Wednesday, September 23, 2015

The Never-Ending Story

Last week, I had intended to blog about my current writing project, and how I'm fairly certain that I'll never reach the end of it, but ended up blogging about how Florida has taken over the #1 Spot on my Mortal Enemies List (my former boss is relieved.) instead.

And though there's still plenty of Florida material (such as my ongoing battle with the lizards over who exactly gets to live in my house), I thought today I might ramble about the writing project.

Also known as The WIP That Never Ends.



In July 2014, I published Effigy and set to work on its already-in-progress sequel, Second Nature, with the plan to release that sequel in July 2015.

When July 2015 came around, I hadn't even finished writing the first draft. I signed up for Camp NaNoWriMo, wishing and hoping that that would be the push I needed to get myself across the finish line.

And though I ended up writing over 60,000 words in July (I guess unemployment is good for something?) the WIP still wasn't finished.

Here it is, now, the end of September and...that damn WIP still isn't finished.

I wouldn't mind so much if I hadn't been truly working on it. If I had been slacking off in a hammock somewhere sipping daiquiris instead of writing, for example. Or, if I had a day job that was making ungodly demands on my life—you know, like what I used to have.

But that's not the case. I haven't been slacking off in a hammock sipping daiquiris or anything else. (Though, if I were drunk, I might be more willing to go outside.) And I don't have a day job. Nope. I'm unemployed. Because I have a job history (and a possible attitude problem) I am unemployable in this region, so writing is my full-time job.

I am a full-time writer.

This terrifies me because I've been working on the same project for over 18 months without actually finishing a draft.

I am this tortoise. Morla is me.

(I am absolutely impressed and amazed by authors who have published more than one book. Who have finished more than one book. As soon as I finish with this post, I shall go build monuments to your greatness because you are all incredible rock stars, and I bow before you.)

I keep writing scenes—whatever I'm inspired to write, to see what fits, what works, what feels right. And though I've written some stuff I like, I know it's not right for the story. But I can't figure out what is right for the story.

As my long-suffering brother said (on his way to the Protection From Writers Program, I'm sure), I'm identifying ways not to write my novel, which is still progress in its way.

It's just not particularly fast progress.

I'm trying not to put too much pressure on myself, because I do think that can stifle creativity, but there's always this little robot in the back of my mind saying, "Full-time job. Full-time job. This is your full-time job."

That little robot is kind of a jerk.

In the meantime, I am editing a little, brainstorming a lot (and loudly, some have said), and waiting, waiting, waiting for this elusive inspiration to strike.

I hope it comes soon because there's, like, five people waiting to read this book.

What do you do when you're waiting for inspiration to strike?

Have a great Wednesday, everyone. Thanks for listening to me ramble.

Oh, and because no semi-Neverending Story-themed post would be complete without Falkor, there's this:




42 comments:

  1. You're putting too much pressure on yourself. You think you have to produce. Just relax and find the joy in it again.

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    1. Relax? What is this 'relax' of which you speak?

      And yeah, you're totally right. I am putting too much pressure of myself because I do think I have to produce. When I'm not producing, I'm not doing my job. If there were retail, I'd be fired already, you know?

      Delete
  2. I know exactly how you feel. I'm currently jobless, so art is technically my full-time gig, yet I still can't seem to complete things as speedily as other artists. Sorry your current WIP has been frustrating you in similar ways! Hopefully your muse will stop being as stubborn as mine soon, LOL.

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    1. Let's hope both our muses set aside their stubborn ways soon! At least long enough for us to get some work done.

      Delete
  3. I was supposed to have a draft of my WiP done by the end of September. Soooo not going to happen. Sigh. And I have no real reason why.

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    1. We have a week left in September. It could happen. :)

      Delete
  4. Nah, don't build monuments to other authors' greatness. Or at least, don't build physical monuments, because that'd be procrastination. Rather, make your novel itself a monument to their greatness; your writing is the end result of all you've learned from reading other people's work. So make it shine.

    Then again, why would you take advice from me? I haven't even finished my first draft of my first novel. Carry on.

