Writing Process

…and it feels terrifying. I was supposed to spend the day making my revision notes for the next draft of book 3. The idea of diving back into this project has sort of been…haunting me to say the least. I haven’t looked at it since April 5th and that was seven weeks ago. In that time I finished writing the first draft of book 4 and did another line edit of Orphans of Paradise. The first was a nice distraction. I flew through that manuscript and had so much fun writing it. But then I got back to Orphans of Paradise last week and everything sort of fell apart.

I hadn’t read the story in two months and in the meantime I’d been working on two, totally new projects. I’d been writing every day, more than I ever had, and I just hit this growth spurt as a writer that sort of came out of nowhere. So when I read over book 2 I didn’t just read it with fresh eyes, but new ones. I’m a different writer than I was in February and even though it may not seem like a lot of time has passed since then I’ve changed so much.

On the plus side, that’s the ultimate goal, right? I’m growing, getting better, and I couldn’t be happier about the new direction I’m heading in. But on the flip side, I found so many issues with Orphans of Paradise. Not the story or the plot, but my style. It’s evolved since then. It’s more streamlined, more coherent. And that’s something you can’t just change about a book overnight. So I still have a lot of work to do. More work than I thought I’d have to do so close to the expected publication date.

And while I should be glad that I found these problems now rather than later, I have all of these new trepidations about re-reading book 3. Because what if it’s really terrible? What if I hate it? What if there is not one sentence worth salvaging?

I know I’m being a little over-dramatic. But I am honestly terrified. Hence this blog—just another way of stalling. Anyone out there ever experienced this? How do you keep up your moral when you have a revelation like this over a manuscript you’ve been laboring over for almost a year? And how can you tell when your work is truly ready? Or will you always look back on something you wrote previously and be a little dissatisfied?


13 thoughts on “Reunited

  1. Been there, done that, bought the t-shirt. My writing improves in fits and bursts and it’s annoying to read over one manuscript and go “this is shit” and know that I’ll have to hit the rewriting block again.

    I tell myself that this decision of mine to start the rewriting process all over again is necessary. That it’ll make for a stronger set of books, that it’ll improve the Trilogy and make it that much more amazing. My only hope is to know when I should let go a little and stop constantly wanting to fix it. That’s why I’m taking my time, this go ’round.

    1. I’m waiting for that same feeling–just some kind of hint, a light nudge letting me know that it’s done and that I can finally let it go. Hopefully it will come but in the meantime I guess I’ll just keep driving myself crazy with these endless revisions.

  2. I can totally appreciate your trepidation. I understand why some authors take 5, 7, even 10 years to complete a novel. The more we write (and re-write), the more we improve and want to perfect our work.

    Keep plugging away.

    1. Exactly! I completely understand how writers can get stuck in this vicious cycle. But the problem is that as long as we keep writing, we’ll always be getting better. There is no peak, only one long, arduous climb. So we have to learn when to let go or else we will be spending decades on one single project, which is not only counter-productive but insane.

  3. Yep, I hear you. Just about doing the same with my work-in-progress right now. Decided to leave it alone for a while, but I couldn’t stay away from it for too long. And I too have been laboring with this for more than a year. All I can tell you is that there’s a story in there that’s waiting to be told, and only you can tell it. So tell it.

    1. I did the same with mine but I’m wondering if I may have left it alone for too long. When I got back to it I felt really disconnected from the piece which will only make revisions harder. I’m still working out my writing process but the problem is I’m growing and changing faster than I can keep up haha. I’ve been writing every day for the past year and have evolved so much in that short time that it almost feels like starting over sometimes. I’m just going to try and trust my instincts to let me know when this project is ready to be abandoned, since waiting on perfection will only drive me mad.

  4. Hey Laekan!
    I’m leaving you a link that just fills up my soul. It’s a great companion to the feelings you’re describing (which I have all the time as well.) Let me know what you think.

    1. Thank you so much for sharing this! I’ve actually read a lot of excerpts from her Ted talk but haven’t gotten a chance to watch the whole thing yet. What I do love about her advice is that we should treat our artistic endeavors as a spiritual calling–for some reason that gives me a lot of reassurance that even when it’s not perfect, I’m still doing something worthwhile and that my gifts actually mean something and can be used to make the world a better place. Thanks for the reminder!

  5. I always have multiple projects going at once. Then when I get burned out on one, I can switch to the other, when I need to take a break before editing, I have something else to do, and it helps me not become obsessed with making little edits, and thus refusing to close the door on a project.

    Also, there’s an internet meme going around, a major award if you will, and I’ve nominated you for it. Congratulations?

    1. I do the same thing but lately spending time on other projects has resulted in this sudden growth spurt that I really wasn’t prepared for. So while it’s usually a good thing, I’m wondering how much time is too much time to stay away from a project, especially when you start to feel disconnected from the story as a whole.

  6. I can relate to this. I’ve noticed my writing constantly evolving and I don’t know if we ever get to a point where we can say, “yes, it’s perfect!” because we continue to change in our writing. There must be a ‘good enough’ point, but I’m not sure how we know we’ve reached it. Maybe you’ll just know and there’s not a better explanation! Good luck on the edits 🙂

    1. Thanks! I’m hoping it’ll just come to me. But one thing I think I have figured out is maybe I’m spending too much time away from each project. I usually have multiple things in various stages and will swap them out between edits but there seems to be a threshold on the amount of time I should spend away from something before I start to feel too disconnected.

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