Still not to drafting yet, of course. I’m tentatively in the outlining stage, as I’ve got the basic outline (major plot points) figured out, but as I’ve gotten closer and closer I’ve been swamped with a feeling of malaise. Part of this is the usual, as more and more detail means the vague beauty of the idea has become the wretched crap of the actual story.
But yesterday it became something more… a full-on doubt spiral. I know no one wants to read about this; I don’t want to write it. One day I’m a wellspring of optimism and go-get-em attitude, and the next I’m the whiny, complaining person again. It’s obnoxious and hypocritical, and anyone on the outside must be thinking: why can’t she just get over it?
And to a certain point, I can. I’m fairly certain I’ll make it to the end of the month, one more week, and I can work on this idea until the end. I can succeed at the one-month challenge. But what about after that? And if it’s just the one month, no draft, no finished story, then what’s the point? What have I really accomplished?
The tricky part of all this is that I can make the argument as to why perhaps the idea I chose was just the wrong idea. Wrong time period, wrong length, wrong type of plot, etc. And that could be true, and it wouldn’t be a problem—except I make that argument with every idea. If it was just once in a while that I said, “You know what? This isn’t going to work,” then it would just be a natural part of the process. Cleaning out the crap to get to the gold is part of art and creation. I just never get to the gold—I never finish anything.
I’m going to spend the next week continuing to work on the current project even if I’m not in love with it. I’m going to try not to spend too much time tearing it down and criticizing it, though I might have to poke at what’s going wrong. And I probably will spend some time thinking of other ideas I can start at the end of the month.
This is not a failure, yet. And if I only make it to the end of the month and then change ideas, I at least did what I set out to do—and stayed committed for a whole month. I’ll celebrate that, if a little tepidly.
It’s perfectly possible this is just a momentary phase along the path to completion.
One more week to go.