I’ve talked a bit about my WIP on here, aka Queer Bookish Novel, aka QUEENS OF GEEK meets INKHEART. I started working on it last November for NaNoWriMo and got halfway through, then dropped it until basically this summer, when I tried to get myself to work on it again. I wrote a little bit, but most of my “working on the novel” has been planning and reading about how to outline and trying to outline but not really outlining. All of the struggle that I’ve had with this WIP has made me start to wonder if I really want to continue working on it or if I should just shelve it. This post is basically a compilation of my thought process about this damned novel that I’ve been trying to write in a lame attempt to figure out if I should keep working on it or shelve it.
I can’t decide: happy queers or sad queers?
Obviously if my queer characters are sad, it isn’t going to be because they’re sad about being queer. But still, I feel weird and kind of guilty about writing sad queers because there’s so many books of sad queers and not enough fluffy queers. I feel kind of obligated to write fluffy queers, and the new outline-ish thing I wrote of act I of the book is based on the story being fluffy. However, I initially envisioned the book as being sad and I’m having a hard time letting go of it because it was partially based on emotions that really happened to me after my friend died. I think I’m holding onto that so much because I haven’t had anywhere to write or anyone important other than therapists to tell about how I felt when that happened, and I feel like it needs to be told.
Thinking about writing it fills me with dread.
I don’t know if this is because I’m afraid of actually writing, which makes no sense because I KNOW that when I write I feel like I’m doing “the right thing” (no pun intended). Things just fall into place and feel right when I am writing, no matter what it is. It feels like something I’m supposed to do. But right now, when I think about continuing this WIP, I’m filled with a sense of dread because I’ve attached so many hopes and pressures onto it that I can’t let go of and just let myself write it because I simply want to write.
I have other ideas
I also have a couple other ideas for books that don’t fill me with dread because they’re not based on real life and I don’t have any pressures attached to them. I just want to try them for fun. I’m worried I’m wasting time on something that fills me with somewhat despair when I could be working on something that brings me joy and allows me to experiment with writing something not tied to my own life.
I’m afraid of finishing something
I’ve written only two half novels so far, and ended up shelving the first one, and am now thinking of shelving the second. My therapist once asked me if I’m afraid of finishing a novel, and I think she actually hit on something correct there. I’m afraid of what happens when I finish and all the work that I’ll have to put in when I finish a draft. I’m afraid of not knowing really what happens when I finish. I’m afraid of committing to something that much creatively when it might not work out or take me anywhere I want it to take me. I’m not totally sure why I’m afraid of finishing a novel, but those are some of the reasons that come to mind.
I’m kind of afraid I can’t do it.
I’m also getting worried that maybe I can’t actually finish a novel. Maybe I’m cursed to write half novels forever and ever. I’ve never finished a book that I started writing before because I haven’t been able to discipline myself into doing so, because I’m afraid of what happens after. This makes me wonder if maybe I should force myself to work on this idea, even though it’s starting to stress me out to think about it, just so I can convince myself that I can finish a book.
Basically, this novel is starting to fill me with dread and stress and anxiety. Thinking about it makes me so stressed and I feel bogged down with worries about it that are keeping me from writing it at all. I feel guilty shelving another novel, but it seems like that might be the right thing to do. I don’t know. Have any of you struggled with these things? Did you overcome them? Do you have any sage writerly advice for me?