The Travel Hopefully Slog

A dead horse?

Posted in The TH Slog by mand Season on Monday 2 November 2009

I told you some time ago that if you didn’t see many blogsposts here, that was a sign things were going well with the Slog – all the words were going into that instead of into Travel Hopefully. I lied.

Seriously considering ditching this Slog.

  • A different, better structured, less linear, more emotive Slog keeps badgering me.
  • The fear keeps looming that even if i rescue this Slog from its mid-point sag, the seam will show for ever. Even in the work of experienced authors, i can usually spot where the go-slow happened. In a first novel with all its other shortcomings, surely it would glare out at the least perceptive reader.
  • I keep reading interviews with successful writers who habitually let go halfway through a novel to write other stuff, with no apparent ill effects.

The biggest argument against dropping it now – at least for a break, if not permanently -is that this was partly (largely!) an exercise in stick-at-it. Seeing if i could stay to the end, not only seeing if i can produce anything worth looking at. (Same mindset as got me through my Finals!) Another thing i keep reading is professionals saying everyone’s ‘first’ novel is actually their fifth or sixth, or twentieth. Just recognising that this isn’t going to be The One is not enough reason to give up on it now. I knew i’d go through doubt; i knew i’d have patches of being sick of it, of feeling incompetent to complete or even continue it; i knew there would be days and weeks (though tbh i didn’t expect months on end) of wishing it was all over, or believing it ought to be. I even knew some siren-like new project would beckon and solicit me, especially while the creativity was flowing well. So when those happen they’re no excuse for quitting.

I’m fine with temptation, i can put my head down and plough through it as if it wasn’t there as long as i know that’s what is needed. The difficulty is knowing whether this is temptation, or wise instinct, prompting me to change direction completely. Is the slog a dead horse… am i ridiculous to keep flogging it? Historically i am known for hanging onto things long after it’s obvious they’re going nowhere. But i’m also known for not carrying ideas through to their conclusion.

The question has been in my head for weeks. I took a step nearer to putting this Slog in the airing cupboard, in the middle of the night last week when it occurred to me i could still get a lot of material from it. The past year (yike! on Sunday it will have been a whole year) wouldn’t be 100% wasted if i turned parts into longer-short stories and suchlike.

{{writhe, writhe, groan}}


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