Writing Posts

My Most Recent Writing Mind Suck

Writing has been a…really interesting endeavor, recently.

A lot of battling back and forth with my own mind, trying to decide whether I’m actually shit or if I’m borderline brilliant (because my brain doesn’t have any go-between, apparently). A lot of questioning whether the story I’m writing is one I should be writing at all and if I’m ever going to make a career out of my passion. A lot of days where I only get 100 words written, only to be followed up the next day with 3,000.

This afternoon, I was introduced to an interesting complication to further complicate my mind suck, of sorts.

You see, I’ve been working on my rewrite of THE RESISTANCE, tentatively titled in this new draft as THE CLEANSING. I’ve never experienced so much back and forth with a book before, so much questioning surrounding it. There’s been plenty of times where I wanted to give it up all together, to work on something else, but I kept pushing. I’m on track to finish the first draft (if it falls in the 80,000 word range) by the end of December. I’d love to just get a draft done and then I can focus on, you know, actually making this story good in the next round. That’s what the first draft is for, right? Plus, this book is also meant to solidify my writing habits again, which is another reason I don’t want to table it.

Not to mention that I tabled a different project earlier this year and that was really hard. It made me feel like a failure (which I know isn’t true). If I were to table two projects in one year, what does that mean? My confidence as a writer has already been shaky enough, as late. I don’t want to do anything to jeopardize that, especially as I’m just getting into the groove of rebuilding it.

And yet.

Let me describe that glorious complication.

I got some feedback on my novel, ARTEMIS SMITH AND THE VIRTUOUS MARRIAGE QUEST. A novel that I wrote last year and have slowly been editing away. The novel that I really want to query, after this latest rounds of revisions. I’ve just been waiting on some feedback from my latest round of beta readers before I started the next round of edits. So far, ARTEMIS has received the same type of feedback, but always with the same problem.

A problem that, based on a discussion with my critique partner this afternoon, I might–finally–have a solution for.

She also might have told me that Angry Robots put out an open call for unsolicited SFF manuscripts, due by December 31st.

And my book fits exactly into what they want (I hope).

*cue glorious excitement and utter terror*

So, now I have a choice: do I switch to editing this novel and getting it ready to send to Angry Robot, as well as to query agents when most of them reopen in January (thus tabling the sci-fi novel that’s been giving me so much trouble and not meeting that self-given deadline and “not winning” NaNoWriMo)? Do I continue to work on the sci-fi manuscript and edit ARTEMIS when I get done? Or do I try to work on both projects at once, meeting my self-set deadline and not (albeit falsely) feel like a failure for tabling two books in one year, while also meeting the Angry Robot deadline?

Honestly?

After writing those choices out, my gut leans towards working on Artemis and making it shine for Angry Robots and agents.

Sure, I’d be setting aside my sci-fi novel, for now, and that makes my insides twist for reasons I’m not really sure I understand, i.e., why do I equate tabling a project to work on later as failure?* It’s something I’ve been struggling to write, beyond the point of just your typical writing struggles, I think. Whereas Artemis…Artemis, I’m passionate about. I’m excited about that story and I’m so excited to finally have a potential solution to this problem that’s been nagging at me for almost a year.

So why does switching to work on my passion project, my project that’s *just this close* to querying, make me feel so guilty?

I’m not entirely sure, at the moment, where that guilt comes from. I’m sure another blog post will show up, sometime, to try and flesh this mindset out. But I do know this: I’m excited about Artemis and where this story is heading and I’m really damn hopeful about his future. I’m ready to put in the work and see what happens next.

Cheers.

* I’d really love to get some feedback from you, if you have some time, on your thoughts about this idea. Do you have similar struggles? What are your opinions of this mindset? Any advice you have to combat it?

6 thoughts on “My Most Recent Writing Mind Suck”

  1. I think the feeling of failure comes from the self-imposed goals we set for ourselves. I know that I feel the same way with teaching when I put aside one lesson that’s “fine” so that I can make another lesson “great.” But I think it’s unfair to the self. It’s a time management strat honestly, and one that I think is valid and works well in the end for the following reasons:

    1. You’re not failing you are putting your energy into what you are most excited and creative about now, which should lead to more productivity.
    2. It’s more of a “win” to go where the mood/muse/ideas take you bc you’ll turn out better quality work.
    3. If you’re working on what you heart/passion/interest wants you to your not forcing anything and trying to make something work or happen. I think if people paid attention in these situations they’d see that they in turn actually get more work finished by going where the mood says to go.

    So, as is so much of the case with the human race, it’s just a matter of reframing. You’re not failing, you’re working smarter- and that is a good thing for you and your writing and ultimately your goals.

    1. Beth, that response was…exactly what I needed. Thank you so much for taking the time to write that out. I’ll have to remember that whenever the guilt tries to sneak up on me.

  2. I agree with justmoreblog.
    I imagine, no matter which choice you made, guilt would find a way to sneak into the equation.
    In due time Resistance/Cleansing will have its day. But today belongs to Artemis. Odds are the very fact that you’re passionate will help your Artemis efforts to be even better, and that will allow you to bring a greater focus to Cleansing, which may recapture your passion when you do return to it.
    Once again I am reminded of the power of the written word. As you say, just writing out our thoughts changes them.
    Good luck. πŸ™‚

  3. Tabeling a project that isn’t working to work on a project that is is NOT failure! It’s prioritizing. If you have the fire to work on it and a possible opportunity to publish, I say run with it all the way to the finish line. The goal is to query and turn the hobby into something that at least buys new shoes, right? Changing projects puts you on a path that may do that. Good luck! Can’t wait to see where it takes you.

    1. Rachael, that was fantastic. Thank you so much for that. Hearing someone else say that makes me feel, “Well, *duh*,” but then when my own brain tries to tell me that, of course I come up with all sorts of things that prevent me from seeing that obvious reasoning. I hope your own writing is going great!

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