmotivated to do any work, as I’m sure most people are on their birthdays – at least, I hope so! I don’t want to be the conspicuously odd-one-out lazybones over here. But I will get myself down to it as soon as this blog post is done. Writing a blog is great on so many levels, but I appreciate it most as a kick-start into the day; once I’ve written my post, I have no excuse not to keep writing. This is what I tell myself, at least!
I do feel like today’s writing is going to be an uphill struggle, though. Don’t get me wrong, I still love my characters, and I’m still having ideas as to how to strengthen and improve the story so as to make it richer, more layered, more enjoyable to read and more interesting, but there’s always that little voice whispering to me, its words pervasive: this isn’t very good, now is it? Who do you think is going to read this, hmm? Well, maybe you can count on your family buying a copy, but they’re not actually going to read it. Come on now, let’s be realistic – given the amount of writers out there, why do you think your work is going to make any sort of impression? And so on, and so on.
I’m not writing in order to be rich, or famous, or to have people harass me for my autograph over the frozen food aisle in the supermarket, or anything like that. If that’s what I wanted, I’d go on one of those sick-making ‘reality’ TV shows that are popping up like warts all over what passes for popular culture these days. I’m writing because it’s been an urge, a compulsion, in my heart ever since I can remember, and despite how hard it is (and it really, truly is hard work) I know I will feel this urge for the rest of my life, and life handed me an opportunity to pursue it for a while, and here I am. So, really, the little inner voice shouldn’t even bother me, and motivation shouldn’t be an issue.
But it is.
I’ve finished draft 2, and today I’m going to start work on draft 3. This means I will, hopefully, have managed to work through one more draft than I’d planned to by the time this book needs to be finished. I had planned to finish draft 2 by the end of November, but I managed it a little bit more quickly than I’d expected. I’m hoping this is because my editing/rewriting skills improved as I went on, and not because I wasn’t doing my job properly as I got closer to the end! I do feel the book is stronger now than it was before, but there are still some scenes I’m not entirely happy with, and which I feel a professional editor, were I to employ one, would tell me to get rid of. But that’s the beauty of drafts – nobody ever needs to see draft 1, draft 2 or even draft 3. Nobody but me ever needs to read the silly, clunky, unrealistic, ridiculous scenes that are currently littering this book, and which (with any luck) by the beginning of January will have been excised. Fingers crossed, with any luck this story of mine will – one day – be published, and all people will read is the polished, practically perfect finished product. In fact, I hope all this effort will culminate in a good piece of work, even if it never comes to publication.
Another problem is that my WiP is very long – longer than guidelines suggest books of its genre should be when you’re trying to find an agent or a publisher. I know this isn’t good, so that’s going to be priority 1 for this next drafting exercise. I think, however, I’m sort of programmed to add, rather than remove, words – I don’t think I’m a good editor of my own work. I’m much better when editing someone else’s writing, probably because there’s no emotional connection there. I’m also not sure I can make the story any shorter – if I cut scenes out, I have a feeling I’ll realise that I’ve lost a vital plot point and they’ll have to be reinstated. Or, I’ll have to rewrite the scenes to include the vital plot point, and I’ll end up creating an even more ridiculous scenario that takes even more words to describe! *Sigh*
Well, I guess there’s nothing for it but to just get started. The kettle’s boiling, and the coffee’s on the way. My lovely husband bought me two brilliant albums for my birthday present – Neil Young’s ‘Psychedelic Pill’ and Jack White’s ‘Blunderbuss’ – so I have some inspirational company as I kick off draft 3.
Wish me luck!