The questionable 50,000 words

I posted last month about the semi-writing block that seems to occur at 20,000 words and I have reached a new dilemma now that I have written 50,000 words of my novel. I have now reached the point in my writing where I am questioning every word that I put down.

This is entirely my own fault, of course.  I couldn’t be bothered writing too much last night so I decided to read through the first chapter, just out of interest.  Just out of interest.  Who was I kidding?  I did the stupidest thing I could have done at this point in the story.  I should have just contented myself with reading a book.  But no, I had to read some of my own writing.

It has awakened my inner editor.  I was reading through the chapter and screwing my nose up at almost every sentence, my fingers itching to change the whole thing.  At least I wasn’t that stupid.  I managed to throw myself from the computer and have since occupied myself with things that have nothing to do with writing on yet another beautiful day in Melbourne.

Until an hour ago, when I decided it was time to knuckle down and pump out the words.  I managed 1500 words, but it was at a cost.  Every piece of dialogue I wrote, every description, every action, I was comparing to the first chapter.  I was trying for consistency when that shouldn’t even be entering in my mind at this point.  I should be just letting the story flow out of me, not double checking what the name of that town was that I mentioned 45,000 words back so I don’t accidently get it wrong.  God forbid that I have to read an incorrect town name in my first edit.

I’m also now questioning whether the story is really any good anyway, and why should anyone read this if it horrified me to read it.  Silly Kate, you should know that you think everything you write is awful.

The confidence has taken a shot as I step over the halfway mark and even though it’s all downhill from here, I think I may be wearing stilettos while doing it.  Tottering down, anxious not to fall and smash my face into the pavement.  Taking a few side steps to recover my footing and taking triple the time to get down that damn hill.  This is why men wear sneakers out on the town.

I’m now going to take a day to separate myself from what I read of the first chapter and hopefully I can steal some sneakers to get down the hill.

Moral of the story is this: Don’t reread your manuscript until you’re ready to edit.

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8 thoughts on “The questionable 50,000 words

  1. Aw. Man, I know them feels. For me, it is a bit tempting to look back, but my better instincts tell me not to. I don’t get so concerned about “wow the writing sucked earlier on” because I can make peace with that, but it irritates me to knowingly have continuity issues.

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  2. I’ve done this with two of my recent manuscripts. I kept going back and editing everything, but it felt like I was like sinking in quicksand after every reread. Then, it got to the point where I was just sick of reading the story over and over again. It’s good to finish it first. Do a proof read or two once you’re done then have some one else check it out. Fresh eyes make your writing so much better. Hope all is well my Aussie friend!

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  3. Pingback: The choppy 60,000 words | Kate Turville

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