How Writing Makes Me Feel

I've started a new WIP--the second story of my upcoming Covet series with Entangled. I'm really excited about this story. It's a little darker than what I've been writing lately and it's been fun tapping into the  more sinister part of my imagination.

So far I've written around 16k. I'm still at the very beginning of the story developments. I know this in my head: I JUST started. I still have A LOT of story left to tell. I sit totally freaked out about reaching word count.

I do this every time I start a full-length novel. Every time.

This is just the beginning of the many, many ways I'll mind-screw myself before I reach the end.

Want to see how my process will go? Well here it is:

1) The Oh-my-God I'm going to finish this in 30k. How in the heck am I'm going to stretch it to 65k?

This feeling usually lasts until I reach the 35k mark and realize I've just reached the middle of the book.

2) The more upbeat feeling of This-story-kicks-ass.

This is a very brief feeling. I'm feeling pretty confident about the story. Excited about it. Then I write myself into a corner. I always write myself into a corner at some point during a book. Then its:

3) This story sucks.

Which is quickly followed by:

4)  I suck. 

The confidence takes a nose-dive as I scramble to figure out how to salvage my story. Then starts the "pleasant" voices in my head:

5) My editor is going to hate it.

6) They are never going to publish another book I write. 

7) I'm going to be the laughingstock of the writing world. 

At this point I seclude myself in my bedroom, trying to keep my roommates safe from the snapping, evil creature I've become.

7) I finally finish the damn thing. 

By the time I write The End, 'damn thing' is exactly how I feel about the story. I've been put through the emotional ringer. I'm exhausted. Could care less if I ever see these characters again. In fact, I'd like nothing more than to write a second story where they meet their destruction.

8) Now it's time to edit the monstrosity I've written.

This is a long agonizing process also full of doubts. What was I thinking when I wrote THAT? Oh God, so and so would never say that? Do I not know my characters at all? For God's sake, Abby what were you trying to do here?

9) Final read-through.

About half-way through,

10) Hey. This is pretty freaking good. 

As I get to "The End" this time,

11) My heart swells with pride at what I've created.

You'd think all the crap I go through to get to 11 would keep me from writing. But it doesn't. 11 IS the reason I write.

Writing is hard. It's exhausting. But it's also one the most fulfilling experience I've ever gone through, second only to being a parent. The moments where I want to rock in a corner don't compare to how it feels to see my creation come to life, to reach readers, and give them a little piece of myself.

So what is your process? Do you have the "I suck" moments?



Angela Campbell said...

I go through everything listed here, with heavy emphasis on 3 – 7. It's amazing I ever accomplish anything, but the end really does make it worth it all the agony and self-loathing. Great post, Abby! I suspect many writers can relate.

Christyne Butler said...

Been there, done that!!

Great post, Abby! I agree with every point! It's trying to get from the "I suck" to the "Hey, this isn't to bad" that's the hardest for me! At those times I just have to repeat..."I've done this before, I can do it again!" over and over and over...

Well, you get it!! LOL!

Pamela Hearon said...

You nailed it, Abby! I go through all of these with a couple of my own thrown in. Somewhere I say, "Ack! 85,000 words isn't going to let me tell the whole thing!" That comes after the fretting that the story won't be long enough.
And then a year later, I read through the now-published version and say, "Wow! Did I write those words? Man! They're great!"

Tina Beckett said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tina Beckett said...

Ack! I deleted, when I was trying to edit. Sorry about that. Trying again:

Abby, I'm always freaking out that I won't have enough story, until I'm about three quarters through the thing. Then that changes to, "How am I going to wrap this up in only 10,000 more words?

And yes, I always think my writing sucks at about the halfway point (and once I send it into my editor I start doubting myself like crazy).

Hugs, Abby. Your story is going to be awesome!