Lately I’ve been feeling like a failure at this whole writing business. I have a story I’m supposed to be working on. I even have an outline this time (a first for me). Yet when it comes time to actually work on it, my brain takes a vacation. It’s out the door doing whatever else it can think of, other than putting out words. It’s driving me crazy!
Now, I know this feeling-like-a-failure thing is a bit ridiculous. After all, I just completed the manuscript for my 2012 NaNoWriMo project. I hit my 50k before the November 30th deadline but this time I was determined to actually complete the manuscript. I plugged on and I managed to do just that near the end of January. I’ve set that story aside for the time being, partly because by the time I finished I was thoroughly sick of it and partly because I wanted to work on this new idea that’s not going anywhere. I know there is a lot of work to be done on that story. I’ve already got notes on some things I think I should change. It may be that I’ll go back and determine that it’s not worth working on again. But regardless, I did complete it and that is an accomplishment. It’s most certainly not a failure.
In the meantime, the unfinished manuscript from NaNoWriMo 2010 is beckoning to me, telling me maybe it’s time I took another look. This was a story I’d wanted to write for years, and I used NaNoWriMo to get myself going on it. Unfortunately, in my quest to get the elusive 50k, I focused too much on the mundane day-to-day stuff in the story and not enough on moving forward in the plot. That’s the major thing I’d like to correct when I start work on it again. I’m keeping notes for myself as ideas occur to me as I prepare for a rewrite. Perhaps this will be my Camp NaNoWriMo project this summer.
So, clearly the whole failure thing is just an over-reaction. It may be that having the outline is holding me back. I’ve always been more of a “pantser” than a “planner” when it comes to writing (though not in any other aspect of life). I start with an idea that we’re going to go from a to e but I don’t really know where b, c, or d will fall on this route. Having a much more detailed plan for the story is at once reassuring and hampering. Working with it will be a learning experience, as all of my writing projects have been before. I am looking forward to learning!