I am experiencing a period of insecurity and doubt. Usually to get through this I re-group, format a new plan and stride forward regardless: believing that my new approach, or renewed vigour from a reassessment, will see me through. But, this time it feels more difficult.
In the month and a half since I began focusing on the edits for NaNo #1 I have managed to get through 19,000 words. I have another 78,000 to go. Not to mention that I have not yet typed up Cecelia’s story, or completed the ending of that section – nor is this counted in the edit figure I just quoted.
I have submitted writing to seven different places (magazines or competitions) with no feedback, excepting one rejection slip. Four of these have been this year and have mostly been short fiction. I realise seven is not a lot, it’s certainly not enough to get disheartened over. However, in part, these are the reasons why I have not gotten further in editing the novel – and to see the time I spent on them come to no avail is disappointing.
At the crux of it there is a distinct fear that, for all this work this year, I have nothing to show for it. The novel remains in draft format – with only partial edits – and none of my other fiction appears to have found favour, making me question if it is good enough.
I realise this is just a dip. That all writers suffer from this self-doubt and insecurity. That today it is just my turn. Still, I’m used to fighting back, to throwing up my arms and saying ‘so what’ and forging on ahead anyway. It was only yesterday I left a comment on a fellow writer’s blog scolding her for suggesting she would ‘plod on’ when she is one of the most proactive, determined and positive writer that I know. Plodding is not something I see her doing at all.
Yet, I understand her better now: because plodding along is just how I feel and I’m sick of it. I don’t want to ‘plod on’ any more. I want to race ahead, to be focused and dedicated and have a finished product – read: something to show for my efforts – before I start NaNoWriMo again toward the end of the year.
However, there are multiple things in my way: health, work, family, friends…Right now I want to brush them under the carpet and say ‘I’m becoming a hermit so I can finish editing my novel’ and not have to worry about the consequences. Of course, that is not feasible. I need to be practical, pragmatic even. It brings to mind the Serenity Prayer I’ve heard quoted so many times:
Right now I don’t feel I have the wisdom. I don’t know the difference between that which I so desperately want to change and those things that have to remain constant in my life. Instead I want to alter the unknowable – time itself – and have my novel done, completed, polished just so that I can wave it in the air and say: ‘Look, I did it, I told you I would.’
So how do you find wisdom?
I think here, Patience, is the only honest answer.