As a recent business degree graduate, I feel qualified to share this bit of wisdom. There’s a way of thinking in the business world that if a company isn’t growing, it’s dying. The concept being that no status quo will ever improve your position for the future, and can only lead to stagnation. In the business world, I’m not sure I agree with this train of thought completely, but in the creative and writing world, I think it absolutely applies.
I’ve been stuck lately. I have a completed draft of the WIP that has undergone a professional edit, as well as a round with my close group of readers. Unfortunately, since receiving all of this phenomenal feedback, I’ve had lots of ideas for improvement, but have written down very few, and incorporated even less of them. I think a lot of writers call this a burnout, but I haven’t been working hard enough at writing lately to be burnt out. If you include my external life, I’ve been quite busy with completing my degree and convocating, moving, job hunting, and still maintaining my internship with The Bent Agency. But those things are not related (directly) to my writing, and therefore, to me they don’t count.
And so while I haven’t been making negative progress, like deleting chapters, or suffering a (knock-on-wood) computer crash and data loss, I haven’t been making any forward progress. No momentum, no focus, and most frighteningly, no drive. I’ve been here once before. About 14 months ago when I finished my first-ever manuscript, Crisis. I never recovered from that stuck-ness, and instead just started a new WIP, which became the Sky manuscript.
I really didn’t want that to happen again.
So I’ve been resisting starting anything new. I’ve been reading other author’s blogs on craft, on editing, on revisions. When I have had new shiny ideas, I’ve written down the brief summary and promptly set the idea aside and haven’t touched it. And I waited.
Finally, finally, inspiration has struck again. Some of the complex characterization weaknesses I’ve been struggling with in the WIP have finally began to unravel in my brain. I’m discovering deeper character motivations, I’m learning more about them, and finally, I’m writing again.
So wish me luck as I dig back into the WIP. It’s time to tweak and improve and rewrite and get serious. Because my goal (and you’re hearing it here first) is to be READY and querying by September. But it has to be ready.
I guess really, my only solution to being struck was waiting it out. But I think it was also resisting the allure of something new. It may not have been enough willpower to write, but at least I had the willpower to wait until I was ready to write again.
That’s all my thoughts for now.