When a work in progress just isn’t fun

sink hole plot tip rubbish ditch

For those who don’t know, I’ve had a work in progress novel going for over a year now, and I have lost all enthusiasm for writing it. What was once a joyful wander through uncharted creative waters has since turned into a joyless sink-hole of a chore that I struggle to wade through.

It started just over a year ago, with my first ever National novel Writing Month. Something which I’m sure a fair few of you are doing this year. Now, as far as the planning went I seemed to do OK, even the word count wasn’t really that much of a problem as work was a little thin on the ground and I found I had a lot more spare time.

It was only when NaNoWriMo finished, and I attempted to read through the drivel that I had written that I realised that I not only needed to finish the novel but also do a hell of a lot of editing. After about two or three months of weird and confusing editing I had to come to terms with the fact that I would have to start again, the damage was too ingrained for me to be able to rectify it. The most logical thing to do was to start again, re-plan and re-write it from scratch.

I think this is where my problem is. When you first write your draft one (or draft zero, if you prefer) you are filled with energy and enthusiasm, anything can happen. You’re confident and wild horses can’t keep you away from your keyboard. The trouble is that this is not my first go, so I don’t have any of that initial excitement. Everything seems old and, quite frankly boring.

I have heard in so many places that you should always complete a novel and that it’s important to not be tempted into writing something else, because otherwise you’ll just never go back to it and it starts this horrible pattern of having several hundred started novels but nothing that is anywhere near publishable.

So, what do you think I should do?

  • Should I just give up the ghost and start something new altogether?
  • Work on a smaller side project, something like a collection of short stories to bring the enthusiasm back.
  • Just keep going, if so how do I make it enjoyable for me again.

I’m looking for help people, don’t let me down… 🙂

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7 thoughts on “When a work in progress just isn’t fun”

  1. Hi Jim. Thank you for linking to my blog http://www.quirkybooks.wordpress.com As for your dilemma, I think you know the answer. If you look at each of the three options above, there is one in particular that stands out and that is, yes, I hope you have guessed it, the middle one. It is the only one that you say will “bring back my enthusiasm”, so just go for it. To be honest, I started a novel in 1999 and I left the main character in turmoil, I know I could go back to it any time I wanted to, as the characters are always stored in a small section of my brain and they used to tell me their story. I realised that it was better for me to work on something else, children’s stories and now non-fiction How to books. The length of the children’s books are easier for me to manage and I had always wanted to write them but hadn’t had the confidence to do so before and I find the structure of the How to books are more easier to work with. So do not be miserable any longer, put your best foot forward and dare to be different, do what pleases you and makes you happy. Remember, if you don’t enjoy writing it, who will like reading it? Let me know how you get on.

  2. My answer is more or less the same as Ms Quirkybooks above. In general, I’d say that you know in yourself what you want to do. But in this case, you’ve actually spelled it out for everyone to see.
    Let me show you:

    1. Should I JUST give up…
    2. Work on a smaller side project, something like a collection of short stories to bring the enthusiasm back.
    3. JUST keep going…

    Option 2 is the only one that you show any enthusiasm for — the only one that you’re not JUST doing because you think it’s the “right” thing to do. So write something else for a while, and then come back. (I actually wrote a post about the importance of doing exactly that a while back. Here it is if you missed it: http://wp.me/p1teED-tc)

    1. Wow, you’re right only just noticed that, I guess I did know the answer all along.

      I guess my course is clear. It does sound rather fun.

      Thank you.

  3. Pingback: Writing Objectives for 2013 « Write Way Round

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