Taking another stab at a project

I’m finally reading my novel again after 3 months away from it. And my feelings are…mixed. I’m quite fond of many parts. Other parts feel like they just aren’t conveying what I mean to say. So that’s putting me in a bit of a foul mood as I ponder how much more work I want to sink into this thing.

It doesn’t help that this has been a rough week. The 6-year-old came home from school sick on Wednesday, and sure enough, I had the same bug within hours. I spent the rest of Wednesday and Wednesday night battling it, and upon waking up Thursday morning, could barely pull myself out of bed. (The one upside of being unable to keep down even water? Seeing numbers on the scale I haven’t seen since before getting pregnant with my third kid. But I digress). 

I figure the illness has something to do with the dark light I’m casting on this project, so perhaps the edits will appear clear soon.

Or I’ll hire a book doctor.

But one way or the other I’ll probably muster up the motivation to take another stab at it. I think. How do you motivate yourself to take another hack at something you’ve been working on for a long time?

6 thoughts on “Taking another stab at a project

  1. Laura, I completely sympathize- this happened to me after I let my novel sit for two months and then read it. I was so disappointed while reading through! But after a few days of processing, I realized that while there were things I needed to fix, it wasn’t the overwhelming job I thought it would be. I took some time to make a list of what I wanted to edit, and having that in front of me made it feel more do-able when I sat down to start editing again. Now that I’m working on it, I feel great about the novel again (I wrote a post about this, too: http://leannesowul.com/writing-2/reading-writing/)

  2. I think the key comment was that you do like many of the parts. Try to take that feeling through to fixing the pieces that are not quite right. We always fixate on what is wrong but if you can get a good feeling from what is right, the motivation will come back to work on your novel.

    This next comment is not really on topic but I have to say I have really enjoyed your blog in the last year that I’ve been reading. I have had the preconception that to be a writer, articles and stories just flow naturally with ease and grace (I know it sounds cheesy). It has been amazingly eye opening reading blogs such as yours, to realize that sometimes it may be easy but mostly writing can be hard work. Sometimes we get a little too obsessed with “finding our passions” as if work will just magically become easy street.

    This has inspired me to start writing and am in the process of developing a blog. Thanks Laura! Good luck on the novel.

  3. I have been puttering with a novel for about two years because of a similar situation. I think I was kind of surprised after putting in the work to write a 90,000 word story that it would require so much additional work to make it something I would feel ok trying to publish. I find it’s easiest to work on it in small spurts, a scene here and a scene there. Otherwise it’s daunting to think about designating a big chunk of my work time to work that might pay off eventually but isn’t paying now.

    You were probably joking, but I feel like a book doctor would take away the satisfaction of writing a novel, at least for me. For me, the point is to write something in a totally different genre but succeed at it, and if I had to have a book doctor fix my novel I would feel like I hadn’t really succeeded. Then again, it probably depends on your goals and why you’re writing a novel in the first place–a book doctor might be the best answer in some cases!

    1. @Catherine – I don’t know if I was joking or not. It depends if I found the right person, I suppose. But I view most projects as somewhat collaborative. 168 Hours was shaped as a concept by me and my publisher — it didn’t come in fully formed. I think novels can be helped along by others too, sometimes in very hands-on ways.

  4. I can’t relate to writing a novel, but I can relate to building a software project or restarting a fitness initiative. It might help to think about why you started in the first place. If the same reason can motivate you again, you’re halfway there. It might help to put the work done so far out for critique from a trusted friend- that might put fire back into the project. Or, asking for a collaborator might help too – their incremental added value might cause the initiator to add more value to the project as well. Finally, reading the bestselling novels of the year might put you back in the mood of creating something of your own.

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