carrying on: pet project angst, entry #1

Screen Shot 2016-08-10 at 2.38.29 PMPictured: my one and only writing buddy. What would I do without you?

I’ve been writing this novel on and off for the last three years, and I’m very close to being done with the first complete draft. On different occasions, I’ve gotten halfway or 3/4 of the way through it, only to stop, change everything, and start again. (Whether or not I count those rewrites as “drafts” changes day to day, depending on my mood.)

Now that I’m here, I’m plagued by the same doubts other writers face: What if it’s not good enough? What if the problems and plot holes are unfixable? How do I turn the vision in my head into a reality on paper, especially when the draft I’ve produced looks so very different from the story I want it to be?

Of course, there’s no answering any of those questions. The only thing to do is carry on writing. Settle in for a long revision process. Piece by piece, transform this messy draft into the story I know it can be.

I’ve invested so much into these characters and this setting. It’s not even that I can’t let go of the project – it’s that I don’t want to. I want to tell this story.

(I do wish I was one of those writers who could work on multiple projects at once, though. Who needs talent or popularity? If you’re prolific, there’s a big chance you’ll improve and you’ll find an audience. Can’t achieve either of those things if you have no completed work.)

So here are my goals: An Absolutely-Must-Do List, to complete by the end of August.

  1. Stop talking about “almost” being done with the draft, and finish it. You’re starting grad school soon. You have no time to waste.
  2. Those two short stories you’ve completed? Polish them off, make those small edits you still want to make, and submit them to some online lit mags for publication. Even if they don’t get published, you need to get into the habit of submitting.
  3. Complete a third short story.

Holding myself accountable and putting my goals out there on a public platform tends to motivate me. Let’s see if this works.

Fellow writers, feel free to add your input. How do you get things finished? Everyone has their tips and their methods. What works for you? What are the hardest and easiest things about knocking out those last two or three chapters?

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