Ordered Rest Due to Meltdown



If you’ve read any of my journal entries in the last little while, you’ll know I’ve been working pretty hard on the third draft of my novel.

Yesterday I had a novel meltdown. I even went for an hour walk to clear my head, did NOT help.

I’ve redone the entire thing in third person. I’ve started adding the second storyline. That’s all good.

But I was in complete anguish over the novel as a whole! I’ve been debating with myself whether to scrap the entire thing or not, the problems seem too insurmountable to fix!! The problem for me seems to be having too many subplots without focusing on a main plot, and I’m really REALLY pissed at myself for having written what in my mind right now, is such a piece of crap that I can’t fix it.

So I emailed my mentor Diana Rowland –  (author of Mark of the Demon!!) and she, as always, had some EXCELLENT advice for me, which she has graciously agreed to let me share with you. Here’s a few of the best bits, for any of you who have ever felt like I did yesterday, I’m sure it will help you as much as it helped me.

"Okay. First off, step away from the computer. Errr..  not right now, because you should read the rest of what I have to say…LOL"

"How about, step AWAY from the novel. You have overtrained and torn your write-isimus maximus. I am now going to forbid you to work on your book for ONE WHOLE WEEK!"

"Go fill your well back up. Read, watch movies, torture your training clients. If you come up with brilliant ideas for your book, you can jot down notes, but that’s it."

"But, also, don’t beat yourself up over this. EVERY SINGLE WRITER I KNOW goes through the “meltdown” phase, where the book is such a complete ******ing garbled mess that they’re convinced that there’s no possible way that it can ever be salvaged. It can be. Really. But you have to get some distance from it first. J"

"…this article http://zenhabits.net/2009/09/the-world-needs-you-to-do-what-you-love/  is kinda ultra-sappy and new-agey, but it’s pretty true as well.  Especially #7. You’re a writer. It’s cool. "

Thus, I am on a break for a bit! I will still let things simmer in my brain and make notes, but that’s it. Then, on Diana’s advice, without looking at what I already have, I’ll be doing "a chapter-by-chapter synopsis of what you want the book to be."  I am allowed to blog, however, so you may see some random topic posts from me in the next week while I detox from my novel. 🙂

I feel so lucky to have Diana to help me, and I hope posting this will help others. If you want to say thanks, go out and buy a copy of her book, Mark of the Demon

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12 Comments

Filed under Advice for Writers from the Pros!

12 responses to “Ordered Rest Due to Meltdown

  1. A break sounds like a good idea. I betcha soon a flash on inspiration will come when you least expect it and when you’re not looking for it. Keep us posted, Sandra. 🙂

  2. Thanks for the encouragement! I hope you’re right and I’m sure I’ll share all the mental madness details. 😉

  3. Good advice. It’s always smart to recharge your creative batteries and avoid burnout. *nods*

  4. Yeah, taking a break is a good thing to do. Especially, when it looks like the writing is getting the best of you.
    Did you know Stephen King had thrown Carrie in the trash? His wife pulled it out and convinced him to continue writing it.
    So, keep yer head up 🙂

  5. No!
    I did NOT know that!! Thank you for sharing that awesome Stephen King fact with me. I feel MUCH better now! 😉

  6. Thanks, okay..here’s to recharging..!

  7. “a chapter-by-chapter synopsis of what you want the book to be.”
    That is a really good suggestion, I do it all the time and it helps with narrowing and focusing the plot.
    Which, by the sounds of your email, almost had you pulling your hair our.
    Remember, deep cleansing breath….

  8. Sounds like great advice.
    Thanks for sharing 🙂

  9. You’re welcome!Helping others is the fun part.. 😉

  10. Thanks, I’m definitely taking it easy..will email you with a short story soon.
    *breathes in slowly, exhales slowly*
    Thanks! 😉

  11. This makes me feel better. Neil Gaiman told me that about two-thirds into every novel he writes, he’s convinced it’s complete crap. But he pushes through, and it works out in the end. If it happens to him. . .
    Hang in there! You’re doing great!

  12. Hey Shaun!
    Thanks so much, the rest is doing me some good, I think..some ideas seem to be surfacing and sorting themselves out.
    Welcome to LiveJournal btw!!

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