Writing Challenges

Sometimes writing a particular story gives us challenges. What am I saying? In every story I’ve ever written, I’ve faced one challenge or another on the way to completion. This is a good thing. With each challenge, I learn something in getting over the hurdle. Writing No Boundaries has been no exception… in fact, I think I have faced my biggest challenges with this book. During the writing of No Boundaries I had a lot going on in my personal life which made the book difficult to write because my focus was lacking. I felt like I was trying to build a house, and the tool for digging the foundation was a little plastic bucket. And it was raining, so with every bucketful of dirt I pulled out, more slid into the hole with the rain. Each thought, each paragraph, each word, felt like the bucket stuck in the mud, making the slurping sound as I finally pulled it free.

The odd thing is that prior to writing No Boundaries I had more of an idea of what I wanted the book to be when it grew up than any other I’ve written. I had a more detailed outline. I knew the majority of the characters, there were fewer surprises for me to deal with along the way. It should have made the book easier to write, but it didn’t. Or maybe it did, but I don’t realize how bad things would have been with something else. I’m still struggling with this book, but this time from a different persepctive. Although there are days when I feel like I will NEVER get the editing completed, I know I ultimately will finish this and get it on the shelf.

Now my digging has taken on a different aspect. Before I was frantically trying to dredge up what I could so I didn’t drown in the hole (or get buried alive or any other such drastic thing). Now, I’m still digging through this story… but it is to find the pearls I know are there. At one point through the process of writing No Boundaries I contemplated stopping, calling it quits with this series and announcing that I had been beaten (okay – maybe it was more than once). What stopped me was the story itself. It has value; there is good in there; I just have to clean the mud off. Does this mean because of all the difficulty I had in writing this book that it will not be as good? Absolutely Not!!! This book has a lot that I love, and I can’t imagine Katie’s life without these events. It just means I need to take the extra time to slog through the mud and dig out the pearls.

What are your writing challenges?

6 Comments on “Writing Challenges”

  1. I’ve found my most difficult drafts come from comprehensive planning. For me though, it’s because I’m trying to keep the story in a particular box, rather than letting it grow organically. I’m a pantser at heart, I guess.

    With every single draft though, the end is by far the worst part. As soon as I know how it ends, I’m tired of it. Bored with it. I want to set it aside and move on to the next book. Very annoying as it means my first endings always suck, and need a good deal of revisions. I’m not all that fond of that…but maybe I’ll figure out how to beat it eventually. Either way, as you say, it’ll get done.

    Good luck digging out your pearls – they’ll be all the more beautiful for the mud bath, I’m sure. 🙂

    1. Thanks so much for your comments. I’m usually an in-betweener. I plan things, but pants through sections because once I start I put my outline to the side and don’t look at it again until I’m finished. (and the outlines are loose to start with). This time, I had a more firm outline, I still didn’t look at it after starting, just stuck to it closer than with any other book so far.

  2. Girl – you weren’t kidding. Great minds and all of that because I’m going through the exact.same.thing. The image of filtering through the sand looking for the pearls is perfect because that’s what this heavy editing process is starting to feel like to me.

    I still believe the story is worth telling but my first round didn’t capture the essence of the story, the characters or the world around them. My first draft is messy, convoluted and confusing in places. The writing is not great, decent at best with glimmers of ‘good’ here and there. At one point I considered scrapping the entire thing and starting over but I had the gut feeling that that would be like ‘tossing the baby with the bathwater’.

    Like your MS mine is filled with gems that need to be sifted from the layers of dirt and put in their rightful place. Sigh. It’s awful hard work to dig around in the mud like this but at the end of the day our stories and characters will be stronger for our efforts – and so will we!

    1. I thought of you as I wrote the post, because I know you’ve been struggling. And I thought it might help to share so you’d know you aren’t the only one fighting the good fight to unearth those pearls. I’m nearly there with my process, but it is taking an approach that I’ve never done before to get me there. We learn all the time and each book is very different with the lessons it serves. 🙂

  3. My writing challenges vary depending on the day. And my mood. And how much coffee I’ve had. I think my most consistent struggle has been letting the thoughts pour out in the first draft. I spend a lot of time paying attention to details that can so easily be fixed later. I know that it will be easier to fix something after being away from it, but I still drive myself crazy. Everything in my first draft has to meet a certain standard before I’ll move forward. Consequently, I spend too much time staring at the screen.

    1. I have had those days of staring at the screen myself. Several of them on this book in fact. Hang in there – you will get through it. I’m living proof. 😉

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