The Post-Project Letdown – OR – Now What?
Posted December 1, 2011on:
I’m in a funk. I can feel it.
Maybe some of you who are just done with NaNoWriMo know this one. Maybe you’re feeling it right now. It’s the back side of the mountain that is a huge project, the slide down towards the earth.
There’s this manuscript sitting on my computer, and I don’t know what to do with it. I have no other good ideas for fiction projects right now. I feel burned out and tired. The thought of writing another word of fiction is excruciating.
After a few experiences like this I’ve become smart enough to realize, in my foggy way, that this happens every single time. This funk feels a little different, though. I’ve written three first drafts of books this year. Two of them are sitting in my editor’s inbox. This is the third, this half-formed, patchwork beast of a thing, and it seems out of place. Right?
It doesn’t sing to me. It just sits there. The words don’t have life. I don’t want to re-read more than a sentence or two. I’ve been considering storing it somewhere and coming back to it in a few years, or, better, ripping it into tiny digital shreds.
If you’re at this point: don’t.
What’s going to happen in a few days or weeks is that I’ll come back to it, see it with eyes that haven’t been strained into a blurry headache by a two week, 20,000 word sprint. I’ll think, hey. That’s not bad. I like that. Maybe there’s something I can do with this after all. It’s happened twice this year already, and it’ll happen again. I hate my stuff, then I fall back in love with my stuff and make it better.
There are already some ideas floating around my head for how I can make this manuscript better. They’re ambitious. But why write unless you shoot for the moon, or, better, Mars?
So yes, I’m in a post-project funk. I’ll un-funk myself soon, and that’s when the work begins again.