My Novel Sucks. What Now?

I quit my job to write a novel. And I’m not a big risk taker. If I do something, I have a plan and try to anticipate all the roadblocks. Even as I outlined the novel during the final weeks of employment, I was already mentally preparing myself.

Disappointing, But Not Surprising

The biggest problems with my manuscript weren’t a huge surprise. I know from my own writing and my hobby of doing narrative improv comedy that I tend to create bland main characters. I know that I sometimes put realism and subtlety above entertainment and emotional punch. And I know I need to fix these things for my novel to be a success (however you choose to define that).

I Take Comfort In…

When you make the choice to do something you know is going to be difficult and frustrating and may never work out the way you want, it helps to have a few comforting thoughts or ideas to return to. Sort of like strapping pillows to your feet before walking over hot coals.

The Gap by Ira Glass

It almost makes you feel good about being intensely disappointed with your own work.

This video of Ta-Nehisi Coates.

You should totally watch the whole thing, but essentially: fish gotta swim, birds gotta fly, and writers gotta fail.

“Well, my novel’s not going to get any worse…”

Back on the Road

It’s kind of like I’m on a cross-country drive and I just finished the first leg, from San Diego to Tucson. I’m stoked to stop and get gas and coffee. There’s a momentary sense of accomplishment. But then I fire up the GPS again and look at just how far I still have to do.

Writer, musician, improvisor, recovering pessimist.

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