Yes, that’s right, I used the word hate.
I have been writing this book for longer than I care to admit. Okay, I’ll admit it: I have files from this story that go back to 2006. For those of you who don’t realize how long ago that really is, I’ll do the math for you. It’s eight years. I have been writing this story for eight years. And I’m no closer to having a finished product now than I was eight years ago. I have written, rewritten, and written it again. I have outlined it, trashed my outline, attempted to write it without an outline, realized that in writing without an outline I had forgotten to include a plot, added a plot, wrote another outline, and now I’m rewriting it again. And I hate it. On days like today, when I’m pretty sure it’s time to throw out at least half of the manuscript and start over, I wonder, “Why am I torturing myself over this? Why can’t I just write something else? Or not write at all?”
Because I can’t, that’s why. Because if I don’t figure out what this story really is, and how it develops, and how it ends, it will bother me for the rest of my life. Because in the last eight years, I’ve fallen in love with these characters, and this world, and this idea I have of writing fantasy that honors God and communicates a biblical worldview, even though no one in that world knows that the Bible exists. And just to be clear, no one in that world actually exists. It’s fantasy. But somehow, I love them anyway.
On this journey, I’ve learned a lot about writing, and a lot about myself as a writer. Most of the time, I’m not very good at this. There are moments when I think I might be able to produce a whole book that will be worth reading someday, and other moments, like today, when I think it’s impossible. It may never happen. But I’ll keep at it because maybe someday, it just might.
So for today, I hate my novel. I feel like nothing is working, and I don’t know how to make it work, and it’s probably not worth the attempt anyway. And that’s okay, because it’s not as though anyone is paying me to write it, or expecting me to actually finish it. I’m not published, I don’t have a fanbase, I have 140 followers on Twitter and a handful of people who read this blog. You are good people, by the way. Thanks for putting up with me. Anyway, I think I’m allowed to hate my novel. I’m probably allowed to delete it and start over, as I’ve threatened to do repeatedly. But instead I’ll keep plugging away, hoping to someday craft it into a real story that I can be happy with.
And maybe, just maybe, tomorrow I’ll love it again.
Have you ever felt the same way? To be honest, I need an intervention today. Yes, I am begging shamelessly for encouraging comments. We all need encouragement sometimes, and today is my day.