November 14, 2011

You FAIL, Caroline!

Lately, I've been feeling a bit woe-is-me.

*Cue dramatic sigh* 

I stare at my manuscript---my once exciting, I-can't-wait-to-work-on-this manuscript---and I can only sigh. This quote from Sara Zarr rings especially true to me:
Right now I’ve got a first draft of a new book in front of me, and it feels like a massive pile of FAIL. (I should note: this is my book.)
Yes, exactly!

My manuscript is a massive pile of FAIL. The pacing is off. The world-building isn't full enough. The romance is lackluster. It needs so much work that, sometimes, I'm tempted to delete the whole thing and start over. Or, at least, work on something new.

But, of course, I'm not deleting this book. I'm going to keep plowing ahead, fixing the pacing and fleshing out the world-building and trying to make the romance believable even though I don't know how to do that quite yet.

I'm not giving up!

And yet...the Doubt Monsters nibble away at me.

Are these problems fixable? 
Am I capable of fixing them? 
Will my agent like it?
What if *gulps* he hates it? 

Dear heavens, I do hate those Doubt Monsters!

But it does bring me comfort that most, if not all, authors feel this way about their manuscripts. Again, from Sara Zarr:
The creative process, and the creative life, is mostly full of moments between the idea and the being done, the spark and the blazing fire, the shimmering magic and the finished piece. We’re always living in the gap between our vision of what could be and what might be, and what is.
I love that.

It helps me to see that I'm in the middle of a long road and that I can't stop walking now. If I want my book to be good, then I have to keep on trucking, keep on sweating, keep on pulling pebbles from my shoe. My book will get better with every step I take, even though some of those steps will rub blisters on my feet. Blisters make me stronger, right?

And I also take great comfort in knowing that every writer is on this journey with me. Some walk ahead of me, some walk behind me, but we're all on this bumpy road together. Cheesy, eh? But I like cheese.

So yeah. My manuscript. It really is a pile of FAIL right now but that's okay. It'll get better.

Gotta keep on trucking!


  1. I hate those doubt monsters too!

  2. I felt this way many times while writing the first draft of my WIP. The doubt monsters suck! You have the right attitude. Keep pushing through and you can fix everything later. Good luck!

  3. I LOVED that Sara Zarr post, so inspiring and I love you're idea of us all being on this road together. I do feel right now that I'm right back there in the dust with blister on my blisters, but hopefully I'll start walking on yellow bricks soon!

    Good luck with the edits :)

  4. I was right where you are not long ago. Then I took a break from my WIP. I read like crazy - the only thing I could think to do to keep me from going back to my story too soon. Then after two full months, I revisited my story, and guess what? It wasn't as huge a pile of fail as I thought it was. And actually, I started to fall in love with it all over again, which is making the revisions process much more enjoyable than I expected it to be.

    Good luck with your edits. It's nice to be traveling this road with you ;)

  5. Nothing wrong with a little cheese... :]

    Sounds like you succeeded in your self-pep-talk, but I wanted to say that I often feel the same way about my ceramic sculptures mid-process. They look like a pile of poop and I almost swipe them into the recycle bin. I have to step back, take a breath, and remember that they will get better.

  6. I'm glad you're not going to quit!! <33
    I can't wait until you're done, girl :)
    And yeah, I also hate those DOubt Monsters! :P

  7. Well. Although, yes, every writer does go through this, I feel the need to point out an objective FACT that you are neglecting to mention, here: Your manuscript is not a big pile of fail. It is not a fail at all. It is awesome! It is full of excitement and awesomeness and fabulous characters and fabulous worldbuilding and fabulous writing.

    Just saying.