I’ve written 79, 175 words of my novel Cricket and Grey. In August I got gastroenteritis and kept writing. Then I reread what I wrote while I was sick and realized that being sick makes me write drivel. I had to trash over 5,000 words of what I can only say was a wishful scene between my two main characters which, if allowed to remain, would effectively end the whole book. Because there’d be nothing left to say.
Then I had to get ready for my trip to New York. I thought I’d do some writing while there. You know: writer holes up in a seedy hotel and writes, drinks booze, doesn’t shave for days, and maybe there’s some naked typing in there somewhere? Didn’t happen. It turns out I can’t write in New York because I can’t shut the noise and the energy out enough to hear my own thoughts. The best I could do was write notes and save up bits for later.
When I came back I had to work long hours for my job, I was jet lagged, my family missed me and needed me, I was so damn tired from my vacation that I had to rest. I couldn’t dive back into the book yet.
The problem is that today, as I sit at my desk poised to submerge myself back into the story, I’m feeling drifty. I’m scared I won’t be able to pick the last thread up. What if it’s all a pile of crap anyway? The task right now is to reread the previous 12 chapters but I’m scared to do it. I’ll want to start rewriting it all today. But I’ve promised myself not to do any rewriting until I’ve actually finished writing the whole first draft.
I’m going to sit back and read it. I have to do it. Then I was thinking I might write a couple random scenes that are floating in my head, little character vignettes, little nothings that don’t even have to find a place in the actual novel if they’re trash, but just a little scene to bring me back into the thick of the story where I lived constantly in June and July.
Part of being a professional writer is being able to step away from a project when you need to and come back to it without a bunch of artistic freak-outs. This is part of the job.