Sunday, November 21, 2010

At A Loss

I don't know how it is for other writers, but I have a tendency to hit dry spells. Not necessarily writer's block more like a lack of enthusiasm for my projects, periods of total stifling lung-seizing doubt. The thoughts that go through my head are this is awful. who would want to read this? What the hell could I have been thinking?
Well the easiest answer is that I had to put words on the page. The biggest drawback to being a panster, someone who doesn't plan a novel but just sits down to write, is that you delete great quantities of writing before you get it right.

I thought I had it licked this time, with my Nano novel. I wrote the synopsis ahead of time, got to know my characters, what the valued and what they wanted, what was standing in their way. I was all set, ready to write another great Lusha erotic.

Not gonna happen. Unlike Saranna and Liane who have incredibly awesome drafts of stories they love, I hate mine, really don't even want to waste my time combing through it to see if it's fixable.

I sit here now, at day twenty one of national novel writing month with forty one thousand some odd words of unadulterated crap. It has it's moments, but overall, it sucks. So now comes decision time.

Where do I go from here?

On the one hand, I could quit, just delete everything and focus on something else. The upside of that is having a fresh start, clean slate so to speak. At least theoretically. The stank of failure tends to follow me well after I put away a project. I could kid myself and think, well, I might want to fix it later...

Yeah, right. I've already done that with one project this year, almost 65 K in. Which brings my total of unpublishable productivity to over 100,000 words for 2010. That of course does not include the words I actually did delete in these and other projects, query letters, synopsis and all the other behind the scenes writing that the average reader never views.

The other choice is to plod onward, hope something happens that makes me love this beast again. But that has the potential to turn into a soul sucking kind of depressing, because if the magic doesn't come back, I not only doubt the story, but I might start questioning my ability to write in general. The cancer spreads from an isolated easily removable segment to a career threatening sense of doubt. A writer who doesn't believe in his or her ability has no place in professional publishing.

So what to do? Which risk is bigger? Are there any other options that I'm too entrenched in my own little misery box to see? What would you do?


  1. I do the same thing. I set that project aside, and work on something else, while thinking about the other in the background.

    Often, ideas will come for that stuttering project while I'm working on the other one.

  2. First of all *hugs*

    Screw the word count. Stop thinking about "unpublishable productivity" nothing kills a muse faster than smacking it with the banality dick.

    I love No Limits, but if it's not speaking to you, put it aside. My unpublishable productivity for the year is pretty high too. I think I've deleted that much from books this last year. I don't know, I haven't been keeping track.

    Remember all the shit I was sending you that I kept deleting?

    If the words aren't working, there's no point in keeping them. Give them a viking funeral, have a bottle of Rosa and start something new.

    And dude, if you ever question your writing ability, you're questioning the faith I have in you. Question the project, the price of tea in outer Mongolia, but never ever question your ability to produce a story that people want to read. I know I'm not the only one who loves every stroke of your keyboard.