Archive for June 13th, 2011

If At First You Don’t Succeed

My wife is absolutely awesome. I say that because she put up with me yesterday as I went on an emotional roller coaster ride trying to get a short story started. Here was my rough schedule:

  • 2pm: Start work on new short story.
  • 3pm: Finish first draft, having written fewer than 900 words.
  • 4pm: Decide that it’s utter crap and needs to be completely rewritten.
  • 4:15pm: Try to figure out why every story I start recently has needed to be started over.
  • 4:30pm: Decide I’m clearly the worst writer ever and give up.
  • 4:45pm: Figure out what was wrong with the story and where to start over.
  • 5pm: Start over.
  • 5:30pm: Decide that those 200 words are also crap, just crap in a different direction.  Give up on story.
  • 7pm: Figure out why those 200 words were crap.
  • 7:15pm: Restart story fixing that problem, though only writing first sentence to avoid ending with more frustration.

I know that I’m not the first writer in history to have that day, or that story.  Where you just want to tell a story that’s running around in your head, but it just won’t tell itself right.  It gets confused, jumbled, comes out all wrong.  You start off with the wrong main character, the wrong voice, the wrong absolutely everything, and the only way forward is to go all the way back and begin again.

But there are two things that I’m happy about with yesterday.  First: I saw and diagnosed the problem.  Earlier in my writing, I might have been happy with the 900 word original, chalked it up to just being a short plot, and gone about editing it.  Second: Ultimately I didn’t give up.  In the end, I still might not be able to tell the exact story that I want to tell, but I didn’t just give up, tuck tail, and decide to completely scrap the concept.  It was a rough day, but I saw it through to the end, and I think the third approach is going to make for a story worth actually telling.

So.  Back at it tonight, and hopefully get things on the right track.

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