NatNoWriMo has me beat. There, I’ve said it. I was fine for the first couple of days when I had things clearly mapped out, but trying to write when I don’t know where I’m going feels like jumping off a cliff. All the advice seems to be to just soldier on, but I hate the feeling that I will probably junk 90% of it. If I could find my direction, I could hopefully get to the 10% that matters.
I was having problems before I started this – which is one of the reasons why I started this – but the problem isn’t writing, it’s finishing!
I normally start with a rough outline, not vastly detailed, just an idea of what the ending is and the main points along the way. The main points may change – and often do – but I know where I’m going. And this system has served me well in the past. I have finished a number of books, and even had a young adult book published. But that’s where things went pear-shaped. The book didn’t sell well, despite having good reviews and even an honourable mention for an award from UNESCO.
I sent my next book to the same publishers, and got a thanks, but no thanks (no real surprise). The local publishers seem to be looking for very specific young adult books, and that’s not what I’m going to write. What they want is what I call a broccoli book – it’s GOOD for you. I loathed that sort of book growing up, and I doubt many young people read them voluntarily – they are mostly prescribed or bought by adults. I have no fond memories whatsoever of any book inflicted on me at school.
I have to be brutally honest with myself and say I am pouting. I rate myself as a competent writer. So why aren’t I getting anywhere? And some of the published books… I imagine most writers have felt the same at one time or another. How come they got published? Mine is better!
So I write, get so far, and no further. Because if I don’t finish, I won’t have to send it off and get rejected…
You know, writer’s block sounds so much BETTER than pouting. But I think it’s more accurate.