Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Writing Wednesday: Writing Crisis

This weekend I had what I term a crisis in writing. I hadn’t written much last week and I was already stressed about that. Lately I’ve been able to finish two, maybe three, chapters a week, or around 6,000 words. Last week I hit maybe 1,000. It had been Easter and Liam’s birthday during my prime writing time and I just couldn’t do it. This past weekend I was certain I would make up for it.

Saturday morning I headed to Starbucks, ready to write. I know what the current chapter needs to be about. I know where I need to take it. I sat down, the beginning was in Sully’s perspective, then it would switch to Maggie, then back to Sully. I had it, but then I didn’t.

When I began writing this series I chose to write the heroine in first person, the hero in third. I have no idea why, other than the book I just finished did that. I liked the alternating point of view (POV). I liked that the idea that one was 1st, one 3rd, because it made me a little closer to the heroine. It is tricky, sometimes, to switch back and forth, but I soldiered on.

This Saturday I hit a wall. When I switched to Sully’s POV, I wrote it in first. Realizing my mistake, I went back and changed several paragraphs. Then I had my crisis of faith. Should both POVs have been first all along? Did I need to go rewrite the entire first book, and the 50,000 words I’d written so far to make that happen? What the hell was I doing?

I left Starbucks and sent Voxer messages to my two friends who had read my book already. They both told me to calm down, take a step back. I took Sunday off and thought about it.

Today I’m supposed to be driving about an hour each way for my writing group that meets once a month. I went for the first time in March, but had to miss in April. I need to be there, to talk to other writers, but I simply can’t. Too many track meets, too much going on, and I am completely exhausted. I cannot drive safely there and back when I’m this tired, so I have to skip. All day I thought about how much I wanted to go, how much I needed to talk to other people about writing, how much I wish it was closer. I felt stuck.

And yet, I left school feeling ok about my writing. I think I will leave the POV switch after all because of the reasons I wrote it that way in the first place. I sat today, surrounded by student writers, and was reminded of the fun of creating a story. My seventh graders are writing some short fiction over the next few days. During my last period of the day, I watched as they settled around the room on couches and chairs, keys clicking away as they wrote. Kids would whisper, “Mrs. S, come here,” and then tell me about their story. The room was filled with a hum of energy and I caught it, ready to return to the world of Sully and Maggie, to watch their story unfold however it is meant to. As has happened in the past, my students gave me just the push I needed. Writing crisis averted.

Now I just need to get some words out. Wish me luck.