It’s been a little over two weeks since I started my master plan to edit my WIP, which I’m calling BiDepressiveYA. As I expected, I’m already falling apart.
Revising is still my least favorite part of writing.
Editing is so hard. It forces me to confront my own failings in a way that is honestly really hard with my depression. I’ve gotten to a point where I can (mostly) write stories without experiencing self-doubt. I take Anne Lamott’s advice seriously, and I focus on getting the words on paper, even if they’re horrible. At some point, though, I have to go back and assess places where I derailed the story, or rethink characters who aren’t living up to their potential. Realizing how far I have to go with the story is terrifying, and makes me feel like I’m a bad writer.
So far, I’ve stuck to the first phase of my original plan: Chuck Wendig’s Instinct Pass, which involves an initial assessment of major problems in the story. I completed this in one week, right on schedule. This, of course, is the easy part. It’s quite simple to assess major ways the story could improve, as well as specific scenes that need major revisions. The hard part is, of course, the execution.
Timing is my biggest problem right now.
I’m torn between two major instincts: the desire to power through the revision process so that I can finally have something to show for the 11 months I’ve been unemployed, and the realization that I need to take my time or risk being incredibly short-sighted.
Society at large doesn’t recognize just how long it takes to get a solid draft of a novel. To outsiders, the fact that I’ve had almost a year of not working means I should have a draft by now. As much as I know other people’s opinions don’t matter, I can’t help but judge myself against this unrealistic standard.
The reality is, I’ve only been working on this project specifically since mid-March. Yes, I moved out to the middle of nowhere to write full-time at the beginning of July last year, but I spent the first few months finishing up a draft of a different story entirely. I considered revising said novel, making it what I know it could be, but I ultimately decided against it. It’s the most autobiographical thing I’ve ever written—it’s about a really unhealthy relationship with an older guy, and the long, arduous journey toward self-love. The story I finished last summer isn’t really viable for publication, unless I were to set about self-publishing, which I’m not sure is the route for me at this particular point in time.
So it’s not that I’ve accomplished nothing in a year—I’d say finishing drafts of two separate novels (as well as a mostly completed NaNoWriMo) is pretty decent. The only problem is, nobody else can attest to my accomplishments, which leads back to square one of self doubt.
My anxiety about Life is such that I can hardly focus on anything.
I’m not going to go into details. This isn’t a personal blog (or at least, it’s not intended to be). Suffice to say that over the last week or so, shit has hit the fan in multiple directions (financially, emotionally). I had to go out and get a part-time, minimum-wage job. No matter how much I want more for myself, this is where I’m at right now. I have to prioritize my survival over my creativity; and on top of that, I can hardly focus on the story I want to tell because I’m so focused on making it through today and into tomorrow.
So I’m potentially taking a hiatus from writing.
It isn’t something I’m proud of, or something I want to do. My heart wants to keep working on this story, but my brain says something different. I also realized that it’s okay to not be writing at a capacity I’d like. It’s okay to need a break for financial or personal reasons. It’s okay that I’m too depressed and anxious to do what I’d really love to do. I’m not okay, but I will be.
Thanks for reading this update. If you’d like to know more about my WIP, check here.