The Happy Writer

It’s a rollercoaster

Rollercoaster
[ Photo: Rollercoaster by Kristin Nador CC ]
Novels are beastly, unforgiving, things. They eat up weeks and months, and never seem to be done. Sometimes it’s a struggle to get to the end, and I wonder why we writers subject ourselves to such torture. Inspired by Wendig, here’s my version of this insanity.

  1. This is the best idea ever! I have to write this story. Madly brainstorm ideas and not-quite sentences.
  2. Maybe I should do some research before I dive into this. Two weeks, a month, of surfing the internet – It’s productive right? See, I have notes!
  3. Here goes! Lets start writing. (I’m actually utterly terrified, but I’m wearing my cheerful face on the outside).
  4. Wait, maybe I should outline this. + Two weeks of procrastination.
  5. Okay I have some words down. It doesn’t matter if the beginning sucks, I’ll rewrite it anyway… (I’m really starting to get nervous).
  6. I’m officially worried now. I may run out of story soon.
  7. AHHH now what? I’ve hit the vast empty middles. Um um, let me try throwing anything in there. Dragons? Giant squids? Help!
  8. It’s a miracle. I figured out an idea that fixes it all. This novel is brilliant. I am brilliant. Let me hug this shiny new idea.
  9. At least I know how this story ends, but man, it’s taking forever to get there.
  10. This is the worst story ever. I take back what I said. This story is terrible.
  11. Almost there! It’s a race to the end and who cares about grammar any more. I just want to be done.
  12. Can I say I’m done now? Maybe I’ll announce it on my blog, even though I’ve still got a chapter or two to go. Help me, this will never end.
  13. DONE DONE DONE! JOY!
  14. DESPAIR. The novel makes no sense. I bawl into my pillow at night.
  15. Don’t look at the book for months or a year depending on how terrified I am of it.
  16. Bite the bullet and start to think about edits. Edits are easier than writing another novel, right?
  17. Read a little. The story isn’t as bad as I remember…
  18. Read more… okay some parts are as bad as I remember… (Cry on the inside).
  19. Just go for it. Edit.
  20. Edit until RSI flares up.
  21. Take a break because work’s gone nuts and my body hates me. I may fall apart before this is done.
  22. Edit more. Are we there yet? This is taking longer than I wanted it to.
  23. AHHH I just had the idea for another novel, and that idea is shiny and new, and exciting, and brilliant, all the things this novel isn’t…
  24. More edits. Weeping and gnashing of teeth.
  25. Finish edits. Um… I guess its time for beta readers. (Utter terror)

Right now I’m at stage 23. This happens like clockwork. My brain’s already trying to escape this story, but there’s still a good chunk left to go. Madness!

Is it just me, or do you go through this too?

8 Comments

  1. I’ve never had the urge to do research (I do it when I have to, but I get it over with quick), and I’ve never had the urge to outline.

    The rest sound somewhat more familiar, though in my experience the more you write and the longer you keep at it, the easier some things get.

  2. Well… not to the editing of a novel, yet.

    But my writing life: it’s a roller coaster, too, except it’s a kiddie coaster. Topping out at speeds that were thrilling when you were 5. Hill so tall I can just reach the top from the ground while standing on my tippy toes. Or whatever. Not much of a metaphor, I guess, but basically it’s not very fast right now and it’s not taking me anywhere.

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