Word count: TOO MANY
I’ve been working non-stop on my novel for the past few months, and while it’s going well word count wise, progress isn’t being made.
Let me explain. The writing is solid. Inspiration isn’t a problem and I’ve been disciplined, sitting at my desk from the wee morning hours until the natural light is no more. But instead of going forward, I’m moving laterally – like a crab. I spend hours inflating my word count. Conflating really, as by some bizarre twist both novel 1 and 2 have merged.
Some days I feel as if I’m writing short stories. Other times it’s an all out POV war. Even my outline is starting to resemble the Peruvian Nasca lines, but I’ve stayed cool, ignoring the problems, pretending I’m a whimsical laid back writer type who goes with the flow. In reality I can feel the knots in my neck tightening. I’m at that crucial stage where panic hasn’t set in yet, but I’m already looking around for a paper bag to breathe in.
I have all these words. So many words. If I printed them out, the pages would spread across my desk, under the stairs, across the hall, to the dining table to overflow my bookshelves, cupboards, wardrobe. I would be inundated by a serious paper trail leading nowhere.For my own sanity. I’ve decided to step back and take stock.But this is the tricky bit. The part that makes me squirm and grimace. You see, I’m not a big reader of my own work. The first draft of my novel was printed and hidden in a desk for over a year. This time around, I began revisions without rereading.
Before you say it. I did try. I sat down with a strong cup of coffee, a pencil and two red pens. I couldn’t get past the first page. And by that point it was so covered in red marks I couldn’t read anything anyway. It went back in the drawer. As for novel 2. I wrote it for Nano 07, finished it later that year and then put it away intending to let it marinate. That was over two years ago.So, now you know where I stand.
I’m trying to write a novel in the weirdest way possible, blindly relying on memory and perception. Instinct. Not actual content. No wonder my structure is so confusing. But these are the drastic measures I resort to so I’m not faced with reading my own work. It’s not that it’s particularly ugly or dissatisfying. I just became overwhelmingly neurotic about improvements. I’m a take no prisoners perfectionist when it comes to my own material. Inner editor is one mean, unforgiving little harpy.Things are at an impasse now. The choice is to brace myself and read what I have or continue writing into infinity. Or until the words strangle me at my desk and I’m found lying in a pool of my own ink.