So, I sat down ten days ago and started typing and managed to produce a first draft of my newest novel.
It was amazing, I was on a word high and for ten glorious days I was writing between 5000 and 10,000 words a day. When I was done my arms were sore, but I was elated because the thing just flowed.
Sounds lovely and magical doesn’t it? Well it’s not…really.
Because before I started this book, I spent a long and frustrating chunk of time hacking away at another book, nearly hitting the 40,000 word mark before I wanted to violently hurl it out the window because I hated it so much. It just wasn’t working. I loved the concept so much I was trying to make it work, but it just ended up horrible, so horrible in fact that I had to step away from it completely and not think about it for months lest it make me insane.
So a couple months later I took a look at the concept at the core of the book again because I kept coming back to it, I was drawn to it and I didn’t want to let it go. Then Ben and I went on one of our epic creative beach walks and discussed and I whined about how in love I was with the concept and he finally said ‘so just write a different story’.
The original novel was about a 20-something girl with no friends or family and I was feeling in the mood for a younger voice to I decided to write from the perspective of a twelve year old with a family and a bunch of friends instead. Then I took a step back from my core concept (a mental affliction) and instead of giving it to the protagonist I gave it to her mother and blammo, I was in business!
After months of struggle with a concept I loved too much to walk away from I had finally hit the mark and I wrote like the wind for all the time I’d wasted fretting over a book that was falling flat.
So the moral of this story is that if you have something you love you don’t always have to let it go. If your book kicks you down, sit on your ass for awhile then get up and try try again. Don’t get locked into a single story, because a single concept has the potential to become a million different versions of itself, so if one isn’t working don’t be afraid to toss it in the trash and start fresh.
I sometimes struggle with learning this lesson because of the fear that once I have an idea I’ll never, ever have another one again. But that has never been true, not even once, so I think it’s time for me to get over it and learn that just because a story isn’t working, it doesn’t mean the concept is a flop.