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    1. Yes, building physical monuments would be procrastination, but at least I'm familiar with that. :)

      Delete
  5. You're counting me as one of the five, right? :)

    Writing is slow for me too. I keep rearranging events, moving this bit of information up, removing this tidbit for later. I find I get stalled on a path and have to back up about 3K and take a different route. No, it doesn't give me much in the way of progress, but it does help in the inspiration department.

    Best of luck with those lizards!

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    1. I've done a lot of rearranging, and I know there will be more to come. I've also written many different paths. Perhaps this book is meant to be a Choose Your Own Adventure story?

      Delete
  6. Falkor!! Oh man, you've put that song in my head again. Not the cool Never Ending Story one, but that never ending song one! I, too, have the "Full Time Writer" title hanging over my head. It is a lot of pressure and it sometimes feels suffocating. I'm my own worst boss. My boss doesn't believe a Buffy marathon is an appropriate use of work time. Pffft! Good luck with the writing and the lizards.

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    1. I'm sorry! I was trying not to reference that particular song because I didn't want it to get stuck in anyone's head (again).

      I'm trying to talk my boss into Firefly Fridays. I'm pretty sure she'll go for it...

      Delete
  7. Remember that you write LONG books. That's not the same as writing something that's 50,000 words or even 80,000 words. When you write something that's 3-5 times the normal novel length, then it's no wonder it will take 3-5 times longer to write. :)

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    1. Yes, it is true that this WIP is huge. It doesn't make me feel better about how long it's taken me to finish this draft, though. I'm stubborn like that. :)

      Delete
  8. I thought of you today when I mentioned on my blog that sapphires are supposed to protect the wearer from snakes. Sometimes having the time to write allows one to procrastinate. When I became a full time writer, I didn't write as fast as I expected to. I'm getting better at it.

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    1. Who knew there'd be a learning curve to being a full-time writer? Certainly not me.

      Now, I'm off to hunt sapphires.

      Delete
  9. Now, that I have tons of time to write (and even my own little office - yay!) I find that I'm writing less than ever before. Words are coming out, but not the ones I want. If you find the magic potion to break out of this, let me know because I'll need a sip too.

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    1. I do love my office. That's, like, one of the best things about living here.

      If I do happen to find that magic potion, I'll be sure to let you know.

      Delete
  10. I agree with Alex. The pressure to produce is real, however, it'll eat you up. You gotta get back to enjoying the story for the story and let the process go as it will.

    I think I'm in a similar boat, and I have put some thought into why it takes more time than we imagine or plan. Mostly I believe it's because we're tackling new territory constantly. (This is the first sequel you've written with intent to publish, right?) My next novel will be my second novel--ever. We just keep rolling into uncharted territory and that sometimes makes getting our feet under us more difficult.

    The fact you're continuing to work on it is a great sign! (When you just stare at it day after day is when the red flags pop up.) Maybe write a few short stories in that universe? That can fire up your creativity and also be used later as supplemental material.

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    1. I have always wanted to write short stories in this universe. My short story skills, however, have always been lacking. Perhaps this should be the time to hone them?

      Delete
  11. Ooof. I haven't even looked at my WIP in over a year. And the thing is, I still love the story and still want to complete it. I just never put in the effort because laziness.

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    1. Normally, laziness is why I'm not writing. Putting forth effort and not getting anywhere is new to me, indeed. Actually, I probably could have stopped after 'putting forth effort'...

      Delete
  12. I think I've swapped with you. I'm not full time at my job and fighting to find time (and energy) to write.

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    1. Yep, that's how it used to be. How is it that I was more productive then than now?

      I do hope you find the time and energy soon! Not finding it can be frustrating.

      Delete
  13. Well, you're WRITING, you're just not writing THAT story. I do hope you aren't throwing away those scenes you can't use for THAT story.

    Sometimes you burn yourself out. Actually, I'm burned out a little, myself, with my WIP. Wheel-spinning, dry... It will pass (as I can attest) and sometimes a side-trip will get you back in focus. Are you making a penance of this WIP? If so, stop it (IMHO). Go easy on yourself. Fiddle with something you like, and then set a date to get back on point. It's all writing, it's all good, and you may - who knows? - have the spark of inspiration for your next work.

