So after a very long dry spell in which I spent the majority of my time editing, reading and reviewing other people’s books, I’ve recently returned to a novel I started over the summer. I wrote about 17,000 words — roughly 50 pages — before hitting a wall with the plot. It didn’t take long for me to back away and find something else to do . . . anything else to do, really. Like reading books. And making stuff. And cleaning. And blogging. And getting all excited over a boy I met this fall — before just trying to forget that boy.
But now? It’s December. I think I’ve had plenty of time to enjoy holiday preparation, read, shop, make things and, oh, live outside the confines of one single Word document. So the moment to return to a vast and terrifying world of my creation had come; it was time to get back to that novel.
The only trouble there? I was terrified.
When I started work on this story several months ago, I felt I’d hit a stride — and was finally writing in my own “voice” and fleshing out a unique story only I could tell. It was fiction, sure, but my own little brand of fiction! I’m sure that’s arrogant and ridiculous. And maybe all writers feel that way. (Do they? I don’t know.) Basically, I didn’t think my story sucked. Was it going to win a Pulitzer? Probably not. And especially not if I only had fifty pages written. But it was a start.
Pulling up that document a few days ago was stomach-pain-inducing. Through my NaNoWriMo troubles this year, I kept reminding myself that I did have something on the backburner — I couldn’t be too mad at myself because I did start a new novel this year and, with any luck, it wouldn’t be terrible. I can still call myself a writer because I do write, and I have written something in 2009!
And I would finish it, bringing the grand total of My Life’s Important Body Of Work to four novels and a fat portfolio of random, mostly lovesick poetry.
If my book on the backburner — this project I thought could be The Project, see — turned out to be drivel, I’d be back to that insecure, terrible beginning: trying to find a healthy, viable plot. And that can be kind of a scary place to be. And by “kind of,” I mean really, really scary.
So imagine the general bolstering of my spirits when I clicked open the book — creatively titled “Movie1.doc,” as part of the plot revolves around the writing of this “very important” screenplay — and read ten pages. And laughed. And then read ten more — and smiled. And then read the remaining thirty pages or so and immediately began writing, shoving right past the creative wall I’d struck headfirst before to push the story forward by miles. I can already spot some plot holes and definitely need to deal with a switching-to-present-tense in the middle of the story issue (you know, um, minor things like that), but overall? I’m liking this — genuinely liking it.
And instead of just worrying about the story “going somewhere,” I’m going to make it go somewhere — without the endless drama and excuses on my part. Writers write, and I am a writer. December is my month; 2010 will be my year. Posting this is a way of forcing my own hand — of publicly stating this serious promise to myself. And it’s one promise I will definitely be keeping.