As my writing career has developed, I’ve got into the habit of pausing halfway through each project and taking stock. As part of that process, I download what I’ve written to my Kindle and read it back as if I’d just bought it on Amazon – it’s a different experience from reading it as I write it.
Yesterday, I downloaded the 48,000 words of a half-finished tenth novel and began reading it … and I didn’t enjoy it one bit! I didn’t like the characters, or the pacing, or the plot. Sorry folks, but the second book featuring Mungo is awful.
It should be said that I’ve had similar feelings with every book I’ve written but I’ve always found enough to move forward with – as Hemmingway once said, “The first draft of anything is shit.” However, with this tenth novel, I’m not feeling an emotional connection to it on any level.
Now, if I can’t enjoy what I’ve written, how can I possibly expect readers to enjoy it, and pay for it? Truth is, I can’t.
For that reason, I’ve decided to shelve this project. It’s a lot of wasted time but at this stage of my career, I’m not willing to insult all the readers who’ve supported me thus far by publishing something I’m not proud of, just to keep the money coming in.
This is a setback but it’s also an opportunity. I now have a completely blank canvas to work with and in some way, it’s both inspiring and liberating. I have a number of really interesting ideas I’m currently filtering and then I’ll start again – chapter one, page one.
What this means in practical terms is it’s unlikely you’ll be reading my next book until late summer. I’m really sorry for those of you who were looking forward to reading more of Mungo’s exploits but it just isn’t working the way I hoped. I could spend weeks and months trying to fix it and still end up in the same position I am today. At some point, you’ve got to accept it’s time to take one step back in order to take one step forward.
Thanks for dropping by and I hope you continue to keep safe/sane.