So, I’ve been blogging about this for a while. I was writing something that I didn’t feel I was ready to write yet, so I jumped ship for another project, a YA paranormal novel that I’ve written in record time (so far). I completed 40,000 words of a first draft in two and a half months. Maybe most write faster, and that’s cool, but for me, that’s an amazing feat. It took me almost two years to complete a first draft of a project I finished last year, and that word count came in at 50,000 words.
But now I’m left with the task of writing an ending. I have 13,000 words left to go, and all the events are planned out and ready to be committed to paper. Perfect, right? Well, that’s what I thought. But why is this becoming so hard? I’ve chalked it down to one thing:
The honeymoon period is over.
I hate to say it, but it happens in every relationship, especially the special kind of relationship that an author has with his or her work-in-progress (WIP). The initial impulse for a piece is like falling in love. There’s passion and excitement and obsession. With my current WIP, it was all I could think about. I’d develop the plot in the shower, daydream about scenes while sitting in traffic, have pretend conversations with characters while I was at work. This kind of mania made me really productive for the first two weeks. But then something happened.
I didn’t fall out of love, but I didn’t feel maddening passion anymore either. And then when I thought about it, I realized that this happens to a lot of my projects — all of them, actually. I get two thirds through a WIP, and suddenly, I just don’t feel the same. I get a little bored and the haze of the high fades away. Because of this, I get over critical and insecure. I start rereading earlier scenes, and when I find one that I don’t like, I get nervous. I start feeling like maybe my idea was stupid or maybe I won’t get my good ideas on paper in a way that *actually* makes them sound good.
All of this leads to slowed progress. I’ve written a grand total of 2500 words in a little less than four weeks. I used to write that in a couple days when I was on the writing high.
So, what do I do? Do I take a break and wait for the inspiration to return to me, or do I keep trudging through, knowing that if I get all my ideas out I can spit shine them later? I’m leaning toward doing the latter, but I won’t lie when I say that I’m ready to move onto another project for a while. I think being invested in something for a long time makes it easy to burn out, and I already have a short attention span. I honestly don’t know how some authors do it. Committing yourself to a series as expansive and time consuming as Harry Potter or A Song of Ice and Fire must be exhausting.
How do you keep yourself going? How do you feel about writing endings?