Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Cogs and levers

It's been a bad week.

I've been busy, things have happened that have knocked my duck off, as they say here in Derbyshire, but the main thing regarding my Work In Progress is that it's suddenly become overwhelming. Too big, too ambitious, too complicated, too many words. So I've backed off.

I'm waiting for some feedback from someone who's casting an experienced eye over what there is to date, and suddenly it becomes more important that I wait and see what she says before I go any further. It might be that the whole thing is a non-starter. With the new realisation that I have to address some fairly heavy issues rather than introduce an idea but then not take it anywhere I find I'm stuck. I've lost confidence, not in the story, but in my ability to tell it.

I'm stuck. It's not a writer's block kind of thing, because I'm not sitting at the keyboard waiting for words to come; it's just that the thinking has become too difficult. I find myself not even wanting to sit at the keyboard.

Do successful novelists have times like this?

It's as if this story is an elaborate structure of cogs and levers and all was going well; it was starting to whirr into life, and then I realised that I have to insert another big cog. As a result, the whole piece needs re-engineering and work has ground to a halt. The cogs and levers lie all around me, waiting to be incorporated into the new machine. It'll work better, smoother, and it'll be more satisfying, but... it's just not built yet.

The engineer is tired and confused and not feeling up to the task.

Normal service will be resumed as soon as possible, I hope. In the meantime, let's put the kettle on.

Custard cream, anyone?

Image credit: ashton_cogs1.JPG by doctor bob. Courtesy of Morguefile.com. Used with permission.


  1. I don't suppose I count as a successful novelist yet, but I had a similar thing. I chose to tell my novel in four different viewpoints and after two drafts I nearly quit because I didn't think I was a good enough writer to pull it off, but I didn't want to compromise and not tell the story I wanted to tell just because I wasn't good enough.

    It took me another three or four drafts to get it publishable, plus changing voices and the entire background of one character (among other quite fundamental things) - but it DID get there. If you love the story enough to want to tell it, keep telling it!

    1. Chloe, you absolutely count as a successful novelist! 'The Art of Letting Go' is on my To Read pile even as we speak....
      Thanks so much for the encouragement. It means a lot to know that people get all tangled up and still manage to come out the other side. Thank you.