I made it through the holiday season, which in our case, ends with the kiddo’s birthday. It seems like only yesterday, we brought the kiddo home from the hospital. Now he’s taller than his aunties and almost the same height as me! His feet are the same size as my hubby’s…and the kiddo’s feet are still growing. LOL
I get nostalgic at this time of the year, especially because of the birthday thing. Sometimes my nostalgia twists into something darker and depression kicks in. I did better this year than I have in previous years. More time at home with my family helped a lot. In prior years, I would have been working insane retail holiday hours with very little sleep. This year marks the one-year anniversary away from that life, away from that extreme lifestyle. I’m still working retail, but not NEARLY as many hours as before. It’s been better this way, better for all of us. I don’t think ANYONE has ever looked back on their life and wished they’d spent more hours working as a cog in someone else’s machine.
I finished writing another chapter in the book I’m writing. I’d stumbled to a spot where I felt like I’d written myself into a dead end. I was terribly frustrated. In fact, I was about ready to chuck the entire chapter. Sometimes it’s faster and more productive for me to chuck the parts that are giving me trouble and rewrite, rather than salvage paragraphs that aren’t working. A tough lesson! But…one sentence at a time…and I broke through my writer’s block. Once that happened, the rest of the chapter flowed easily.
Hubby thinks I’m too hard on myself. He feels that I use perfectionism as a way to keep from moving forward as a writer. He’s probably right. It’s easy to write when I’m not worrying over details, but details MATTER. I don’t know how to find the balance between it all. I see writers on Amazon who are wonderfully prolific. They might have 30+ books to their name! Yes, I know there are hacks out there. Some of these writers use ghost writers or their books are terribly plotted. But some of them are writing at lightning speed with quality stuff, and I wonder…how? My wrists hurt just thinking about churning out 6-10 books (or more) a year. I’ve done NaNoWriMo. I couldn’t write at that pace all the time.
If I could just finish ONE book, and write it well enough that I felt it was worth sharing, I’d be happy. It’s taken me years to find my voice, to write something that doesn’t feel like a giant cliche.
My first novel was a cringe-worthy romance. Bad! BAD! BAD! It taught me that romance novels are NOT my genre. Then, I salvaged characters from that first book and rewrote it as a typical vampire story. Not quite as bad as the first book, believe it or not, but not good. Oh no…not good at all! Somewhere in the middle of all this, I got some ideas for some other stories, mostly urban fantasy stuff. Never finished any of them, though. The new characters were fun to work with, but the old ones wouldn’t let me go from my first two books.
I rewrote AGAIN, this time with a new character added, a teenager. That’s when I realized I enjoy writing for a new adult/young adult audience. I did make it all the way through with this concept. But…it felt cliche, like 50 trillion other urban fantasy books written for teenagers and 20-somethings. Did I mention I’m a perfectionist? As far as I’m concerned, there’s enough dribble in the world. I don’t have to contribute to the stink pile.
I stopped writing for awhile after this. I felt like a failure. Yay! I wrote a novel…but it’s craptastic at best. There are chapters that I’ve shared….but not the entire book. It wasn’t right. I’m trying to see it as part of the learning process. Since then, I’ve READ more YA/NA novels, trying to figure out where I went right and where I went wrong.
So…the novel I’m working on is my latest attempt at creating a share-worthy YA/NA story. It’s slower going than my previous attempts, but it’s better. MUCH better. I’m using an outline rather than pantsing the entire thing…a new concept for me. I’m throwing more conflict into my storyline, which in my opinion, makes the plot seem more realistic. And even though I say, “this year is the year I’m publishing my book,” every year, I think I can actually make this happen. I’ve got more experience under my belt. More writing. More reading. I just need more discipline!