Writing in the dark…

It’s the beginning of March, and I find it harder and harder to get out of bed.

All right, so maybe that’s a bit dramatic.  But I swear, it is definitely hard to get moving. To do all the things I want to get done.  I have the second draft of my novel White Noise sitting on my computer, waiting for me.  I have a house that I’ve 1/4 decluttered — waiting for me to finish. I have a fish living in a tank that should have been cleaned ages ago, but he knows he will just have to wait. (Actually, he’s lucky I remember to feed him!) I have panel ideas to write, bathrooms that need to be scrubbed, and a TV room that looks like bears have been hibernating there.

In other words, I feel like I’m dealing with the mid winter doldrums.

This has been a hard winter, no doubt about it.  The snow came early, and stayed.  And then more came.  And it stayed, too.  And now, when we look out the window and see even more falling, my husband and I have taken to yelling incoherently, closing the blinds, and saying “screw it” to the rest of the day.  This is the first year that I’ve ever heard my husband yell at the weather person on TV. Could be a sign of age — or it could be we have HAD IT with winter.

It might be different if I loved doing all those winterish things others so get into.  Skiing and skating.  Flailing around in the snow.  All that. But I don’t.  Growing up, winter was endured, and I still carry that with me.

Yeah, I know.  A Canadian complaining about the weather.  That’s one of the biggest cliches out there! However, lately my writing has ground to a pitiful dribble, and I honestly didn’t know how to get myself back into gear.

Then this article by Diana Pharaoh Francis dropped into my lap (so to speak.) today. Thanks to David B. Coe for putting it on Facebook.  When I read it, I kept thinking “Yep. That’s it.  That’s exactly it.  Why didn’t I remember this the last time I was working on a second draft?”

I’m not dealing with mid winter doldrums. It’s second draft doldrums!

It’s easy to blame the weather.  It’s easy to blame the dark.  But regarding my writing — I am working on a second draft.  The beginning of the real work, when writing a novel.  Now’s the time to make this story sing the way it sang in my head before I put it down on paper and it laid there, gurking and not looking the least bit entertaining or enlightening.

And I’m dealing with all the fears that Diana spoke about in her article.  Every last one of them!

The cool thing is, I took real heart from this.  It’s not just me.  I’m not the only one looking at the words on the page and thinking “what kind of a fool am I to think I can actually pull this off?  Actually write another novel?”

So, I have decided I will take heart, gird my loins (whatever that means) and get back to it.  The decluttering and the cleaning and the fish will have to wait. (I promise I’ll remember to feed you, though.  Really.) I’ll eat Vitamin D like candy (kidding), remember to exercise every day, and plant my butt in the chair until this second draft is done!

But wow, could I ever stand a day with no snow.

Now here’s a question for you.  How do you get out of the second draft (or winter) doldrums and get yourself back in the chair?


5 thoughts on “Writing in the dark…

  1. Brent Knowles

    I have no idea how to get out of the doldrums (hence my surfing the net instead of finishing revisions to the novel).

    But if you figure it out let me know!

    – Brent

  2. admin Post author

    Brent, As you can see, I am STILL online — so it looks like I’ll have to fight harder to get going!
    Seriously, though, one thing that worked nicely for me last year (though I DON’T know why it’s not working this year, sigh) was making up a writing timetable for myself and putting it on a whiteboard, where I could see it all the time. Perhaps what I need to do is rewrite it (in effect recommitting to it) and then put it in a different place, so it will again catch my eye.
    Or we could all move somewhere warm. (But not right now. See MY comments to YOUR blog to see why doing it now is probably a baddish idea!)

  3. Nicole Luiken

    I agree about the second draft syndrome. I can blast out a first draft, but once I hit rewriting I slow to a crawl. One measly chapter per week.

    And with this book I decided to change my writing process essentially combining the second and third drafts. My second draft used to be all about the plot with the final draft mostly polishing, but I hated polishing alone so much I was dragging my feet. The combined draft is working better, but man is it slow! Six more chapters to go, which means basically Easter before I’m out of the woods.

    Keep on chugging!

  4. admin Post author

    With the weather we’re having, maybe Easter is a good time to come out of the woods! Re polishing: I feel your pain! I can get so hung up, I will dither over a one word change for a horribly long time – only to find out I changed the word to one I’d used in an earlier draft! Usually when I get to that place, it’s time to get it out in the air, and let others see it. (And then, I start fixing the huge plot holes I didn’t notice, while I was worrying about a word!) Billie Milholland called that “looking at the thing at the pixel level.”
    Good luck with your rewrite.

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