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You may have noticed that I have been posting a lot more regularly in the past few weeks. This is because my novel is…

…going horribly.

HORRIBLY. I hate it and everything about it. Every sentence I write is excruciating to craft. Every word is the wrong word. Every character is selfish and one-dimensional and stupid. My metaphors are overwrought. The plot is boring. I know exactly what needs to happen and when and why but it’s NOT HAPPENING and it’s making me mad. I feel like I have zero control over my characters and their whims and their actions and interactions. I feel like new characters pop up out of nowhere and make no sense. I feel like I’d rather sit on needles than open my manuscript. Every time I read something I’ve already written, I roll my eyes. If I try to write fresh, without reading previous pages, I write something I’ve already written. Is it better than what I’d already written? Hard to tell, when they’re both CRAP.

You’re supposed to just WRITE, even when things are bad. So I am pretending that blogging counts as writing, and I am blogging like it’s 2009 all over again. And it’s working! I am getting TONS of ideas and inspiration and desire to write!

But, um, for the blog, not for the novel.

SIIIIIIIIGGGGGHHHHH.

People always ask me these two things about my writing, so I will tell you:

How much do you have left to write? I would estimate that I am about 75% of the way done with the novel. Plot-wise, that is. I have about a quarter of the way to go in explaining the plot. But I would also estimate that there’s a LOT more than that: backstory and build up and detail and blahblah that has to go in as well. And I don’t know how to estimate THAT.

How many pages have you written so far? My best guess is that I have around 250 pages. The program I use to draft the novel (Scrivener) lists word count, so that’s how I think about my output: in words. Not necessarily pages.

It sounds like a decent amount, right? Well, it SHOULD BE, after TWO YEARS. But let’s also keep in mind that a lot of the existing words/pages will get cut. And then more will need to be written. And more cutting. So it’s hard for me to say with great confidence WHERE I stand, exactly.

A friend asked me recently how I was doing, and I told him how horrible it was, and how much I hated the stupid novel and everything about it, and he said something along the lines of, “Well, you gave it a shot. Are you going to find a job now?” And I got really mad. (Not really at him; it was a reasonable question.)

No way in HELL am I giving up. So what if the book is shitty? Plenty of books are shitty. So what if no one ever reads a word of it? Plenty of books never see the light of day. So what if I hate every minute of it? That’s not true always. Sometimes I am quite pleased with what I’ve written. Sometimes I can write for hours and it feels like minutes. I am trying to treat the writing of this novel like a job (although, let’s be honest, if my boss weren’t so understanding, I would have been fired LONG ago) and sometimes jobs suck. You go through rough patches. You have projects and tasks you can’t stand. And you do them because it’s your job. This is just a rough patch.

To violently switch metaphors, I am going to see this motherfucker through to the bitter end. It may not be a happy ending, with flowers and beautiful piano music and lots of people standing around saying wistful, loving things, and angels holding out their welcoming hands in a swath of holy light. No. It might not even be a gruesome, bloody end, with stab wounds and a heaving chest and the buzz of adrenaline over ohmygod what did I just do. It might just be me standing over this stupid novel, choking the life out of it, and getting tired, and listening to its weak gasping, and then squeezing the breath out of it again, slowly, painfully, both of us in agony and just wanting it to be over already my GOD. But it will end, dammit! It will end, and when it does I will be there, standing over it, breathless and kind of grossed out, but victorious!

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