This could be an IWSG post. But don't worry! I have an IWSG post already set for next week, and it's a doozy. O_o This isn't just a blog, it's a damn therapy session.
Anyway. The recent issues I've been having with the TAW reworking/rewrite/rrrrrrrrgghhh have me thinking. As anyone who knows me knows, I think too much. My brain never stops until I fall asleep, and it starts again at full speed as soon as I'm awake. And thanks to that, I realize how I'm falling into not one but two patterns with my writing.
The first is one that I'm guessing a lot of writers fall into: I keep trying to find new ways to make the same old stories work. I'm not talking about the idea that there are only a few different plots, I've covered that before. I'm talking about continuously seeking out new spins on stories I've told before and hoping that maybe, just maybe, this time it'll work.
I wrote both urban fantasy and new adult before I really knew what those things were, in a long-running fiction series that took place at a college. It was all kinds of fun, it had no plot, and it was entirely unpublishable. People loved it. Seriously. I didn't think it was possible to post anything on the internet and not get a single negative comment, but I managed it.
I keep trying to find ways to make that story series into an actual novel (or four), and it crashes and burns every time. Sometimes this happens after five or six pages, sometimes this happens when I write the book and hate it by the end, and sometimes this happens in the plotting stages, like what happened this past weekend. After I swore I'd never try to make it work again.
And this isn't the only thing I've tried to find a new way to make work only to have it fail. No matter how many times I tell myself to let these stories go, there's that part of my mind that says "But what if you do it this way?" and I chase that rabbit. Every. Single. Time. And it sucks, it well and truly does, because it makes me feel like I've failed yet again, which does nothing for those particular insecurities. I know that a lot of writers find new ways to write about the things that fascinate them, but this doesn't feel like that. Probably because their stories actually work.
So, to get ridiculously metaphorical, that's one slice of bread on this neurosis sandwich.* The other is the loop I keep finding myself in with regards to books I try to get published. Write something, spend a ton of time editing and polishing it, try to get it published, have no success, find insurmountable flaws with the book that I somehow didn't see before, set it aside or drop it completely, write something else. Lather, rinse, repeat.
I know this is the sort of thing everyone goes through when trying to get published, but for some reason it feels like I ought to be better able to stick with things. I feel like I quit too easily, even when I realize that I've written something that probably shouldn't be published, like the book I wrote a few years ago that topped out at 209,000 words and doesn't really bear further mention. It bothers me that I'm in this cycle and can't seem to get out of it.
I don't think it's that I'm unwilling to take the time to do rewrites and revisions; I once rewrote an entire third of a book to make the major changes necessary. I don't think it's me being too easily defeated; if that was the case, I would have quit a decade ago. I don't know if it's the thrill of the shiny new idea.
Hell, I don't know if this loop is actually a good thing, so I don't spend years and years trying to get a book published that I've lost faith in. I don't generally think quitting is better than being stubborn, but this might be one of the few exceptions.
So, yeah. I'm constantly fighting against these things. And as much as I hate to turn this into me asking for advice again, I've already called this blog a therapy session, so... thoughts?
*For the record, the filling of my neurosis sandwiches is a squishy, gurgling blackness that constantly whispers, "You have already failed" over and over and over. It's tough to choke down, but that's the only way to get it to shut up.