Keeping up with my horse metaphor I mentioned a few weeks ago, I’ve been struggling with something that very rarely bothers me.
The urge to quit.
Not writing in general, but a specific story, namely my nice tight contemporary romance I want to write. Oh, don’t get me wrong–the doubt monster always shows up at some point, typically in the dark moment of the story. Yet I’ve barely even gotten this story off the ground and the rats are abandoning ship left and right.
I have pages and pages of notes, so I decided to at least get a partial written. Then I can set it aside, think about the plot, and see how it’ll all stick together (or whether it’ll all stink to high heaven). So many times I get an idea, jot notes frantically, and then the story goes cold. Notes that meant something to me a month ago, suddenly make me suspect the monsters stole my journal and wrote in it instead of me.
I decided to avoid that confusion by writing the synopsis first. *laughs snorts falls over* Yeah, you know how much we all love writing synopses. Seriously, though, I almost always come up with a way to tighten the plot when I make myself concentrate on summarizing the key turning points of the story. Plus, I’ll have all the internal/external conflicts documented and figured out, so that can only save me time, right?
So imagine a great big seven-foot Wall of white fencing, foot-thick bricks, and a treacherous ditch on the other side. I keep trying to send my horse totem over that monstrous fence, and she shies away every single time. She’s refusing the jump.
Last night, I had at least three separate moments where I thought seriously about shelving this project. FOREVER. Like this is the stupidest thing I’ve ever written in my entire life, what was I thinking moments. I don’t know if this idea in particular really does stink — or if this is just a by-product of my natural reluctance to build boundaries and limitations.
I highly suspect the latter, so I continue to grind away on this synopsis. It’s too long. The characters are starting to feel flat and downright cheesy to me. I did limit myself very much in possible markets by setting the story up this way, but I wanted to really make this a difficult challenge. Oh, boy, I think I really outdid myself on enforcing all sorts rules on this one!
I’m going to finish the @#&%*@ synopsis, and only then will I allow myself to set this project aside. The exercise is important, even if I don’t intend to ever write this story all the way to the end.
I’m not going to let this horse refuse the jump.
Sometimes you don’t ride to win the race or take home a trophy. Sometimes just clearing the jump that scares the beejesus out the horse–but she jumps for you anyway–is the greatest victory of all.