Once upon a time, I used to love writing.
Before I decided to wander down the path towards publication, I used to write simply for the love of writing. For the love of crafting new worlds, listening to new characters whisper to me in my dreams, and cramming as much witter banter onto a page as possible. Once upon a time, I used to be able to draft a novel in a month. Sure those drafts were always awful, full of plot holes and typos and terrible character development, but those drafts were finished and I loved them because they were always the unaltered expression of what I originally thought my novel might be.
It’s been years since that happened.
When I started working on drafts of THE BEST IS YET TO COME and THE INVINCIBLE PENNY LANE I started thinking about trying to get published. Those stories felt right, and years down the line they still do, but in a much more complicated way. One I entered into the tricky world of edits, it felt like I became consumed with the idea of perfection, of making my manuscripts flawless.
Slowly but surely I lost my love of writing.
For the past eighteen months, I have struggled to draft anything. I’ve found it increasingly difficult to immerse myself in an idea, to simply fall in love with my story. I mean, I still loved the ideas, the essence of the story, but I wasn’t in love with writing anymore. Writing had somehow become a chore, a second job. Which is not how I want to see writing right now, considering that I currently work 40 hours a week and travel another 20. Instead of being something I used to relax in the evening, it became something I dreaded but felt obliged to do. And that’s not right.
So, after a really hard and stressful couple of weeks, a lot of thinking and a lot of chatting with my lovely writer friends Cole, Jessi, and Nickey, I’ve decided to take a step from some of my novels. PENNY isn’t quite ready to query yet, and I’m still waiting on feedback for THE BEST IS YET TO COME. And right now, my heart isn’t really in EuropeBook. As far as I see it, I have all the time in the world to perfect these novels and that will be a lot easier when I’m actually enjoying what I’m doing.
For now I want to focus on falling back in love with writing.
Saying that I started a new draft on Monday, which simply title THE FANTASY for now. It’s basically FINAL FANTASY mixed with MAD MAX and I’m actually enjoying it. In one week I’ve written 5K, which is something I’ve struggled to do in a long time. Sure, these words are one big rambling mess right now, but you know what, I don’t care. I’m really enjoying the freedom that this story is giving me right no. I’m working really hard to block out my pesky inner editor by blasting the FINAL FANTASY VII soundtrack and pushing forward with the aid of copious amounts of chocolate.
There’s a couple of pieces of advice I’ve been taking as well. The first comes from NaNoWriMo and it’s something I always struggle with: Don’t delete anything. *GASP* I know I know, but who knows what gem might be lurking in all that rambling? Keep everything in until the edits, when I know more about the story and what it’s really about. And then next piece of advice comes from the lovely Jessi: Blocking off the internet during writing time (which basically means coming off of Twitter and increasing my productivity by roughly 100%).
I’m hoping all these little things will add up to a draft I’m maddly in love with and will help remind me of why I ever started this crazy journey in the first place.