One Month Without My Novel

In November, I started working on my novel, Devil May Care. It wasn’t my first project. I have been writing a story called After We Waited for Ever since fourth grade, editing and scrapping and revising until my brain bled. Finally, I gave up on it–I had outgrown it years ago–and started a new project, what became DMC. On March 29, I finished my first draft. This is my fastest completed first draft ever. It is 110,600 words, about 330 pages. I am by no means done–I have a ton of editing I need to do. It’s like Swiss cheese with all the plot holes right now. But (half by my own accord, half because my sister knows how I am with editing and forced me to do this) I am taking a break from the project for a month.

Maybe that sounds impossibly stupid. But I know that if I try to edit it right now, I will get tired of the story, start hating everything about the writing, and sink into that pit of despair most writers call home. So I’m letting myself forget about the project, so that when I go back to it it will be fresh and intriguing. Hopefully postponing the I-hate-everything-about-this-project feeling I always encounter during edits. First drafts? Yay! Bring it on. Editing? Please, God, no.

But it turns out to be a lot harder than I thought it would be. For the last five months, every extra minute I had was put into DMC. I trained myself to avoid the internet and turn to writing. I’ve always written a lot, but with DMC I hit my peak of productivity. I spent spare time thinking of plot points and working out scenes in my mind before I wrote them. I always had the document open–it was a habit to just open it and read the last scene I wrote. And now–I’m avoiding doing all that. I haven’t opened the document in a week. If DMC was an addiction, I’m in withdrawal.

Of course, I’m still writing. Short stories that are slowly becoming longer stories. This blog. But It’s been almost a week without DMC and that’s just weird. The characters, the plot, the world I created were a part of me. And they still are, but less so.

Is it kind of nice? Of course. Writing a book is emotionally damaging and tiring. The mood swings from this-is-AWESOME to I-can’t-even-speak-English-anymore to I’m-not-a-writer-I’m-delusional are anything but fun. Being free of that, working on stories with less pressure, with no set plot that I can just explore, is great.

But if you think I’m not counting down the days until April 29, you’re wrong.

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