This week’s theme is ‘Preserving It: keeping the flame alive for a WIP’ (Note to my Mom: WIP is short for Work In Progress). I’m sure anyone here reading this knows that writing is work. Hard work, and that means sometimes it’s a frustrating slog and you just want to chuck it. I’ve definitely been there. As you may have gathered from last week’s post and how many unpublished projects I have languishing under my bed, I’m a work it and move on kind of girl, so it’s not really my style to work and work and work on a project (although I finish more than I don’t, something I’m pretty proud of). I bore fairly easily, which also might explain why a lot of my books are about very different things (except the romance stuff, because I NEVER tire of love stories). So digging in and working on a WIP over several drafts can be very tough for me.
And it’s not that I tire of my characters, because I love them all, even the rotten ones (maybe I even love the rotten ones a tiny bit more). But I get tired of reading the same stuff over and over until it feels like my eyes will start bleeding and I no longer have any sort of distance or objectivity. And there’s this weird imprinting phenomenon that seems to happen to me, where when I write a book, it imprints in my head and later on, if I cut out scenes, I still remember them as being in the book. So going back to edit seems extra hard because I honestly don’t know what’s in there anymore. A few weeks ago, I had to ask my husband if a particular scene was in SMALL MEDIUM AT LARGE because I couldn’t remember if it made it into the final cut of the book—turns out it was in the YA version, but never made it into the MG one, but I still remembered it as being there. How crazy is that? you say. And it is crazy, but my brain just ain’t what it used to be. This is my writing handicap and might explain why I hate shoehorning stuff in and out of drafts—it totally screws with my head. Anyone else have this problem?
So how do I keep the flame alive when I’m struggling with editing a WIP (because I almost never struggle when drafting—to me, that’s the VERY BEST part of writing, where all the joy and discovery are)? Well, I think the brightest and hottest flame that burns inside me isn’t for a particular WIP or even for a character or scene, but for my dream of being a career author. When I think about how much work writing and re-writing and editing is, I remind myself that it’s still the only thing I want to do, the only job I’ve ever had that I truly love and have a passion for, despite how freaking hard it can be. That gets me going. That keeps me going day in and day out. And like they always say, if it was easy, it wouldn’t be worth doing. Now, I really need to get back to that WIP, so I’ll leave you with a question: what part of writing makes you lose your flame or makes it flicker?