If you read my last post, you may remember that after all the blood, sweat and coffee that went into my NaNoWriMo story, I said that I didn’t touch it again for 6 months. That’s not an exaggeration. It may even have been longer.
I was given the advice to step back from my work after finishing the draft. This was supposed to help me come back to it with fresh eyes, fit for editing. Given that I had devoted nearly every free waking moment to this challenge, I was happy to do so. December came and went with its typical pleasant busyness, and I was able to put thoughts of writing on the back burner.
January and February passed, and somewhere in there I had a few passing thoughts. Katie and I still talked a tremendous amount about the world, but I could feel I was far less enthused. I still felt mentally exhausted. It made no sense. I had accomplished this great thing, so why was I so seemingly blasé now?
Every once in a while I would look at an excerpt, or Katie would mention a portion she had looked at. We had known for a long while that this was only a portion of our total story, so we checked bits and pieces against what other details we knew were coming later down the plot line. A creeping dread would come upon me that spring.
My story was not perfect. Obviously not.
I was a novice. I knew that already.
I wasn’t done. Not by a long shot, if I wanted this to become a published work.
I would have to learn how to edit.
The immensity of that task seemed all the more overwhelming than the original task of writing the damned thing. I listened to writers I admire talk about their editing process. Patrick Rothfuss (Kingkiller Chronicle) talked about the hundreds of rewrites he had done of his debut novel. It seemed absurd to me.
I think now that looking back on those few months, experiencing reality set in, I may have been depressed. Perhaps not clinically, but my mind was certainly clouded, and my mood apathetic. I had something that I wanted very badly, but couldn’t figure out how to get it in a way that seemed possible.
You know, I don’t say often enough how thankful I am for the support systems I have, primary of which is Katie. I can’t say precisely when my mood turned the corner, but I recall that a big chunk of what helped me out was remembering that this was supposed to be a collaboration. Her support allowed me to ride out the strange roller coaster I had been on emotionally; the high of accomplishing this big thing, then the realization that it was far from done, and finally the synthesizing of those two states that came from wrestling over whether or not this was really something I wanted to do.
It really is something I want to do, dear Readers.
I hope you all will stick with us in this journey.