So, last night, I finished the book I'd been working on. Even at the end, I was filled with ambivalence. I lost my passion for this thing somewhere along the way, only got it back at a few brief times, and was mostly cranking through it to get it done so I could move on to something else. I wasn't sure if I'd ever go back and see it if was worth polishing. And then, earlier today, something strange happened: I was telling a co-worker that I'd finished it, and she said she wanted to read it.
Just that. Just knowing someone actually wants to read this thing changed how I feel about it. I went from being pretty damn sure it wasn't worth going back to, sure I was going to leave behind writing in the real world because everything I've written there has gone poorly, to going through ideas in my head of how to fix the stupid thing. Just because someone said they wanted to read it.
Granted, this co-worker mostly wants to read it because I've told her quite a bit about the character who can exist as three of herself and goes around with six arms, but still.
Right now, it's really hard for me to say what will or won't happen with this book. I've learned that I can't speed through the writing process. I averaged 3200 words a night, and that made the whole thing come out in an unfortunate rush. Why I was writing so fast, I don't know; maybe just because I could. Of the past five books I've written, Skyborne is the only one I wrote at a more sedate pace and it's the only one I've stuck with. Trying to go that fast, there's no time to pause and reflect, no time to really focus on what's important. There's only moving to the next line, the next paragraph, the next scene. And I can't write like that anymore. I wish it hadn't taken me this long to understand that, but at least now I know for sure.
The changes I'd like to make will mean rewriting a great deal of the book, if not the whole thing. There's a character to remove, another character's power to change, a third character to have appear much earlier, a fourth character's personality to alter,
But I'd forgotten how much it mattered, how good it felt, just to have someone who wants to read the story. Not that I don't have friends who read my stuff, it's just different when someone asks to read it instead of the other way around. ^_^ And it has me thinking:
Someday, if all goes well, I'll make it as a writer. I'll have people eagerly looking forward to my next book. And that, more than anything, will make it easier to keep going. Not money, not fame, not recognition. Just people who want to read what I write. After years of writing things that hardly anyone ever reads, it's hard to ask for more.