Feeling Defeat and Refocusing
Well, after a week of vacation from work I should be feeling re-energized and invigorated and happy with my time away, right? Except I'm actually feeling drained and in need of a refocus. Let me explain.
The day job has been grinding on me for a while, so after deciding I needed to take some time away, I finally did. The excitement leading up to the vacation was palpable, and I was over the moon with how much writing I was going to be able to get done over a week of not having to worry about work. It was perfect timing, since I was feeling overwhelmed with the amount of rewrites that were needed for this book. I'm excited for the story and I want to do it justice, so I was looking forward to diving into it. For the first few days of vacation, that's exactly what I did.
The weekend was spent looking into what I needed to start on, which was basically at the beginning and reformulate the entire opening of the book. I got that done by Monday, and was happy with the progress I was making. By Tuesday I was five chapters into the story, changing scenes and adding hints of backstory where I could to fully flesh out the characters, which was a major goal for the rewrites in general. By Wednesday I was halfway through chapter six, having to navigate the removal of an entire section of the story and replacing it with another, which required basically an entire rewrite of the chapter from the ground up.
Until then, I'd been able to snip pieces of writing from the original draft and change things here and there and fit it all back together, but chapter six was the first one I needed to start from the ground up. As I hopped in and got to work, I tried to pull pieces from the first draft, and I kept noticing that the writing and description I was creating for the second draft seemed...worse than the first. I plowed ahead, as I was reforming the scene anyway and would be able to find the rhythm eventually.
Sadly though, I never did.
I pushed through the passage that I was hating and gave up for the day. On Thursday I decided to take a break and let my mind relax for a day. I was on vacation after all! I deserved some relaxation.
Suddenly it was Sunday and I'd not made a single word of progress the rest of the week. Instead, I'd futzed around on YouTube and playing video games here and there. In general, being lazy and unproductive. At the time, I told myself that this was what vacation was for, and I deserved it, and to a point it is and I did, but looking back or thinking of the end goal of this entire writing journey, those are the points that I need to focus. I also think my depression had started slipping in and taking over some of my days, because I wasn't accomplishing the things that I'd set out to accomplish.
Writing - and better yet making a successful writing career - requires dedication and the willpower to push through those times. I went into vacation thinking, "I can live like a full time writer for a week, seeing how I would function if this were my job!" and I came out realizing that I would have failed. It's not a good feeling.
Now, granted, it was a vacation from my day job in an attempt to destress which, to it's credit, it did accomplish. At the same time, however, it added more stress in the back of my mind. So I think I'm sitting at a net gain of zero in terms of how much decompression I actually accomplished.
This doesn't mean I'm quitting. It does mean, however, that I think I need to find the correct path ahead. I think I need to go into this with a different mindset, treat it as a 100% full rewrite and start from zero again, using the first draft as a 63K word outline that I can build from.
And now that I'm back to work I can start the habit of working on it for an hour before I head into work. I can pull from what I have, I can create new things as needed, and I can go back and finalize it eventually. On one hand, I think my dreams of submitting it to agents are slowly slipping away, but on the other hand, that extends the timeline of publication.
We'll see where the future takes me.