Sunday, 18 March 2012

Two steps forward, none back

I keep moving forward.

That's really good isn't it? I'm ploughing on forward with Blackbrooke II (despite not having the first one published of course) and, with almost 40,000 words under my belt, it's really coming along. In my very biased opinion, I think it's a strong sequel and I really see the series as a trilogy - all planned out in my head.

There's just one problem.

I've got some major re-write work to do on the first one. Also, anyone remember a little book I wrote called Driving Exile? Yep? Well, that needs a re-write as well. The only thing is, I'm struggling to go back and revisit what I've already written.

How do I put it? It's just

My imagination is working overtime getting the new ideas out and I just can't seem to engage the brain to do the important stuff and sort out my existing material. And the thing is, the existing material IS more important because that's the stuff I need to send off to agents.

If I was to list everything I need to do in order of priority, editing and rewriting Blackbrooke and Driving Exile would be at the top. But what am I spending my time doing instead? Oh yes, I'm reading Point Horror books and writing the sequel to an unpublished and incomplete book.

Work doesn't help. I get so bogged down with the day job (I'm one of those people who can't NOT put 100% effort into everything I do - more of a curse than a blessing in this case) so I come away from it exhausted and usually stressed. I'll constantly check my emails through the evening and then spend time worried about going back the next day in case I've forgotten to do something or I get into trouble for something else. It doesn't leave a lot of room for my writing - the one thing I actually want to do.

So when I get in and I actually do want to write, I'll do the fun part and write new material rather than revisiting the old stuff.

It's also a pride thing. I hate going back and amending. I'm always so hard on myself and just feel like such a failure when I read back through what I've written. I physically wince at some sentences that don't sound intelligent or witty enough.

I even read back through my blog posts to check for mistakes and can't help but think that people reading it are muttering, "Jesus, no wonder this girl isn't published - she's crap" or "Bloody hell, if this girl calls herself a writer then I might try it. I'm better than her".

Basically editing my work is mentally draining and I come away feeling crap about myself. That, coupled with constantly feeling like a failure in my day job, makes it really tough.

I know I need to just suck it up and do it though, otherwise my biggest fear of just having a bunch of word documents sat on my computer will be realised. I haven't sent any new manuscripts off for a while because I have this editing work to do (that, as well as having to shell out for new printer cartridges) so right now, I'm not progressing at all.

Is this what they call a crisis of confidence? Urgh, feels like it.

I'm going to take myself off to the park for a wander and read the works of some published authors for a little while until I muster up enough back-bone to go back and amend my work.

Note to self: Do get a grip.




  1. Your work doesn't have to be perfect Emma. Agents just need to see the strength of your narrative and expression. All publishers work with editors who will help you shape up your manuscript. The average published novel goes through seven rounds of edits/proofs in house before it's on the shelf.

    I totally understand how tough it is to combine work with writing. It's one of the reasons I freelanced during my career so I'd have time off to focus on the words. Good luck with the writing!

  2. I hate editing and redrafting, for much the same reasons.

    But each time I go over something, each time I look at a sentence and wonder how I thought that was a good idea, I'm teaching my present-self something; training my brain and my style, and always moving on - so I try to look at it as having secondary benefits, no matter how disheartening it can be.

    Not that I'm doing anything like that at the moment, with the juggling of other commitments. I hope the pressure from your work eases up and gives you more room for your writing soon too.