Tuesday, May 3, 2011

On the Edge

I’m almost ready to begin … I’m starting to feel that twitch to get this damn novel in motion.

It’s usually at this point – the preparation to write that first word – where I have a continual unavoidable wish for the whole thing to be over already. Done. Completed, for better or worst. I want to skip ahead to the end right now and save me all that crap in between.

Most non-writers don’t realize the huge emotional investment it takes to begin a project this big. Even with The Empty Everything, which is going to be relatively short (by novel standards), I know I’m looking at 3-5 months of continuous work. Unfortunately, only 1/3 of that is the good type of work – the joy of creation and the unexpected sudden surge of an idea that comes out way better than you had hoped. Those times are great. It’s the other 2/3rds that rips apart your psyche.

It's the vivid painful memory of the slog of editing (and thus I tie into yesterday's post). It's the self-doubt. The agonizing writing block over one stupid fucking word. In projects past, I’ve stared at the page for over an hour, trying to sort out a sentence. It’s brutal, because in the end when you think you’ve found it, that perfect combination, the next day inevitably arrives. After what would be a brief reread to get up to speed, you suddenly realize it’s still all shit. All that effort the day before amounted to nothing.

Somehow, all those failures of the past have to be pushed away. Somehow, I need to think positive that this time will be different. Today, I’m at the edge, ready to make that leap of faith, eyes wide open, taking a deep breath, and steeling myself for another long haul.

The one thing that helps in all this doubt? It's obvious. This time there is a difference between  now and those (non-published) novels in the past? This project has a set publishing date. The Empty Everything goes digital in September. That’s a promise and it almost (almost! oh so close!) makes the dread worthwhile.

1 comment:

  1. I think you're right in saying that non-writers don't know what an emotional (and psychological) investment writing is. While I know that friends and family have been supportive of my writing, I don't think they get it. I don't think they understand exactly what torture it is to sit in front of your computer and stare at a page and hope that your exact thoughts and emotions are being reflected through the words you've chosen to write ... it's tough. It's exhausting.