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25 March 2008 @ 12:43 pm
*props eyes open with toothpicks*  

Sitting down to write this morning presented me with another stage of the mid-book blues: I discovered that I was so uncertain as to the quality and story-telling appropriateness of everything leading up to where I was that I couldn’t convince myself that if I just kept going forward, it would be okay.

This also happens pretty much every time. So I printed the bloody thing out, and am now reading it. Reading my own work at this stage is one of the most mind-numbing things in existence. I just start falling asleep. I often end up taking naps, because I just can’t keep my eyes open. To try to counter this, I do things like dishes and blog posts and moving around, but omg. So. Mind-numbing.

Oft-repeated behavior tells me that I will inch my way through reading this, and decide it’s really not all that bad. One of two things will then happen:

1. I will be able to continue on.

2. I will be wrong, but unable to admit it/see where the problem is, and will take another few days of staring numbly at the computer screen before I come to terms with/recognize whatever it is that needs fixing, and then I will have to go back and cut and revise and become filled with hatred as my wordcount goes down instead of up before everything is actually okay and I can really continue on.

Guess which one of those is more likely.

I’ve…gotten better about the necessity of mid-book revision stage. It usually only takes me about 48 hours, now, to realize that’s the problem and to find a way to deal with it. I used to get stuck at this point for weeks or even months (or years, prior to publication (ie, when I had the luxury of years)), unable to figure out why I was spinning my wheels and being so frustrated.

I would like very much to get past the delay in recognizing the problem/finding an answer to fix the problem thing, but I don’t know if that’s really possible. *sigh* Anyway, back to trying not to fall asleep over my manuscript, I guess…

(x-posted from the essential kit)
The Green Knight: Writinggreen_knight on March 25th, 2008 01:02 pm (UTC)
I've found that the first warning sign of stuckness is the one I ought to listen to. When a hitherto well-flowing book slows to a crawl, stepping back and looking at the structure and wondering where it's going and why I'm stuck is a good idea. I can usually get another 5-10K by sheer willpower, after which I will be *completely* stuck and in need of going back and rereading and revising.

You may be different, but stopping early and often helps me not to get stuck as badly as I used to. (I hear you on the 'years')
kitmizkit on March 25th, 2008 01:13 pm (UTC)
That's exactly what happens to me. Writer's block for me is an indication that I've screwed something up. I still have a really hard time necessarily pinpointing the fix, possibly due to my own sheer stubbornness. :)
All Over The Mapjemck on March 25th, 2008 04:01 pm (UTC)
(psst- Catia - drop me a line coz I can't find your email and I still need to send you that St Hilda's info)

('scuse me for the off-topic comment)
kitmizkit on March 25th, 2008 05:00 pm (UTC)
(s'okay :))
All Over The Mapjemck on March 25th, 2008 03:58 pm (UTC)
Been there, done that, will doubtless be doing it with the very next book. Used to rely on loyal friends saying with exasperation, yes, but you had this problem last time and it turned out ok. Then heard Philip Pullman speaking and he explained how this always happened to him too. So now I just don't fret about it.
plums deifyalmond_tiger on March 25th, 2008 05:37 pm (UTC)
Eck... you've written a lot, so I'm sure you'll get past this. For me it's usually just a matter of making myself write and realizing, later on, that it's not as bad as I think it is (or if it is, I get to edit. :) )
Cat: Picto: Catcuriosity on March 25th, 2008 05:37 pm (UTC)
Thank You!
I used to get stuck at this point for weeks or even months (or years, prior to publication (ie, when I had the luxury of years)), unable to figure out why I was spinning my wheels and being so frustrated.

This is, perhaps, the most reassuring thing I have ever read in an author's blog. Sweet Sugar-Coated Grammar Crack, there's hope! *glees and promptly swoons*

Edited at 2008-03-25 05:38 pm (UTC)
kitmizkit on March 26th, 2008 10:17 am (UTC)
Re: Thank You!
*laughs out loud* I'm glad to have been some small help. :)
J.K.Richárdneutronjockey on March 25th, 2008 06:48 pm (UTC)
You're C.E. Murphy Internationally Famous Author and Comic Book Writer... you will persevere!
Jeri Smith-Ready: Wicked Gamejer_bear711 on March 26th, 2008 12:11 am (UTC)
I want you to know that I find it very comforting that you do this, too. It seems like most writers are all about the barreling through and not looking back or around or analyzing anything until the first draft is finished.

But the same thing usually happens to me, and I feel guilty that for a week or two I'm not making my word count because the thing needs revising *already* and I haven't even finished it once. But hey, whatever works, right? I'm just glad I'm not the only one. :-) Thanks!
kitmizkit on March 26th, 2008 10:16 am (UTC)
I always *think* I'm all about barreling through, but really, my usual writing pattern is:

Write like hell til I've gotten about the first third done. Hit a brick wall. Go back and fix whatever's broken. Write like hell to somewhere in the middle/second third. Hit a brick wall. Sulk like *hell*. Go back and re-read, and if it's necessary, fix. Write like hell until I hit about 90%, at which point the brick wall is more like AAAAGH AM I NOT DONE YET!?!?!?!? combined with fixing things if necessary, and then the inevitable slog toward the end.

The advantage to writing this way, for me, is that usually by the time I've gotten to the end, I've got a pretty solid draft.

So, yeah. Not just you. :)