Let’s Be Honest

18 Jun

I’ve done it yet again: I’ve fallen into a slump with my novel, TEROH. (Thank God I’m not a career novelist!)

Can I be honest? I’m not a very consistent person. Except at work. Though, when I’m not at work—that is, getting paid for said work—I have a totally different mindset about, well, everything: if it’s not work then it’s basically leisure.

I know, that’s not how real life works (chores, bills and the like), but my brain forever has a hard time accepting that.

Anyway, out of my three big goals for this year, finishing TEROH is the one I’ve yet to cross off the list. (Okay, technically I haven’t started writing the second book yet. Though realistically, I should have set the goal as “start outlining and otherwise conceptualizing the remaining books in the series,” which I’ve done.) Every time I take a break and look back at what I’ve accomplished, I only see how much I’ve left to do. And when I think of the effort it took to get to where I am now, it saps the energy right out of me.

I have tunnel vision when I’m set on something, too, so I get really intense when I do work on my novel. It’s like the only thing I work on (outside of work). Worse, when I’m not in “work” mode, I’m as scatterbrained as they come.

What I’m saying is I don’t know how not to operate at 100% in any one mode, resulting in a spectacular crash-and-burn followed by a complete standstill on certain projects.

So, what have you been doing instead of writing, Tiyana?

Working on my house, apparently.

 

I have a lot of interests outside of writing, so when one thing stumps/overwhelms/bores me I’ll just hop onto something else. Thing is I really don’t want to get to the end of 2017 and not be able to say, “Hey guys, it only took me 10 years, not 11!” (This is not an exaggeration.)

This may be hard to believe, but I do just want to be done with this novel. I also know what will be required of me to get it to its best and it’s still a decent amount of work—less than I’ve had to do in the past but enough to psyche me out every now and then. (Hence the prolonged periods of nothingness.) Up to this point, I’ve been reading the whole thing aloud, but I actually find it effective to do a mixture of things:

  1. First, do a quick read-through of a scene to see if anything glaring sticks out then fix what I need to.
  2. Next, read the scene aloud and edit whatever else jumps out at me.
  3. Third, at a later date, read back through my changes and assess whether things still sit well with me. (Since I’ve divided the novel into five parts, I find it helpful to go back a do a quick re-read of that entire section as a whole once I’ve finished editing all the scenes in it.)

Doing this, I find, helps me finesse over errors that can happen in the middle of editing and makes me feel good about moving on—for good! Something I’ve been able to do with Parts I and II, thankfully. (I’m two super short scenes shy of finishing Part III. I’ve just been putting it off for reasons I don’t entirely understand.)

This is all fine and well, but when do you plan on finishing edits on TEROH?

Honestly, I have no idea how/when I’m going to kick myself into finishing the rest of my edits right now. I just know the goal was to get it done before the end of the year. So instead of pushing myself into these intense sessions where I’m working on it all day during my free time to make insane levels of progress, maybe I should just pace myself a bit slower and take more time.

It’s not like I haven’t taken enough time already.

(Edit: when I say “take more time,” I mean “take more time actively editing” and not “more time doing nothing.”)

How do you get yourself back out of a writing/editing rut?

Oh, yeah—and on a totally unrelated note, Happy Father’s Day to all you dads out there!

Also, is it just me or has WordPress been annoyingly buggy lately? I mean I go to type something then come back later and it’s like I never typed it!

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3 Responses to “Let’s Be Honest”

  1. Wrytar84 June 21, 2017 at 12:47 AM #

    I can’t say anything about editing, because the longest ‘book’ I ever really had to edit only had 200 pages.
    But two or three years ago, I had a similar problem. It was almost always ‘all or nothing’, really productive periods of writing followed by a (long) time of exhaustion. Now I try to do something every day, even if it’s only very little. But I see it this way: Every line I write, every concept sketch I do, every page I edit is one step forward. You could say I rather look at the ground in front of my feet than at my destination somewhere at the horizon.
    I can’t say if I really get more work done with this method, but I sure feel better. And it took me a lot of time after a long break to get into my stride again.
    I also never had writer’s block again since then. If I don’t feel good, I’m writing crap. I know I’m writing crap, but crap is way better than nothing, because I can always come back and turn it into something better.

    Liked by 1 person

    • T.M. White June 21, 2017 at 6:04 PM #

      That’s great! I’ve always felt like I wasn’t making very much progress doing a little bit each day (or not as much as I’d like), but I suppose I could give it another try. I’m such a “big picture” person that it’s hard not to look “at the horizon,” as you say. But hey, something’s better than long stretches of nothing.

      Like

      • Wrytar84 June 23, 2017 at 3:39 PM #

        It’s definitely not for everybody. A friend of mine can’t work this way. As she puts it, she really needs to ‘get into it’, and she says that’s impossible with only an hour here and another hour there. But I hope it works for you as it does for me!

        Liked by 1 person

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