Sometimes it seems like I tackle too many projects at once, but whenever I pare down and just focus on one thing at a time, I can’t focus on it. It’s like trying to look directly at one star in a crowded sky–it disappears the instant my eyes lock on it. It’s as if my brain needs distractions to function.
I have been working on two sewing projects while trying to clean my house, chip away at the novel I’ve been working on for over a year, raise two young children, and learn how to create sewing patterns using Adobe Illustrator. I was having some sort of mental block and the online instructor’s videotaped words held no meaning for me, but I pressed through and kept watching and reading, and something “clicked” and it’s all starting to make sense to me again.
I really hope that happens with my novel soon. I’ve written about two hundred pages, but have only been writing an average of a paragraph a week for the past few months. Sections I’ve written that seemed so full of promise a few months ago seem dull and mediocre now. I must keep reminding myself that this is only my first novel, and it’s only my first rough draft of it. It’s my “practice novel”. It doesn’t have to be perfect, or even close to perfect. It’s just something I have to push through to do what I have longed to do for almost three-fourths of my life, and that is write books.
I feel I should mention that my romance novel is going to be pretty tame as far as those sort of books go. You see, I want to publish it under my real name, and it would never do to have one of my aunts or ministers or (Heaven forbid) children read it and stumble upon a sex scene. I’m sure I could write a good one if I tried, but I’d just rather not. I don’t enjoy reading that sort of thing, myself. (I feel all embarrassed, like I’ve been caught spying on someone in a hotel room. Also, sex just looks really corny in black and white letters. Just my two cents). My heroine has fairly old-fashioned values and cares a lot about doing the right thing, which is great, but I’m concerned that she’s coming across as priggish or saccharine a lot of the time. However, when I give her the exact thoughts I’d be thinking in some of her circumstances, she reads like a real bitch. That may or may not be a good thing. Very virtuous people are often quite boring. I just don’t know if I’m a skilled enough writer to make her sweet, neurotic, sarcastic, sincere, jealous, generous, a little judgmental, and lovable all at once.
I’m not really sure what genre my novel is going to fit under. I don’t want to make it a Christian romance novel, because I’d have to clean it up a bit, and I like the swear words and unrepentantly bad attitudes where they are. Besides, I have read dozens and dozens of Christian romance novels, and only a few were any good. The obvious moral extractions took so much fun out of things. So, I don’t want to write a book that will fit in that particular niche. There’s no way my book is going to belong in the Harlequin bodice buster category, either.
All I can do is try, and chip away a few sentences at a time until the story falls into place for me again.
It doesn’t have to be perfect. It’s practice. It’s practice. It’s practice.