OK, not really. But seriously, what do you do when you are completely, utterly convinced the novel you’re halfway through writing is utter crap and you should just quit and delete the whole thing from your hard drive with no backup?
This is the quandary I found myself in this week. For the past 5 days, actually. On Sunday, I got to a very boring part of my novel. A part that will be seriously edited and whittled down and made not boring. I knew I just had to keep writing until I found the interesting part of the plot again. On Wednesday, I thought I was there. But I wasn’t. That’s when my characters decided to fall in love and I ended up writing a boring romance scene that’s going to be drastically shortened.
Then I sat down to write last night. I didn’t want to. I did everything I possibly could to procrastinate. I checked email. I checked forums. I watched Netflix. (Did you know that the series “Commander in Chief” in which Geena Davis plays a female President is actually pretty decent?) I checked twitter. I checked email again. Finally I pounded out about 500 words. Then repeated all of the above, minus Netflix. I was at my computer and darn it I wasn’t going to leave it until I had 1667 words. Even if I repeated this cycle until midnight.
That 500 word point was when my husband asked how it was going. I told him I thought the novel was crap and I should quit. He told me to keep writing through it. Then he went back to watching Commander in Chief. I went back to writing my crappy novel. (This is a wonderful way to market it, isn’t it? Don’t you all want to read my crappy novel?)
My point is, no matter how convinced I was that it’s awful, it really isn’t. I kept writing. I wrote 1668 words last night then stopped. Today I wrote 1744. And you know what? My novel isn’t crap. Not by a longshot. Yes, it needs some serious editing. (Any novel written for NaNoWriMo does.) But I’ve finally gotten past the part where I think it’s a complete waste of my time.
I don’t have any magical solution for when you think your novel is crap. For that I’m sorry. I wish I had something better. But when you get to the point I was this week, all you can do it keep writing. Think back to when you started planning your novel. Remember how you felt about it in the beginning. You loved the idea then. Don’t forget that. Just keep writing. Maybe you’ll write a lot that needs to be cut out. But if you keep writing, eventually you will knock yourself out of the crappy-novel funk, and you’ll realize again that it really isn’t that bad, that it isn’t a waste of your time, and that you’re glad you kept writing through the funk to get back to the joy you had when you started. Always keep writing. The rest will come.