Let me explain.
No. First, let me warn you… this one is going to sound like a big load of “jeez, you big ol’ baby” whining. If you’re not in the mood for that, stop reading now. The only reason I’m even bothering to put this out there is that I long ago said I was going to write about my trials and tribulations as a writer. I think this qualifies.
So here we go.
More than likely, at some point or another, every writer will deal with this frustration. I’m calling it a WIP funk. It’s not the same as imposter syndrome. This is more project specific. It’s a complete dissatisfaction with the work in progress… a conviction that the project is off the rails, and for the life of you, you just can’t figure out how to get the thing back on track.
You see, Year 12 has come grinding to a halt for me. I mentioned a few weeks back that I had re-read it during a restructuring, and that I actually liked the first half. That holds true. In fact, I like the first three-quarters of it.
And I like the ending I have planned. Yes, I know how the story ends, and I’m good with that, too. But the pacing requires a major conflict for the climax of the story, or the ending has no impact. It just falls flat. That’s where I am. A good first 75% of the book, a good ending, and a big lump of “meh” in between. I’ve written myself into a corner because the conflict that I’ve currently written in simply doesn’t do it for me.
Worse news is that I don’t know what to do about it. I know I’m not unique with this problem. I’ve heard plenty of podcasts where writers talk about similar issues. But this is SO frustrating… to be so close to the end of the book, but unable to get there. And I can feel it eating at my confidence. I begin to question whether or not I really have what it takes to be a writer.
But that way lies failure, and I won’t allow that. So I’ve set Y12 aside for the moment. I haven’t stopped writing. I’ve just closed the file for now, and am back to work on Chucklers. I’ve had three people now who have asked me about it, all out of the blue. I’ll take that as a sign.
After all, what else do you do when a WIP gets away from you and you can’t find any way out of the corner you’ve written yourself into? You take a deep breath, put the source of your frustration aside (with the knowledge that it’s only temporary), and pick another project up.
The goal is to keep writing… keep publishing… keep moving forward on multiple fronts. It’s all progress.
On a brighter note, you remember that brainstorming session I mentioned last week? Well it happened, and it was a great experience. I got to spend a couple of hours with Dave Robison, Nicholas “Nick” Fife, and Jeanne Cavelos. Dave is the host of The Roundtable Podcast, Nick was his guest host, and Jeanne Cavelos is a writer, astrophysicist, editor, and founder of the Odyssey Writers Workshop.
It comes out next Tuesday, March 15, on The Roundtable Podcast. Take a listen if you’re so inclined.
And that’s it. Take care, stay safe, and I’ll talk to you next time.