I read a great book recently. A debut novel that made me think Wow! I was blown away. It wasn’t just the sublime writing, it was the story itself and the characters who had totally drawn me into their world over those few days. Reading it made me doubt my own abilities as a writer.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not throwing the toys out of the cot and giving up. It’s just one of many adjustments my writer’s psyche will need as I continue to learn the craft. I understand that the author has been working hard on his novel for years – much longer than I have. He would have had the help of professional editors to make his novel the best possible published version it can be. But still, he had a brilliant story. And obviously, a natural talent to begin with.
I don’t want to look at my manuscript right now. Maybe I’m just experiencing a type of procrastination other writers know all to well about. I’m flummoxed, because normally I’m inspired to write when I fall deeply for a book. Maybe it’s just the intense work I’ve been doing on my own manuscript over the past few months and all we need is a little time out from each other. Time to process what it is about that other book I most want to emulate and to think how I can tweak my wip accordingly.
The good news is that I wrote a short story for a writer’s group in-house writing competition yesterday with no trouble whatsoever. After coming up with a killer concept the words flew out. Beginning, middle and end. Backstory, twist, intrigue. All tied together in a neat little package that I can’t wait to submit this week. So, all is not lost.
About my full length manuscript, I do know one thing. I’m determined to finish it, even if it’s destined to live out its days in the bottom drawer, or at the bottom of a rejection pile. I refuse to leave a trail of unfinished projects in my wake.