An interview question I frequently use is “Do you ever go through a stage where you hate what you’ve written?”
I’m going through one of those stages now, regarding my Marie Antionette story What Would Have Been. Don’t get me wrong… I still think the story overall is a good idea, and after it goes through the editing rounds (possibly MANY rounds, and at least one re-write) it could be a good novel.
There are a few reasons behind this. First of all, I started it at the same time as I returned to teaching. After discovering that my teaching commitment was taking more time than I realized, I wasn’t able to put as much energy into writing. I’m used to writing several thousand words a week (Between 5k and 10k when I’m in writing mode) and during this time I was reduced to as little as 500 words in a week. I was no longer as “into” the story as I once was. I wasn’t as excited about it anymore.
The second reason is a very good one. A friend has mentioned that she finds my Pangalactic Sojourners series interesting, and her publisher might like to see what I’m able to do with it. So now my writing energy is focused on finishing those stories, or at least the first one.
There’s only a sliver of doubt in my mind about finishing What Would Have Been. I just posted chapter 20, and I think the story is about 2/3 of the way through. That would put it around 30-40 thousand words in the end, which is a novella. Preferably, I could spend a few evenings concentrating on getting the story out, so I have the weekly posts all ready, and I can put all my energy into the Pangalactic Sojourners. Of course, I could abandon it, put it on the shelf indefinitely. But I have issues about leaving things unfinished. Sure, authors have plenty of projects that are shelved…unfinished. But this is one that I’ve put out there. Even though my blog statistics tell me there are only a small handful of people reading it, I don’t want to leave them hanging. Also, for anyone who finds this blog because they’re curious about me and my work, I don’t want them to see that I abandoned a project when it was only 2/3 complete.
So what does a writer do when she hates what she’s written?
She finishes it anyway.
Because one of two things will happen:
- She’ll get the crappy stuff out of her system, or
- She’ll discover that what she once thought was crap was actually a gem in the rough.
The shortlink for this post is http://wp.me/p1qnT4-L7
Definitely true. The last two points sum it all up pretty well. Even if you think you’re writing garbage, you owe it to yourself to finish it. If it’s complete and it’s still garbage? You can still revise and edit. Writers are never perfect.