Saturday, November 24, 2007

A novel decision

I'm trying this decision on for size -- if it doesn't fit, I'll amend.

Perhaps I seem wishy-washy to you. I often seem that way. It usually happens when I'm warring between what I want to do and what I think I should do.

After all, one "should" stick with the commitments one makes, right? But what if one has made a commitment that turns out to be inappropriate for them?

I have decided to stop work on my novel. I've enjoyed the process of writing, to a large extent, and I loved the whole "write a novel in a month" concept. But I was sitting here this morning, reading Russell Banks' The Darling, and knowing that writing will probably never be as important to me as reading, and knowing that I could never write a book as good as that one.

Of course, R. Banks has been writing for years, and I can hardly be said to have practiced my craft. But the thing is, writing novels isn't my craft. Writing blog posts is fun for me. And when I did write intensively in the past, I wrote poetry.

I haven't written any poetry since being on antidepressants, which I sometimes think is sad, and sometimes think is a reasonable trade-off for not being miserable all the time.

Right now, I'm going through some holiday blahs, which are largely short-winter-day blahs, have started on a new med -- yes, another chemistry experiment -- and do not want to spend my remaining three day weekend working on a novel. I want to be free to read and putter around and be creative in other ways, when I choose to, and spend time with the dogs and maybe even, oh I don't know, take them for a walk.

So that's it, I'm done, unless I change my mind after posting this. Sometimes when a decision is difficult, it's best to just choose one option and sit with it for a while.


Brian said...

I'm sorry to hear that you've stopped writing your novel, but I can emphathize with you.

I have been reading a lot of Stephen King, Carl Hiaasen and Tess Gerritsen this year and wonder if I'll ever experience a fraction of the success they've achieved by earning the right to publish a novel--just one novel.

I've found that when I give up a project I usually get the yearning to start another one in a few months.

Hang in there.

Catherine said...

Thanks, Brian. I appreciate the empathy. It's possible that when I go back to read the 75 pages I wrote, that I can salvage some of it for some purpose -- a story, maybe, a poem, maybe -- who knows? I might even get the urge to continue working on it, but I wouldn't get it done in time for NaNoWriMo.

Are you writing a novel this month? Do you write regularly?

I know what you mean about projects -- there never really seems to be a shortage of them!

Thanks for writing, I appreciate it.

Brian said...

I've written about 25,000 words on two separate attempts at writing a novel. I get all charged up in the beginning and then I get bogged down in the middle.

I've never tried NaNoWriMo, but for the past three years I've been taking my writing more seriously and attempting to finish a novel. At this point, I'm beginning to think that I should change genres.

I really enjoy reading thriller and mystery novels written by my favorite authors, but I do believe that is holding me back. I hold my writing to their standards and by comparing my writing to theirs, it's bogging my down.

Catherine said...

Two 25,000 word attempts is pretty impressive! According to the NaNoWriMo pep talks, everyone gets bogged down in the middle, that's just part of the process. Supposedly, pushing your way past that any way you can will take you where you want to go.

Hope you will continue writing -- I think most if not all writers compare themselves to those they admire, and find themselves wanting. I think getting the rough draft down is the hardest part. Then you can go back through it and fix it all up, nice and pretty.

If mysteries are your favorite genre, and you want to write one, you might want to stick with that genre instead of artificially imposing another one on yourself.

But what do I know?