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    1. I never throw away any scenes. I have a deleted scene file where they all go live. Occasionally, I cannibalize them for other scenes.

      I took a month-long writing hiatus in August, to combat some burn-out. But maybe it needs to be longer?

      Delete
    2. I think you need a rest or a vacation. We all slog through the mud once in a while but if the writing is becoming a chore, if you feel dried out, if you are starting to cringe at the notion of sitting down at *that* story (NOTE: I'm not saying that you are doing this) then you need to withdraw from that particular project and work on something else for a while, something that makes you smile, lets you relax. I have two WIPS going, one of them projected for an early 2016 release. I am tired of them. I love the universe of that trilogy (this is book #2), but things are a blur and I am tired.

      ...so I'm recharging by picking up another project that I just blocked out and wrote some scenes for this past year. It's a different universe from the WIP, and I think a week or so there will revive me.

      I'm not preaching. You know all this. You have the gift within you, but sometimes you need to bank the fires.

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  14. I wish I had the time to write more! You at least are making progress. It's the book that just keeps getting longer. Keep plugging away at it and take care not to burn out. And Florida should be getting cooler soon, so at least that's a plus.

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    1. The other night on the local news, the weatherman was going on about those "cooler fall temperatures" and I just yelled at the television, "85 degrees is not cool!"

      My neighbors love me.

      Delete
  15. I think as a way to make yourself feel better, think of where you want to move to next;) Hopefully somewhere you will like. If I don't feel inspired I go watch TV. It helps sometimes and you can always call it research. Don't worry about Second Nature not being done. Take your time. Not to depress you or anyything, but my debut novel took 6 years to publish, mostly because I kept tinkering with it. The most important thing is that you know that you will finish Second Nature. The when is not so important. How do I know you will finish? Because you are hard working, determined and awesome. If you weren't, you wouldn't have finished Effigy to begin with. You got this! Just don't give up.

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    1. I am moving back home next!

      Thanks for the pep talk—My debut novel took much longer than six years. I'd kind of hoped that I'd have my act together better for the second one. But it could be said that so long as I get it out within the next six years, that that will be an improvement. :)

      Delete
  16. Well, at least you're getting some entertaining blog posts out of your struggle. I'm sure you'll get there. Eventually.

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    1. I was hoping these posts were entertaining someone. :)

      And yes, I will get there eventually. It's just the uncertainty of how long that's going to take that concerns me.

      Delete
  17. LOL . . . many times over. Keep working on those scenes. It will get done. Don't give up!!! Okay, I guess you might have to assign me to a annoying robot now. But, you know what I mean. Never give up, never surrender!

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    1. You're good—My robot never tells me not to give up. He seems to be more invested in making me feel bad about my lack of progress. :)

      Delete
  18. I'm a terribly slow writer too, so this whole post? Yeah, that's me. No wonder we get along so well.

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    1. Maybe someday I'll tell you how long it took me to write this post. :)

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  19. I can't claim to be a fast writer myself. These days I'm lucky to get 1K in before I can't look at the screen anymore. Setting up expectations of ourselves can slow us down even more (as was my case this summer). You have the desire, and that's what counts. Your readers will be there when you're ready to release. :)

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    1. During CampNaNoWriMo, I was hitting at least 3k a night. I miss that.

      Delete
  20. But I love Florida.

    So here's the deal, the job market is slower here. It takes about 6 months to land a job that would take two weeks elsewhere. Not sure what's up with that, but it's how it goes. (At least in the Orlando area.)

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    1. People do love Florida. I'm just not one of them. Yet. Possibly ever. But I'll enjoy not shoveling all winter long, so that is a point in Florida's favor.

      And at home I would have been hired within the week. Well, at home I wouldn't have had to apply for new jobs, so this whole experience is just super frustrating for me.

      Delete
  21. I'm not a fast writer either. I go to conferences where I'm told to try and put something out every 3-6 months, a year at the most, and I'm like . . . "Well, guess I'm going to fail as a writer." Sigh.

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