August 6th I finished the first draft of what will be my thesis novel. As hard as it was to keep motivated during that process, I am having a worse time trying to edit. I took a break from the thesis novel, only because I’ll be editing it from September to April and I didn’t want to get burnt out on it. So I’ve edited two short stories and then I stared editing my Ghost novel. Then I hit a wall.
I got discouraged. I’m still not sure why. Maybe it’s the idea of recreating what I already created that seems depressing. I used to LOVE to edit. I described it as a sculptor pulling the features out of the rough form he’s molded from the lump of clay. But man, this week it has been more like taking a blow to the head.
Then yesterday, I went from hope down to a pit of self-doubt, again. I happened to see a new book, by a first-time author, it’s I believe a collection fo short stories, all based on southern Indiana. When I first saw this, I thought “Awesome! Maybe now Indiana will be viewed as a legit setting for books.” But then I read this guy’s blog. Agent: Donald Maas. He’s like a factory worker. And the book is all about meth heads, drug runners, etc. And the reviews are fantastic. So why would that depress me?
For on thing, I don’t write that stuff. Nor do I read it. But it seems like to be taken seriously, that’s what I need to write. Everyone I know, in particular MALE, who has had publishing success is writing this “grit.” So here’s my dilemma: Write crap I don’t like to read, so I can be taken seriously OR write the more lighthearted, kooky stuff I’m writing now and just hope to have SOMETHING published before I’m too old to type on the damn computer. I don’t know. I know what others will tell me: Write what you love! And I do, but the older I get, the more depressed I get about whether or not what I’m doing is going to be of interest to anyone. Will anyone want to read about a gay ghost or a middle-aged man guided by Oprah and a pigeon? I don’t know.
And I guess that’s why I have such a hard time editing. Always in the back of my mind I hear “The next one is going to be the best yet. That next one you write is going to be the ONE.” So if that’s true, why spend the time editing what I’ve already done? The answer to that is, of course, thinking ahead that way will only delay getting ANYTHING published. Maybe it’s my way of self-sabotage. If I don’t have anything read to send out, I wont be rejected, I won’t have to answer the question about changing the subject-matter of what I write.
This writing life is not easy. Never will be. But I have tow choices: give up or fight on. Today, the answer is easy. HELL YA! FIGHT ON!
Tomorrow, well, tomorrow is another day.