I was sitting in my car on my lunch hour last Wednesday and I couldn’t figure it out. Not only did I not think I could figure it out, I was convinced I would NEVER figure it out.
No, I wasn’t searching for a cure for cancer or even wondering where my next mortgage payment was coming from. My crisis was trying to put my main character’s want into a single sentence. That’s it. Earth shattering, right?
My eyes watered, I started breathing heavy, and finally climbed out of my car to walk it off. This writing thing was supposed to be fun. I’d been devoting hours and hours to it because I was finally admitting to myself it’s what I felt called to do.
And here I was, not working on the third in a series, not posting my NaNoWriMo word accumulation, not shouting on Facebook about my two book deal with Random House (no, Mom, there’s no deal . . . yet). I was struggling to come up with ONE . . . FREAKING . . . SENTENCE.
Here’s what I learned about the novel writing process last week:
- The middle is hard.
- Quitting is not an option.
- You have to welcome ALL feedback and get tougher.
I found some inspiration in Heather Seller’s Chapter After Chapter:
What is really happening is a giant fear attack. you wish you were done—that it was good just like it is. You are scared to look at it again deeply, because you are afraid you’ll find hideous flaws . . . You are afraid you won’t know how to fix these things.
Some people call it writers block. Sometimes we think its our inner critic. Self-doubt. There’s only one thing wrong with any of us and there’s only one antidote.
Fear is the root of all the world’s problems and action is the only cure.
Maybe you’re 3 drafts in (or 4, like me) but have you really torn it apart? Or, are you just smoothing the edges? You just want to be done. But you’re not. You need more versions. It’s what writers do.
Suck it up, buttercup. (That’s me talking to myself . . . and you . . . if you needed that.)