Two Novembers Later…

9 Nov

So, I’m at that point where I’ve slaved over my work-in-progress for nearly two years, written almost 100,000 words, and I’m not sure if it’s any good. I’ve been here before. The demands of making a living and keeping a roof over my family’s heads mean that I get less time to write than I would like. I have to be ruthlessly efficient with what spare time I do have. And before I know it, I find that another two years have gone by.

Sometimes I can see the benefit of being a NaNoWriMo, self-promoting/self-publishing-type of guy. I’d have written my book in just two Novembers instead of taking two years to be nowhere near finished. There’d be no need to edit – I’d just put it out there on Amazon, mistakes and all. Anyone who criticised my prose would be a grammar fascist. I wouldn’t have to angst about the quality of what I’d written as I awarded myself five stars in the reviews of my own work on Goodreads and Amazon. And if anyone disagreed with my rating I’d be able to post a reply pointing out why they were wrong. Then I could post endlessly on Twitter about how marvellous my own work was (or get a bot to do it for me). Ideally, I’d be one of those NaNoWriMo-type guys with no visible means of support who nevertheless can pay all of his bills. Thinking about it, neither of these things is about to happen…

One of the author's writing spaces

One of the author’s writing spaces

Instead, I sit here before my laptop, questioning the validity of what I’ve written. It’s the potential snare awaiting all writers prepared to put the time into what they’re creating. It’s generally impossible to tell whether what you’ve written is any good until you’ve sunk all of those years into shaping it. The conceit of my work-in-progress is different, at least. I’m fairly happy with some of the passages that I’ve written. Overall, though, I’m not at all convinced that it coheres or that it will reward the reader for his effort. Ho hum, I’ve no choice now but to stumble on toward the finishing line of the assault course, probably some time around November 2015…

All words and images © PSR 2014


7 Responses to “Two Novembers Later…”

  1. masgautsen November 10, 2014 at 8:36 am #

    Hang in there I’m sure it’s good. In my oppinion you get more and more crtical towards your own work the more you work on it. This does not mean it’s not good.

  2. Paul Sutton Reeves November 10, 2014 at 8:54 am #

    Hi Maja and thanks for your encouragement! I’m sure that you’re right – the more that you think about a piece, the more flaws you see in it…

  3. Mari Biella November 10, 2014 at 2:14 pm #

    I’m sure your work in progress is much better than you think it is, Paul! The fact that you’re so self-critical suggests as much: the more flaws you see there, the more you’ll be able to improve on them. And – NaNoWriMo be damned! – these things just take as long as they take.

    Having said that, I really wish that I too could work out a way to pay the bills without any visible means of support… 🙂

  4. Paul Sutton Reeves November 10, 2014 at 6:02 pm #

    Hi Mari and thanks for commenting and encouraging.

    You know how it is – one swings between absolute belief in one’s work and the wish to disown it. There seems to be more of the latter than the former this time around, though. Ah well, we shall see…

    Let me know if you discover the secret of making ends meet without having to do much!

  5. JHuw Evans November 14, 2014 at 9:20 am #

    Don’t go off the rails now.

    That secret you were asking about? Well I’m sorry it’s a secret.

  6. JHuw Evans November 14, 2014 at 9:22 am #

    And while it occurs to me at least you’re writing before questioning, whereas I’m questioning myself instead of writing. But surely all this angst is necessary for the creative process.

  7. Paul Sutton Reeves November 14, 2014 at 7:19 pm #

    Hi Huw and thanks for your gnomic comments… Yup, the self-doubt is all part of the process, I guess, but sometimes it’s probably well placed and you can’t tell until you’ve finished.

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