When the Going is Slow

First off, hi there. Secondly, take a moment if you will to go read this awesome poem “Where Have You Been?” by my young friend Kate Borman. She was sweet enough to include me in a blog hoppy award gizmo, but the real prize is her poem.

Thirdly, back to me.

So I’m writing again. Well, trying to write again. And it’s going slow at best and not at all for the most part.

I don’t talk much about my writing process on here because for most people, the whole writing process bears little resemblance to what people think it is. In which case I repeat the same mantra I once used with my students: writing is a process, not an event. Anybody who thinks that he/she can just plunk out the next best seller is well, not living in my little writing world. Also, I rather hate them in a pathetic form of idolization tinged with the jealous heat of a thousand suns.

Anyhoo, last fall I finished novel that is currently sort of languishing about the place like some kind of unemployed house guest that should be out there looking for a job dammit! Instead, I’m trying to decide what to do with it. Suffice to say, I’m ignoring it for now. I’m sure the answer will come to me. It just hasn’t shown up yet.

So in the meantime, I’ve opened and closed my Scrivener documents about eleventy-billion times. I finally started working on the young adult novel that I’ve been carrying around in my head for nearly forever. And then I stopped working on it. It’s like their voices just went away one day and they haven’t come back. Seeing as it’s about 2 teens, they’re probably off carousing and having a hell of a good time. Perhaps they’ll get tired and come back to me sooner than later. That would be nice.

In the meantime, another voice came to me. It’s a great voice. Like I love the voice. I love the opening line even more. Like love, love, love it. But I closed that folder and opened a new one instead.

This new one is a story that I think has solid potential. And trust me, after having written a story that doesn’t have a “solid” fit out there in the big world, writing something with “solid potential” is just the balm my poor little writer’s soul needs. Except that this story is like running in the deep end of the pool. While wearing flippers. And a weighted vest.

In other words, it’s not going along swimmingly, thanks for asking.

For the entirety of my first novel, I would write in sprints of 1000-1500 words per hour. Every night I wasn’t too exhausted to write, I’d get my kids to bed, do the clean the kitchen, pay attention to my spouse for a moment or two gig, and then write. The words just came to me. But this story is like the opposite. I’m clearly writing out of my comfort zone, out of my natural voice, out of my realm. It’s a middle grade novel with a male protagonist. You know, everything I’m not.

I don’t know if I can do this one.

Or perhaps I must do this one.

I don’t know. All I know is that this story came to me and I am hoping I can do it justice. But I sure wish I could find a way to enjoy this sloth-pace of writing because that’s all I’ve got right now.

I really do know that it doesn’t matter how fast I write, just that I keep writing. And I really do know that when the going is slow, the important thing is to just keep going even when the words are ugly and disjointed and sound like a monkey commandeered your laptop. But I hate this. I hate feeling like I have no idea how to keep going. I hate not knowing if this is what I should even be doing–this trying to make stories for other people instead of just for myself. I hate not knowing if this will just be another story no one ever reads even though I love it.

I hate not knowing.

I need a Magic 8 Ball to tell me what to do…keep writing or give it up and try juggling or finish that cross-stitch project I’ve been working on since 1993. Or something.

It appears that when the going is slow for me, the ugly doubtfuls find my psyche an easy place to climb in and set up house.

3 thoughts on “When the Going is Slow

    • I’m so sorry Bill – I’d rather this was a “party of one” kind of gig. Perhaps we should get tee-shirts? Or at least coordinating alcoholic beverages. {hug}

  1. Yup. Dory, swimming, that horrible word “just”.

    What about when you can’t swim, but you can’t give up and drown cause, well, it’s kind of highly improbable to drown sitting at a keyboard.

    Thanks for this, Kristina

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