Writing Blog: Novel Progress

I thought I would start sharing bits and pieces of my novel-writing journey. Maybe someone will read these posts and realize they’re not alone on the struggle bus. Or, maybe no one reads them and I just use the posts to clear my head. Either way, it’s a win.

I finished the first draft of my novel and started revisions back in April. I was feeling pretty good about it, even though it needed a ton of work. Then my father-in-law passed away in early May. We spent two weeks in Virginia with my mother-in-law during which I think I opened the draft file twice for a whopping total of ten minutes.

After the unexpected time in Virginia, I read the draft again… and hated every single thing about it. I set it aside and let it marinate for about a month. By the time I was ready to work on it again, it was late June. I made a pdf copy of the draft and sent it to my Kindle so I wouldn’t be able to make changes to the file while reading it again.

Then I spent a few days reading the draft and making notes in my writing journal about what I wanted to change . Next I spent a few days making those changes. Then my uncle died and I spent five weeks in California dealing with his house and affairs. By the time I was able to focus on writing again… you know what’s coming… I hated it. Well, I only hated about half of it this time.

This brings us to mid-August. I spent a couple of weeks letting things marinate again because I had no idea what to do. During the marinating period, I came up with three great ideas for new books, but could not figure out what to do with my current draft. It was a clear cut case of Shiny Object Syndrome. I took the time to write down those new ideas and then turned back to my draft… or turned my thoughts back to my draft because I sure as hell didn’t do any writing.

Finally, at the beginning of September, I read the draft again and made another round of notes in my journal. This time, things were different. I actually like a lot of what I’ve written. I know, right?! 🙌🏻 There is a lot that needs to be cut. I originally had four big subplots going and the result of trying to cram all of that, along with the main story, into an 80,000 to 90,000 word draft… while not impossible and probably doable by someone with more talent than I… was a raging dumpster fire of suck.

So I pouted for about five minutes and then began the process of taking a butcher knife to my draft and going Michael Myers on that thing. For real, y’all. I butchered that thing.

That draft of mine is currently on life support while I rework things. I’m trying to work through this with a “write without fear, edit without mercy” mentality. Something that has helped me is saving the bits and pieces I cut into documents so I have them for possible future use. I know most writers do this, myself included. It’s just that in the past, I’ve not been great at organizing those snippets.When I wanted to use them later, I could never find them. This time, they’re not all dumped into one big document, they’re in several smaller documents, each one encompassing a type of scene – epic love scenes, big reveals, fantastic dialogue I can’t believe I actually wrote, you get the gist.

I’ll wrap up with this – during this entire process, I’ve made this my mantra👇🏻. I think it applies to the editing process and the struggles some of us have with it.

And that’s where things stand with my work in progress. If you’re a writer, let me know how your current project is going. Drop a comment below or join the conversation on Instagram.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s