Most of the time when I blog I try to keep the overall tone of the posts somewhat optimistic. I’m not feeling it today. Instead, I feel like I’m stuck in a tunnel where I have travelled too far to see light behind me, but not far enough to see the light at the end. I’m stuck somewhere in the middle. I’ve been writing Coldfire for over two-and-a-half years now. I spent two years (almost to the day) on the first draft, clocking almost 150,000 words of convoluted mess. The rest of the time has been spent cutting and cutting (and occasionally adding) bits and pieces to make the lump of words somewhat palatable.
I’m starting to worry that I will never finish. I have never successfully attempted a project of this scope before, even including the stuff from my fanfiction days. I’ve never had the patience. It doesn’t help that I’m in the middle of writing some shiny new chapters that are not coming out right. I expected that. I expected that they would be as messy and convoluted as the first draft of the whole novel. The thing that is bothering me is that this new stuff reads, to me, a bit like the first few chapters of Coldfire before I took a hammer to it and smashed out all the stupidity. Now I’m wondering if my writing has actually improved, or whether my editing is just becoming more effective to hide the crap. Or if my story’s improvement is just a consequence of constant editing, rather than an improvement in technique.
Alarm bells should’ve started going off when I was distracted from Coldfire for a whole week and instead worked on a werewolf novel I’d put on the backburner. I think I’m getting blocked. I could take more time off Coldfire, but I mightn’t ever come back. That nearly happened in the first year. I almost had to beat my head repeatedly against the desk to empty my mind of other stories that I would much rather write. What got me through then was perseverence. That is what will get me through now. I will finish this book, even if it turns out to be unpublishable drivel, because then at least I can say that I have finished a novel.
I’ve thought about all the potential problems with the section I’m adding (using my very early Writer’s Block post as a rough guide). I don’t think the problem is characters acting unlike themselves, though I am concerned about my main character’s suddenly short temper (though I can fix that later without much incident, I think), and it’s not because I don’t know what I want to happen. I think my problem is exhaustion. I was going to call it ‘tunnel syndrome’, but a quick Wikipedia search linked it to ‘Carpal Tunnel Syndrome’. No thanks.
Now that I’ve psyched myself up a little, I’m going to try and push through this. I’m sure it’ll get better after this draft, because then I’ll be one draft closer to completion.