Now what did I say in a earlier post https://sarahpotterwrites.wordpress.com/2012/12/28/novel-writing-winter-nww-2013-survival-basics/about avoiding showing your work in progress to anyone, especially friends or family, and trusting in your own judgement?
A couple of days ago, while participating in the English custom of afternoon tea with my family, my grown-up son, Joshua, gave me a ticking off. Our conversation went something like this:
S : What if I write my novel and everybody hates it?
J : You’ve only been working on it for a week and you’re already doubting yourself.
S: Could you have a look at what I’ve written so far, to see if it works?
J: You said you weren’t going to show it to anyone until you finished it.
S: But it’s such a strange novel. What if people don’t understand it, or find it boring?
J: You know if I look at it and pass my opinion, you’ll want to know all the whys and wherefores.
S: I don’t want an in-depth critique. I just want to know if you find it in the least interesting.
J: Do you find it interesting?
S: Yes, but I’m feeling overwhelmed by how difficult it is to write.
J: Well then, write a bit each day, even if it’s only a few paragraphs, and see where it leads.
Yesterday, I wrote a few paragraphs, the quality of which pleased me, but then I spoiled everything by checking my word count so far. And what did I say in my earlier post about not obsessing over the word count and just getting the bare bones of the story down? To check a word count on a daily basis can prove as unedifying as weighing yourself too often when you’re on a diet. From now on, it’s once a week only.
Today, I dared compare my novel to those of the award-winning novelist Rose Tremain. Yes, and yet again I’m not following my own advice. The result of this comparison was that I temporarily abandoned my latest ambitious project and spent all morning reworking a few pages of my first rather mediocre novel (written twenty years ago), having decided myself incapable of writing a literary masterpiece like Rose Tremain.
At three o’clock this afternoon, I found myself floundering with the old work and returned to the novel I’m meant to be working on. Casting my eye over it, I decided it really wasn’t that bad — not as brilliant as Rose Tremain’s novels, but not as bad as some others.
Onward, I say…
P.S. By the way, I’ve started a page listing participants’ links so you can find each other. Please check out the page https://sarahpotterwrites.wordpress.com/nww-participants-links/ and let me know if any information needs updating, including adding any further relevant links.