Tuesday, February 2, 2016
IWSG: The Cycle and the Break.
I have been here too many times.
This past Sunday, I got back to querying THE BOOK OF LOST RUNES, and as I noted elsewhere, it felt like an exercise in futility. Not because of the usual round of rejections and silence; I'm used to that by now. It felt futile because I can't think of that book anymore without wanting to toss it aside like everything else I've ever written.
I don't get it. I really don't. When I edited that thing, I thought I nailed it. I was happy with most of how it turned out, and put it through some major revisions to make it better. Now? Now I see eighty-four thousand words' worth of flaws and mistakes. I could go on and on about what's wrong with it, but I try to keep these entries at a reasonable length, and so much of what's wrong with it is the same stuff that's wrong with many of my other books.
So here I am, still querying a book I don't even want to think about any more, and strongly considering trunking it. But to what end, I ask myself. To spend another year trying to write something worth a damn? To hope that somehow I figure out something I not only want to tell but to actually manage to get a coherent plot out of it, write the novel, edit and polish it, beg people to read it, wait for their feedback, further edit and polish the thing, and start this whole process all over again?
And it hit me, somewhere in the middle of all this, what the real problem is: I have completely lost faith in my own ability to write.
Trying to write again has only made this more clear. Monday was supposed to be the end of my break. I thought I'd be ready to sit down and work as soon as I got home. No. It was like nothing had changed. I stalled. I did whatever I could to delay. When the time came that I forced myself to get started, I just typed out the notes I'd scribbled down since my break started and added a few more details. Some of that was for a sequel to a book I probably won't ever write, some of it was for another story that's just another cluster of half-formed ideas. Tuesday was no better - I typed out maybe three paragraphs on an idea that already feels doomed before giving it up. I really liked the idea when I first thought of it, but as soon as I started writing stuff down about it, it just... died.
I don't know where to go from here. Clearly taking a break didn't help; if anything, it didn't address the actual problem and probably made things worse, because now I know I can go without writing. I'm a miserable fuck without it, but I'm a miserable fuck with it, so really, what's the difference? Being a miserable fuck still chasing a dream and being no closer to it than I was when I queried my first book back in 2001?
Hell, I didn't even want to write this entry. Talking about it like this feels melodramatic and overblown, and I'm surprised I even have readers here anymore, with all the damn whining I've done. But I had to get this out, because I'm seeing the one thing I've ever wanted to do with my life die inside me, and I don't know what to do.
Next entry: I don't know. I don't even know if there will be one.