Starting Again (Again)
It’s been a while since I’ve typed THE END on a first draft. I’ve written, but I haven’t finished any long-form piece of fiction in a few years, and that really, really bugs me.
I’ve tried. And in typing that, I already have this voice inside my head telling me that real writers don’t try — they do.
Real writers nut through the hard times and just finish the damn thing. Maybe move on from there and smoke a celebratory cigar.
I guess I used to be a “real” writer (minus the cigar). I prided myself on my knack at churning out a quick draft. Three months (the length of a season, as Stephen King advised) and I’d have my very own shitty first draft, ready for massive edits.
But these days, well… I’ve started (and quitted) more projects than I’ve finished.
And here I am, starting another WIP. There are all the usual jitters, but also a mean little voice reminding me of all the manuscripts I’ve started, but left half-done. All the stories that I let run out of steam and turn into unfinished failures.
I worry a lot — that I won’t get it right, that I’ll get lost in the jumble of words and not be able to hack my way out. I worry that this novel will end up like the others: just another abandoned Scrivener file, untouched and unloved and abandoned because I just couldn’t stick it out.
So there’s that.
But hey, there’s also this: I have today. I have this story, and it’s one that actually caters to things that I feel natural writing about. The others were stretches for me, and while I think it’s good to flex the muscles a bit, there’s something to be said for a project that feels as natural and welcoming as sinking into a warm bath.
Maybe I’m fooling myself. Maybe I need to fool myself. Maybe that’s what it takes to finish anything at all — equal parts ass-in-chair time, inspiration, and self-delusion.
And for sure, I can control at least the first part of that equation.
Rosie David is a writer, artist, and book sniffer. When she’s not writing YA novels (most of which have kissing in them), she’s usually reading YA novels (most of which also have kissing in them). Lately, she lives in Indianapolis with her husband, two dogs, one cat, and the occasional goldfish. You can find her at @TheRosieDavid.