Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Is it wise to take a break from your novel?

I've decided to take a little hiatus from working on my YA novel, and I'm quite hesitant about doing so.

I'm at that point in my editing where I feel like my novel is horrid and so far from everything I want it to be that its not salvageable.  Of course, no novel is beyond the point of saving.  It just feels that way.  (If you didn't get it, I'm at the "dark night of the soul" part.)

You can probably relate.  You don't connect with your protagonist (or any of your characters, really).  You wonder why you're writing the thing in the first place.  You lack drive to see it through.

Over and over, we're taught that real writers finish drafts.  They go through the editing process as many times as necessary until its right.  One of my favorite novels went through 14 drafts before it even saw an agent's desk.  We know that writing takes perseverance, and to be honest, I feel like a failure for wanting to just toss the whole thing aside and never look at it again.

Which is why I've decided to take a break.

(I should mention that I haven't worked on the draft for months anyway because I was moving.  Now that I actually have, I'm deciding to take a break.  But really, I've been taking a break all along.  Which makes me feel even more like a failure.)

I'm second-guessing myself.  Part of me says that time will do my novel good.  If I spend some time here and there thinking about it, perhaps when I come back to it, I'll be able to look at it with fresh eyes and renewed energy.  Another part of me says that I'm just giving myself an excuse for not pressing on and keeping my nose to the grindstone.

The thing that convinced me to take a break is that I have been trying to work on a few other stories (whether they be novels or just scenes, I don't know yet), but I've been putting those off because I feel like I'm cheating on my novel with another story.

So, we're taking a break right now, my novel and I.

I further supported my decision with the idea that multiple drafts don't need to be successive.

I still feel like I just let someone down, but hopefully I'll feel better later.

What do you think?  Have you guys taken a break and seen it to be a positive thing?  Or has your experience been taking a break just means the final break-up in a passive aggressive form? 

Trying to juggle life (marriage, family, friends, work, church responsibilities, cleaning the house, cooking dinner, etc.) makes it difficult to find time to write.  And not just time, but energy as well.  I know that writing comes second, yet I miss it.  It's like an old friend that I haven't seen in awhile.

At this point in my life, I'm a very depressing example of a writer, if you can call me an example.  Specimen would be a better word.  I do not want to pretend that I've got it all together and that I'm living out "the dream".  Because I've put aside "the dream" to pursue "my dream".  I know that is the right thing to do; it's just sometimes I'm sad that I struggle to include writing into the blessed life that I'm living.

Soli Deo Gloria.

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Related posts:
The Journey of Writing
The Test for Every Writer
Writer's Block Doesn't Exist
I Want to Be Courageous
An Author's Biggest Fears
Novel Update: Day 1169