June 30, 2010

On failure and persistance

So I failed.

There, I've said it. I said I was going to finish my novel in June, and I didn't. Not by a long shot.

There are multiple reasons for this, chief among them being busy-ness and lack of interest. First, busy-ness. Since graduating, I've been juggling multiple temp jobs, reading, writing, and (most importantly) preparing for the Denver Publishing Institute. More to come on this later, but for now let me say that I'll be learning so much about publishing, and it's going to be awesome. Writing just took a backseat, especially with the presence of bills to pay and a firm deadline for my DPI advance assignments, which are multiple and daunting. (Also, the World Cup. Yes, I can totally blame that, right?)

I can say a lot of things about the relative importance of my commitments, but the main thing is: this month, I didn't put writing first. Period. And we all know that without commitment (serious commitment), nothing really gets done.

My second problem is really a "how to write" kind of problem. I was less than interested in the story I was writing. It twisted and turned, and I broke some bones and reset them, but it refused to morph into something I really really wanted to write. I spent a lot of time thinking about another story I really want to write, and not getting anything done on either.

I have a few ideas about this. I've been trying to write for a while with only the vaguest of notions about the plot of my novel - I've likened this to the amount of information required to write the back cover of my book. But this hasn't been working for me. And now I'm wondering whether I'm not really a pantser - not at heart, even though I've tried to be. Maybe I'm really a planner - an outliner.

My second writing problem has to do with an idea. There's a seed of a story floating in my head, one that's been there for years, but I'm honestly afraid I can't do it justice. I'm afraid I'm not old enough to write the story that's been haunting me. But I'll give it a shot...if only so it will stop bothering me while I try to write other things.

So to the future. I'll be leaving for Denver in about a week. My goal: to outline this story that's been in my head forever. And maybe when I come back, I'll be ready to write it.


  1. It sounds like what you were doing wasn't working out and you've got a plan for what you want to do instead. I think it's probably pointless sticking to a schedule for writing when you're not writing the right story.

  2. Yeah... Although it's been hard figuring out the right story!

  3. I couldn't find a place to comment on your latest post about the Denver Publishing Institute but I wanted to say that it sounds incredibly exciting! I hope you'll report back!

  4. Hmm... Apparently I accidentally disabled the comments? Well, I turned them back on, in case you were wondering. Thanks! It is going to be very exciting, and I'm going to ask all sorts of burning questions... If you have any to throw in, I'll be glad to ask! :)