Feels Like Failure

The liberation of Failure. Thanks J.K. Rowling!

I have not finished a first draft of my Novella, Through Brass Goggles, in accordance with my goal. I’m not likely to do so today either, since I still have at least 12k words left. For some reason, this novella just has not come together like I thought it would. The general outline I created flowed easily from one point to the next, and each scene has followed the progress of the outline with very little hitch, only a few things deciding to happen out of order, or become more or less important than they were on the outline. I enjoy the characters, I’m having fun exploring the new world of writing Steampunk, and the story is quite fast-paced enough to keep me from ever getting bored.

But for all that, I’m still having trouble writing it. I have sat down, every day (with a few exceptions) opened the proper files, poised my fingers over the keyboard….and stared at the screen helplessly, trying to force out non-existent words. Eventually, I wander off into homework, or the internet, or thinking about my next writing project, occasionally popping back over the novella to write another sentence, sometimes even a whole paragraph. This has led to dismal word-counts, nights of zero word-count and guilt, and a sort of sense of despair that I would never finish this project in time to submit it to Samhain’s anthology.

This weekend I finally came to terms with this difficulty, partly due to an amazing speech by J.K. Rowling I found on Ted Talks. Rather than continue to fight against the inevitable, I am going to accept it, and take a break from the novella. I’m going to finally let the idea which has intruded at every opportunity out, and pin it to the page for a while so I can examine it closely, and figure out what it is going to be, besides an Egyptian Historical…something. I’m also going to return to my first novel, Out of the Library (formerly Princess) and continue tinkering with the plot and characters (I’m not giving up just because it’s my first and therefore supposed to be bad. Someday it will be publishable!)

So, although this feels a lot like failure, since I did not, and will not meet my goal, I am actually fairly content. Perhaps this is how it is supposed to work out anyway. After all, there’s nothing that says I can’t still submit this work to Samhain later on its own. Perhaps this story was never meant for an anthology. There’s more to be told both before and after the current story-line, and having part of it mired in an anthology might be bad for it. In the meantime, I keep writing, keep pushing, and keep trying to finish something that I can be proud of.

Thought for the Week: “It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all, in which case you fail by default.” J. K. Rowling

Currently Reading: Emma by Jane Austen



  1. February 28, 2010 at 8:18 pm

    Good for you. You can’t force a story out of your head, and taking a break will make it so much the better. πŸ™‚

  2. Alex said,

    February 28, 2010 at 8:34 pm

    For what it’s worth, both sound interesting to me.

    Failure in writing can often mean success. One thing falls through and another project that’s meant to be leaps into its place.

  3. Alex said,

    February 28, 2010 at 8:34 pm

    Uh, that sounded kind of disjointed. Sorry. πŸ˜€ That’s what I get for typing while I’m eating.

  4. Bookewyrme said,

    February 28, 2010 at 8:42 pm

    Thanks Tasha and Alex. I have high hopes for the next project, and maybe in a week or two I’ll feel like writing TBG again.
    Alex, I type while I eat all the time. I feel your pain. πŸ˜€

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