So, guess who reached a milestone in her writing life yesterday? I now have 90,755 words in my WIP and 97,668 in the giant Word document where I keep all the stuff that cut from my novel.
I’m a bit of a hoarder when it comes to the stuff I’ve written. I don’t really throw anything out. This isn’t just nostalgia or separation anxiety; it’s a rule that I abide by. When I was maybe fourteen, my grandpa—a painter and printmaker—told me very seriously that an artist mustn’t throw anything out because they never know what could be useful later. I took that to heart and…well…this is the result.
I’ve thrown away more words than I’ve kept.
The number of discarded words, by the way, is only going to go up. I’m in the process of doing really heavy cuts to the last third of my novel. I’m terribad at conclusions—I ramble and wander around like a disoriented cat—and so there’s a lot of extraneous material there. Into the “scrapped” pile it goes.
In other news…
I’ve been having a hard time getting excited about my novel lately. I’m still working on it doggedly, but I’ve been working on it for so h*ckin’ long that the joy has sort of been drained out of it. I feel like I’m writing blindly, trusting that all this work will result in something good.
I know that this sort of grim determination during tough times is what makes a writer, but I wouldn’t be opposed to really enjoying working on this novel again. At the moment, it feels more like I’ll enjoy the results than the process.
The temptation to veer off and work on one of my many plot bunnies is pretty overwhelming, and…confession time…I’ve been doing a little work on a recent plot bunny. I’m not putting in any less work on my novel. I’m just…slightly cheating on it. After working on my WIP for a few hours, I might sidle off to work on some new characters or write a few lines of a prologue. I figure that this sort of behavior is okay so long as I don’t start slacking on my novel, but I can also sense that it’s a slippery slope. One minute, you’re just filling out a quick character sheet; the next, you’ve abandoned your WIP.
It’s time for constant vigilance. I have absolutely no intention of abandoning my novel when I’m so close to finishing it. Seriously, I have one more round of major edits and then all that’s left to do is polish it a few times. I’m so close.
Now, if I can just get to the end without dying…
What are your strategies for pushing through when the going gets rough/boring as h*ck? Do you like to cheat a bit on your WIP, or is the temptation to abandon it altogether too strong?