Monday, January 12, 2009

Can You Get There From Here?


I’ve been trying to get back into Folly. Problem is, I’m all hung up. I reread chapter one, getting ready to tackle chapter two, only to realize chapter one needs work. So now I have a quandary: do I go back and rework chapter one? Or do I plow ahead with chapter two? How do I ever finish something as big as a novel if I never like what I wrote?

Anyone who knows me can guess what I decided to do. Yep, I wrote a short story. When in doubt, I tend to avoid the problem by tackling small bits I feel are within my grasp.

But that isn’t getting the novel done, is it?

I’ve justified this behavior a million ways. I’m just too busy right now to concentrate on something so long. The kiddo’s too little for me to get anywhere on big projects. I can’t decide which novel is best to pursue. I’ll just finish this/these quick short story/ies, then I’ll get back to work on my novel/s. I’ll clean the house/go camping/polish my toenails/weed the garden first. I need to lose weight. I need more rest. I have a cold.

It’s pissing me off. The problem is me, and I know what at least part of it is. I need the gratification of getting something done. And writing a novel is a damned long haul. I love seeing my growing list of short story credits. I love checking my email, hoping for another acceptance. But I want to hold a book with my name on the cover in my hand. When people ask what I write, I want to offer the title of a novel and tell them to trek over to the bookstore and buy it.

So how do I get there from here?

Yes, I know the answer: one scraped out word at a time. But it’s not as easy as it seems. This writing life has set me out on an odyssey of personal growth equal only to the demands of parenting. Clearly, I have one more monster I need to slay.

What kind of obstacles have you faced in your writing? How did you overcome them? Or are you still slogging around like me?


Anonymous said...

What about starting from the back and working forward? Looking at each chapter from the end forward as a short story that you are just adding to. That way you feel like you are getting a "story" done while you are working on it.
From the Queen of procrastination.
"Cream cheese" :)

Greta said...

Backwards, hmmmmm... Well, I have been known to work that way :)

Worth a thought. Anything has to go more smoothly than the mess I'm in now. Besides, who says linear is better!

Stephen said...

Okay, if there ever were any doubts that somebody has been listening to my thoughts, your post has just fueled a deeper belief in the mysterious.

Like you, I'm still stuck in the muck. While I've been thinking about Arturo, I've also been writing and submitting other stories, using the same logic.

Greta said...

You think that's weird? The Lord's henchmen phoned my house this morning and planted scripture in my brain.

I know, O LORD, that a man's life is not his own; it is not for man to direct his steps. (Jer 10:23)

Hmmm. Maybe they were calling for both of us.