I’m at the midway point in my novel, that cursed place where I hate what I’m writing and I’m convinced it’s complete crap. But I’ve been here before, many times. I need to keep going and get it done. Most of the time, I look back and realize it wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought it was. It’s usually pretty good. And if it’s not…well…that’s what revisions are for.
I struggle to finish. Not just novels, but all kinds of projects. To my left, on the sewing table, are the pieces of an unfinished quilt. It’s a small quilt for my daughter, and won’t take a huge amount of work, but still it sits there, undone. Scattered around the house are various crochet projects I began and never finished. I want to join them all in one big patchwork using black yarn…sort of a monument to unfinished projects. In my defense, you’ll also see a number of small quilts and crochet projects around the house that I did finish. You’ll find the same thing on my laptop and Dropbox. A lot of finished projects, hoping to be published. There’s also a lot of stories ‘on the shelf’ waiting to be finished or revamped.
I come by this struggle naturally. As a child, I knew that if my father took one of my broken toys and said “I’ll fix this” that I would never see it again. Or I would…if I visited his workshop in the basement and saw it gathering dust on the shelf. My father freely admits that his unfinished work has always been a problem. It almost ended his college career, (he did finish…and worked as an electrical engineer until his retirement.) If he runs into a tiny problem with a project, off to the shelf it goes. He doesn’t solve the problem…he just gives up. When my parents moved from Colorado to Vermont in 1990, we found dozens of cut-out but not sewn-together clothes that would have fit my sister and I throughout our childhoods. We also had many outfits that my mother sewed with love and skill, but she also didn’t finish everything she started.
Although I try hard not to do this, not to give up, the unfinished projects around me bear witness otherwise. I avoid excuses, although my brain is full of them. Yes…I could have finished any of these if that’s where I had put my energy. My energy went elsewhere, and not always to a good place.
I’m pushing through. I think The Red War will be on the long side, probably over 100k words. Whereas I break most of the Kingdom Come stories into sets of multiple novels, this one stands alone. Of the eight people in the relationship, only four get a POV. I’m working at keeping the story moving without dwelling on what happened with all four (or all eight) while the POV character was doing something interesting.
My ROW80 goals for the week? Weird. This blog post is the only writing I did today. The chart alternated between no progress and great progress. Good days and bad. I will finish this novel, within the next month or two. I need to do that not only for the practical aspect of being able to move on to edits and eventual publication, but also for my own satisfaction of knowing that, even though I encounter setbacks, I will finish the projects I decide to put my energy into.
That quilt, though? I make no guarantees.
Pics next week, one way or the other.