I just finished my first read-through of my second novel, and I need to get my thoughts down. I think I’d also just like to show that this process, this whole journey-thing I’m on is anything but a straight line.
Reading this novel was a roller-coaster. It was the first novel I wrote with zero planning beforehand, since even Saviours of Falharest had been floating around my brain for a couple months before I started it. It shows. Those 176 pages are full of half-baked ideas and characters that act strangely (also some characters that should just straight up not exist). It took a lot out of me to write this way, and reading it over, I’m not sure if it was worth it. There were so many moments during this read-through when I thought “maybe I can’t do this writing thing after all.”
I started glorifying this method by reading and listening to Stephen King. He doesn’t outline, plot, or prepare much before writing his novels. I always thought that was grand, and so damn artistic. “That’s how you make real art,” I thought, “you grab the bull by the horns and just fucking go with it.” Turns out that might not actually work for me. I’ve resisted that notion (still do). Surely, I can’t be a real writer if I outline. Where’s the art in that? (Never mind that thousands of writers do it, and they do just fine). But I bit the bullet. I got Save the Cat Writes a Novel, and plan to grit my teeth through the process of learning to outline. Now I say that, but even now, I’m thinking “I just don’t want to though.” I can be childish.
I think that’s the thing that I forget when I hit a wall. Whenever I don’t reach my writing goal for the day—or revise something that’s not as good as I’d thought—I start to question my abilities. I wonder whether I should keep going or give up. These are not good days. But I’m trying to remind myself that the bad days end, and that eventually I’ll hit a good one again; I’ll blow past my writing goal or read something I’ve written that’s really good. It happens, even with this dumpster fire of a novel I’ve just written. There are just enough good bits that I feel the need to rewrite it, to try and make it something I can take pride in. And in all these cases, all these times I question myself, I need to remember there are ways through, or around the wall. Techniques, strategies, advice. All of these can get me through. Maybe I should quit the hermit thing and find other writers in the same place as me.
And I should definitely not write a novel while querying. There’s only so much emotional beat down I can take in a day.