(Over)Thinking Tonight

I finished my second draft of Yes Novel.

yes novel draft two

Everyone’s excited.

Except maybe me.

I’m not not excited. I think it’s more of a glass-half-full sort of thing. Everyone looks at this and says, “Look at all the hard work you’ve done!” and I look at it and think, “Look at how much hard work I have left to do.”

The manuscript is raw. Unpolished. Choppy. The characters need work. The plot needs direction. The language needs refining. I look at this and see oh my gosh there is so much ahead of me.

I tried to compare things mathematically/chronologically.

With Truest, I worked for about 20 months before my editor ever saw it. Then I worked on it for another, oh, 9-10 months with her. Plus copyedits and some late changes. But, let’s just say 30 months of work.

With Yes Novel, I worked on it for 6 months before my editor saw it. Now, it’ll be another 6 months under her direction after she read the first draft. I’m supposed to have this thing ready to go sometime in May, so if I turn it in after Thanksgiving, and let’s just say I get revisions in January, I will have another 5 months of work to put into it. That totals 17 months of work, almost half of what went into Truest.

The comparison isn’t perfect, I know, because bringing my editor into the picture so much earlier will theoretically get it on the right track faster than before. If I spent 10 months of revisions with Jill on Truest, and I will get to spend 11 with Jill on Yes Novel, then maybe you could say I’m getting more time (more quality revision time, that is).

It’s just scary. It’s lonely work. Winter is here and is just SO hard for me. In some ways, I want someone to acknowledge that this is a crappy draft just so that I can be like, “Yes, yes, I know. Okay, we’re on the same page.” Maybe that’s all I really want: someone to be on the same page as me.

You’re probably thinking one of several things:
A) I wish I had a book deal. If I did, you wouldn’t see me complaining.
B) Gosh, she complains a lot.
C) I thought she said she loved writing ???
D) This blog is too emotional.

Here are my thoughts and responses:
A) I’m so sorry if I seem to complain. Believe me, I cannot wait for your book deal too, friend, so that we can commiserate together. I never thought I’d want anything else if I could just get a book contract. I am finding that that is untrue. At least I am hungry for writing good literature, right? *pleading eyes* I just want to write a book that matters.
B) I’m sorry I’m sorry I’m sorry. I need to get my thoughts out somewhere, and my blog is it.
C) I do. I really do. But, well, as Bukowski said, “Find what you love and let it kill you.” I have. I am. It is.
D) I know. I’m a hot mess. Please someone come scrape me off the floor.


I need some support. Would you please comment with some encouragement, plus something you’re excited about right now, plus where you suggest I move that has more forgiving winters than Minnesota. 🙂

14 thoughts on “(Over)Thinking Tonight

  1. Poor You! *pats Jackie Lea on back and gives her hot cup of cocoa*
    I do not have a book deal – I do have a self-imposed self-publishing deadline. I feel your pain – I truly do! Though no one told me so, I know the second book is infinitely harder than the first! You’re struggling, I’m struggling, so it must be true! My commiserations are poor consolation, but I hope it is better than nothing. 🙂
    Something I’m excited about – I just sent my first draft (of the miserable, poorly executed second book) off to my editor! I’m excited because now it’s *her* problem for the next few weeks! 🙂 And also the weather here is amazing, just like September, and I’m glad not to be in my winter coat this week.
    Southern Ohio has winter, but nothing like Minnesota! You could try it here. We also have a plethora of higher education institutions. 😉
    Hugs, writer friend.

  2. I believe you can do it! I admire how honest your are in this blog and how your writing skills shine through it.

    I’m excited about NOvA preparing to publish our first results. Also, we recently resolved some very frustrating mysteries about the data from the radon monitor in my lab.

    San Francisco or Columbus, OH if you don’t mind grey skies in the winter.

  3. I can’t say anything more encouraging to you than what Anne Lamott has said, because I know you and I both adore her:

    “Perfectionism is the voice of the oppressor, the enemy of the people. It will keep you cramped and insane your whole life, and it is the main obstacle between you and a shitty first draft. Perfectionism is a mean, frozen form of idealism, while messes are the artist’s true friend. What people somehow (inadvertently, I’m sure) forgot to mention when we were children was that we need to make messes in order to find out who we are and why we are here — and, by extension, what we’re supposed to be writing.”

  4. If I used my blog to talk about my personal life, you would find that I’m a hot mess, too. Congrats on finishing! That’s a huge accomplishment. I say that as someone who has spent years NOT writing because I feared I wouldn’t finish what I start. Fear: it is not logical.

    I’m excited that I’m actually writing a draft. Also, I just checked out Mindy Kaling’s new audiobook from the library.

    Move to Florida! There’s a reason it’s called The Sunshine State.

  5. Listen, you know I’m one of those people working towards my own book deal … but I’m not thinking that you are complaining too much at all. Seriously, it is great and refreshing to see someone honestly grappling with all stages of the process. Writing is hard is something that I try to remind myself on a daily basis. It can also be fun and joyful and rewarding, but at its core it is also hard and this business is a hard one to be in. Sometimes I feel really guilty, because I’m getting to study YA and have all the free time to write because I’m not working full time and I’m in a great community of writers, but it still is hard and I’m not always happy – but reading posts like this one make me know I’m not alone in finding this hard (which I know I’ve repeated several times … but it is true!). So yeah, have the emotional reaction you are having and try not to feel too guilty for it. And don’t apologize for sharing it, because it is seriously such a gift.

  6. I think all your reactions are perfectly normal. (Not that I have a book deal yet, but achievement/success creates new troubles.) Your draft likely has serious issues, but I have no doubt that there are brilliant, inspired moments that sing and soon enough, the rest will match.

    Something exciting for me is I have started PiBoIdMo since NaNoRiMo isn’t feasible. AND I actually came up with one good idea that I’m excited to write (and many substandard.)

    Winters may be more forgiving elsewhere, but I can’t imagine you’d find people more forgiving than Minnesotans.

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