It’s been an exhausting autumn for me. September is always difficult, October takes me further into the darkness (until that blessed moment when the clocks go back and I’m getting up in the light again) and this year it’s been further complicated by my having begun a new job just over a month ago.
I’m enjoying the job, but it takes up a lot of my brain capacity, and by the time I get home I’m good for nothing but a cup of tea and an episode of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Nor are my (usually infallible) train journeys working. Part of it is where I’ve got to with the book: I’ve reached the point of diminishing returns, where the majority of the plot is down on the page, and I don’t have any big scenes left to throw myself into. It’s detailed work now, filling in little gaps, writing perhaps a sentence at a time. Those magic summer evenings when the words were dropping off my pen feel like a very long time ago.
I’ve been taking things easier. For the first time since I started this project, I’ve modified my goal and entertained the possibility of writing less than eight thousand words in a month. I’ve hit the fifty thousand word mark, and from here on in it’s as important to take out unnecessary words as it is to put new ones in.
The traditional storm of doubt has swept in. It feels as if it’s never going to be finished, and that I am going to offend all my friends, and nobody will ever speak to me again, and also it’s not worth bothering with. The infuriating thing about this round is that I now know that this is a temporary state of affairs, so I might as well just push on through. I can’t really allow myself the luxury of a good sulk, because it would feel ever so fake.
There are two things that are encouraging optimism, however:
- The majority of the plot is, as I say, down on the page. I’m using the red pen more than the black pen, and I really enjoy editing.
- November is just around the corner, and that means that my secret online writing group will be firing up for another month of cheerleading.