I Have a Serious Writing Problem…

I was working on my query letter this morning, tinkering with the wording because I have it almost where I want it when I was struck by a thought:  this query letter is better than my book!  I’d better make my book just as good!

So, I began tinkering on my novel again….my finished novel–at least what I had previously thought was finished.

I have had this problem with all of my work.  It’s never finished. I’m constantly tinkering and it drives me up the wall!

I’m wondering if anyone else has this problem.  Just now, I was tinkering some more (well, since I had already started, why stop now?).

I can’t stop myself.  I tell myself I’m done.  Then I’m at it again.

So, I’m wondering:  Is a novel ever finished?  And when?  When it’s in print and you can’t make any more changes?  This I see as my scenario.

Any comments would be most welcome (especially ones saying I’m not crazy!).

This Happens Every May…

God takes me down to remind me my place in this world.

I’m sick.  My throat hurts.  My voice is almost gone.  I have a runny nose and feel all around absolutely miserable.  I can’t sleep. I’m cold.

On Wednesday, our music teacher told me I looked really tired. I’ve been thinking for a couple of weeks now I need to take a break, not work out for a week, not set my alarm for a week but I haven’t.

So God does what I won’t do.

Since August, I’ve been faithfully working out 2-3 times a week, doing BSF every day, working on my novel, and doing all the kids stuff (school, activities, etc).  And getting up early every day in order to accomplish such personal goals.  Not to mention running a household and keeping the dogs alive and my husband happy.

BSF is finally over.  My final edit which took two months instead of two weeks is finally done.  I’m on the verge of being done researching homeschool curriculum.  School is almost over.

Obviously, I need a break.  NOW.

As usual, God has to hit me over the head in order to do it.

He got my attention.  I’m listening…

Nothing About This is Easy….

Have I said this before?  It seems like I say this all the time.

I am editing….again….and it’s driving me up the wall.  I keep changing stuff, hopefully making it better, but it’s such a slow process.  I hate it.  And I don’t use hate lightly.

Nothing about this is easy.  Nothing about this is fun.  Nothing about this is uplifting, inspiring, or even tolerable.

I keep praying I get this thing published mainly for one reason: so I can hire someone to edit my future work henceforth.

It’s boring.  I know this stuff like the back of my hand.  It’s mind-numbing.  It’s outright awful.

This will be my last time.  I just can’t take it anymore!  I am just praying for the fortitude to finish this round and quickly.

I thought (for some stupid reason), This’ll be easy.  Just one more quick read-through before querying.  It’ll only take a couple of days. Wrong again.

I should have known better.  It’s not quick.  I guess I just tell myself this so I’ll do it.  Because once I start it gets done.

But only from God’s will, not mine.  I would have given up long ago.

Just When I Think I’m Done…

I have been anxious to begin querying on my novel.  I’ve been this way since I finished really.  Last week, I thought I was done so I began to write my query letter.  I worked on it some more this morning when I read something on the internet that made me decide to rip apart my first and second chapters.

So, I spent 2 hours this morning doing just that.  Fine.  But I’m just that much further from being done.

Then I had a thought that I usually always have when I’m writing a book:  does it really matter anyways? Will anyone ever read this?  Does anyone care but me?

It’s just frustrating.  People think writing is easy.  It’s not.  Far from it.  It’s constant second-guessing. Constant wondering if this sounds right, if this is saying what I think it’s saying, and if anyone will ever read this stuff beyond, well, me.

And when the tough part is over (completing a novel) then the selling begins (an even tougher part for me)–convincing someone my novel is worth something to someone else besides me.

I dread this part but yet it’s the most important element.  I’m taking my time on this one, trying not to screw this one up.  Trying not to screw any of it up really.

So I pray and hope and keep working and maybe one day…

This is Worse Than Writer’s Block

Ever have one of those days where everything you write is crappy?

That’s my day today.  Nothing sounds right.  Everything is repetitive.  No brilliant thoughts or analogies. Just plain and simple and to be frank, horrible, words strung together.  My 7 year old can write better than this sometimes.  Every word stinks worse than a skunk on a hot summer day.

I think I’d rather have writer’s block than these days because I get the sense I’m a failure.  I keep thinking, “This sucks!  Maybe I’m not meant to be a writer.  I should just quit now and forever hold my peace.”

Writer’s block is legitimate.  It’s where nothing comes to mind.  But it’s something you work through or just return later when the creative juices are flowing.

Bad writing is a sense you can never improve this stuff so why bother.  The only solution is to stop and come back later.  But I always wonder, “Will it get better later or can you improve something that is just bad?”

There are bad writers out there and these days I list myself amongst them.  I just pray I’m a good writer tomorrow.

“As God Wills”

Finding kids books these days with God even mentioned is a challenge.  Finding good kids books with God mentioned is an even bigger challenge.

I’m reading Don Quixote and Sancho Panza, an adaptation of the original by Miguel de Cervantes by Margaret Hodges for kids.

In chapter two, Don Quixote famously takes on the windmills, thinking they are giants.  Sancho, his faithful companion who thinks Don Quixote is crazy but goes along with him anyways, being promised a kingdom as his reward.  He’s the king so his wife would be the queen.

“My wife wouldn’t be worth two cents as a queen,” replied Sancho.  “She would do better as a countess, and even then, God help her.”

“Leave it in God’s hands,” said the knight, “but don’t be satisfied with any title less than governor.”

After his fight with the windmills:

Don Quixote:  “In the end, my good sword will prevail over his (the magician who turned the giants into windmills) evil arts.”

“As God wills,” Sancho replies.

Later, Don Quixote tells Sancho to not defend him against knights he fights as it’s against the laws of chivalry.

