If Only We started out as a rough (VERY rough) idea in my head. I knew approximately where I wanted to go and some of the scenes that would take place. November 2011’s NaNoWriMo was a rocky road for that idea. I got somewhere, a place I had never been… 50,000 words…. It was amazing. And impressive that I managed to reach that goal.
Once I began to go through that now rough (VERY rough) draft, I realized how little I had gotten accomplished. It was messy. Oh boy, was it messy. Since I had a vague understanding of my characters and the plot, I kept writing the same scenes in different ways. It kept my word count going, but I was left with the task of filling in all the blanks. 2012’s revision process has been one-half revision and one-half writing. To be completely honest, it has been backbreaking at times to get through certain sections. There were some days I wanted to throw the words to the wind and go back in time to October 2011 and tell myself to actually prepare for November instead of dawdling around until the last minute.
As I look over all these many (oh so MANY) weeks of revising and writing, I can’t help but feel like I’m running on ice. I have spent a whole year attempting to finish this novel. A whole year. 365 days. Am I close to being done? The word I tell myself at this point to answer that question is “Hardly.” That word makes me depressed, and being depressed makes sitting down to write much harder. When writing becomes harder, you tend to convince yourself that your words suck. When you think your words suck, you wonder why you even bother.
Despite all those days of wanting to punch a wall or sob into a pillow, there is something that keeps me from giving up. Maybe it’s the fact that I am so determined not to fail. Maybe it’s the fact that I can’t not write. Maybe it’s the fact that I’m certifiably nuts. Whatever the case, I have come to a realization as a writer.
Here it is: One of the worst things a writer can do is over think the words. Yes, you want to write a good novel. But you can’t stress to the point of never finishing.
I have seen so many fellow writers struggle over the last couple years. A lot of us remain unpublished because we are wanting to share a perfect novel with the world. Even if you achieve perfection in a novel, you’re going to look back on it in a year and find a flaw. Is it worth holding on to a novel for a whole year to find that flaw before you publish it? In my opinion, it’s not. I have spent too much time anxious over If Only We. Imagining flaws that don’t exist just because I’m having a bad day or I’m comparing myself to someone else. The longer I worry about this one novel, the longer it will take for me to move on to a new one. And isn’t that what I want--to write another book? And another? And another?
Yes. Yes, it is.
I may not be completely finished with If Only We but I am not going to spend another year fixing it. It may not end up as perfect as my mind wants it to be but it will be something exceptional. Why? Because I wrote it. It’s mine. My story. My book. My novel.
And that is going to be a good feeling.
♥ Jessica Sankiewicz ♥