I am beyond upset right now. The thing people don’t talk about enough is how hard it can be to get back into writing after taking too long of a break. This is why so many told me to keep writing over the last few years. Whether it was a blog, or making notes on my novel, or even setting aside my “passion project” and writing something “more simple”. Not that I’m trying to discredit any kind of writing. Writing is hard. There are so many people on the outside that think “what are you complaining about? Don’t you just sit in front of your computer and make things up?” Yeah, sure, ok. I don’t even have the energy to argue with people like that. I guess I kind of get it in a weird small way though.
When I made the decision to get back to work on my novel I was stoked. I felt that electric energy pulsing through my body, pushing me closer to my laptop. I found myself almost daydreaming about when I would put the kids to bed, open up my writing software and begin to hammer away on the keyboard as if it was just yesterday that the story was fresh in my mind. But in reality, I opened up the document and just kind of stared at it. Where had I even left off? I knew my first step was to reread through everything. Which of course I did. And then I started seeing mistakes and things I needed to change. And then I opened up the draft that had my editing notes on it and made a few more. It was easy enough to see the flaws in what I had already written. I knew, or rather know, that the best way to get through your first draft is to just keep writing.
Dory’s horribly catchy perseverance song aside, the more I looked at what I wrote, the more I kind of felt like Dory. It was getting to the point where I couldn’t even remember where I was heading. There are actually large sections of my story I honestly don’t remember writing at all. (Probably due to pulling all nighters and then going through not one but two pregnancies) It started to terrify me that maybe my story was gone, gone for good. This thought still haunts me every time I look at book.
I decided to try and rework the beginning of the story. I feel like I just kind of jumped into it at a weird spot. I actually ended up taking the first part of my original story and pretty much keeping it the exact same as my 11th grade paper, I put it as a prologue for the full length book. I felt like this would be a good way to tie them together. A way of staying true to the story even though now I will diving so much deeper than I would have ever imagined. And since I was only in the 11th grade when I wrote the short story, it had originally been meant for a younger audience. Maybe not quite a kids book (although I had considered writing a kid’s story). Now I’m looking at not only writing for adults but also expanding so much on the story that I could possibly have 3 books based in Aria. But of course, the voice of self doubt is telling me I’m being overly ambitious.
I had my mother in law read the first 6 chapters and give me her honest opinion. She actually really liked it which was at least a temporary confidence boost. But she was the first one to cast a little doubt on where I am starting the story. I guess my original thought was that I would write this book and if it did well, if people showed interest in the rest of the story, I could always write a pequeal. I’ve seen a number of authors who end up writing out of order. But knowing that there is so much of the story that could be told before my prologue, I at least needed to attempt a different starting point.
Do you have any idea how hard that is??? I mean…the other writer’s here do. And the avid readers do too. I feel like the first and last sentences could make or break a novel. I used to always read the first and last sentences of books before buying them. Mostly, one sentence isn’t going to give away the entire book. Even if it’s something like “They all lived happily ever after.” or “And they all died.” Both of those final sentences would at least build some intrigue right? I wish I could remember some of the final sentences that made me think “Meh, that’s not the book for me.” But I’m weird. I think I’m probably the only person on the planet that does that. I do however know plenty of people who have given up on a book in the first chapter and it all starts with that first sentence. Or I guess I’ll give it a paragraph.
Now I’m stressing myself out again.
Part of me thinks I should just keep it as it is and try to pick up where I left off. Just keep writing and keeping Hemingway’s wisdom fresh in my mind. “The first draft of anything is shit.” Or I could skip to a different part of the story and work from there. Wherever my imagination leads me. Or I could just keep obsessing over the rework of the beginning of the book and hope that something sparks that great idea buried deep down inside.
Or I could just keep wasteing time writing in this blog and not on my story…
Any words of wisdom? Anyone? Someone save me from myself.