“I promise,” said Sancho.  “I will keep that law as strictly as I keep the Sabbath.”

I wish every book I read that these truths in it.  I wish I had some of these responses in my life’s situations.

How many times have I wished I said or even had the attitude or belief in challenging situations of “As God wills”?  Or “Leave it in God’s hands and don’t be satisfied with any less”?  How many times should I have responded “But God knows me, and that is enough” to a situation instead of with anger, resentment, and hostility?

This is great stuff for me.  I recognize it when I read it but my kids only absorb it subconsciously, storing it later for future use.

This book has constant references to God:

“May God guide you”, “God be with you”, “God speed you”, “May God preserve you”, “But God knows me, and that’s enough”, “Liberty is one of heaven’s best gifts.  A man should risk even his life for liberty”, “In God’s hands be it”

Don Quixote gives advice to Sancho:

“First, fear God.  Second, remember  who you are…”

“Remember that you have not earned this favor by your own merit”

“Don’t speak harshly to the man you have to punish; the pain of the punishment is enough…” [I substituted kids for man here.]  “Show mercy, for the mercy of God shines more brightly in our eyes than His justice.”

Why do we have to go back 400 years old to get such rich stories filled with God-fearing characters as memorable as Don Quixote and Sancho?  Characters who live out “As God wills”.  Characters who everyone else thinks are wacko but they themselves have the strength and conviction to stick to their beliefs.  Neither care what others think of them.  They are the butt of practical jokes but both adhere to their beliefs better than superglue.  They follow their true North.

They live their lives following their hearts and God is in their hearts.

I pray I can write such stories; ones that will reflect God’s will yet make an impact in young people’s hearts. My goal is to make Him known, subtly, through my character’s struggles and responses to life situations and live out “As God wills.”

It’s Great to Be Writing BUT…

I’ve spent the last few days concentrating on editing my novel.  Today was especially good because I finished reviewing the whole text again for the sixth or seventh time.

But, now I’m finding my excitement waning as I know the hard part is still ahead.

I got a critique back on my previous novel, basically ripping me for numerous things including character characterization contradictions, passive tense, telling not showing, and much more.

So, now I have to review my novel with these things in mind, looking for each specific problem–one at a time.  Which is fine but I’d rather be writing instead of editing.  This is where the real tediousness begins…

But I’m determined not to rush this one and make it as good as I can.

So, I’m going to have to take my list of edits from the top and work my way down (cringing the whole way). But until I am Stephenie Meyers and can pay someone to do this for me this is what will get me an agent and a publishing deal.

So as much as I hate it, I’m gonna suck it up and get to work.  What are my other options?  This is my passion, my purpose.  No one said it would be easy.

Finally–A Writing Related Post

I’m feeling immensely unsatisfied right now; down on everything–BSF, my family, my Bunko group, unanswered questions and uncertainties in terms of moving, my husband’s job, and schooling.

So, I started writing again.

I began re-reading for the umpteenth time the draft of my latest YA novel and am working on that.  I think it’s my best work yet but I always think that.  I’m sure others will think it utter crap.

Bored at editing (many of you know I HATE editing), I began to surf the internet.  Curious as to what genre my novel falls into, I began researching science fiction, fantasy, and the like.  I decided to see what Twilight is classified as since it’s just about everything and has a lot of my same elements.  It’s considered all over the board:  YA, romance, fantasy, etc.

Then I visited Stephenie Meyer’s website and found this nugget:  “With writing, the way you feel changes everything.”

She is speaking in regards to Midnight Sun being leaked on the internet.

But I couldn’t agree more.  I write when I feel like it.  I don’t write when I don’t feel like it.  It definitely takes a certain mindset you have to be in.  It’s not like a job with your hands or repetitive.  It involves emotion–and for me, a lot of it since I throw myself into it tooth and nail.  When I’m down, my characters are down. When I’m up, so are they.

I’m resolved to get this project wrapped up in the next couple of weeks.  I’m dying to begin the query process and see if this thing is any good or not or if it will be relegated to just another file on my computer as I move on to my next project.  But, I’m taking my time this time, making this as good as I can and then see where it takes me.  I’m itching to get started on my next project but I know this one is not finished.  I don’t like to multi-task; I have to bring my characters to fruition and then move on to something else.

Excitement Regained

I spent a lot of yesterday editing my book and am quite enjoying it for once.  I am finding my mistakes are a lot more prevalent to my eye and I feel with each stroke of my keyboard it is only getting better.

This is what gives me hope.  I believe my destiny does have more for me in this world and this is the means God has given me to achieve it.  Admittedly, I feel happier–better–when my writing is progressing.  Otherwise, life quickly drags me under with the monotony of kid-life:  breakfast, school, errands, bills, diapers, doctor appointments, permission slips, parent/teacher conferences, homework, shuttle to soccer practices, dinner, bed time, and on and on and on…

So, here I am, typing again, molding my work before my eye, wondering all the while if this will be it, if the fourth time is the charm (this is my fourth book), if I am finally speaking what the world needs to hear.

See My Work as a Challenge

I entered a writing contest back in April or May and got the results back in August in the form of a word document.  I haven’t had the courage to read it until today, October 5th.  I mainly read it to see how to improve my next project, not for criticism on the old project.

I cringed at some of the comments.  It hurt to know I had a great story but couldn’t convey it.  Basically, that story needs to be scrapped and started over.  But I did get helpful hints for the novel I am editing now.

For the first time in my editing career, I’m excited to edit!  I can see the progress when I correct my grammatical mistakes and now I know I’m making it a better project.  I have an idea about another project but I have to see this one through to the end.