coffee session | i’m gonna start working on my novel again and i’m super nervous.

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(for le blog aesthetic / not mine)

You know how sometimes when you’re writing, the thing you’re writing is, like, so beautiful and perfect in your mind and you’re just like, “Yes, this will win all the awards and have a film adaptation and will make me super famous and people will come from miles to get writing advice from me, the author”? (#whyyesimhumble)

Well.  It’s happened to me.

In my mind, The Art of Letting Go (read more about it here) is pretty dang good.  I know it’s got it’s flaws, but – thanks to like three drafts and a ton of mind-plotting – they’re few and far between.

Thing is, I have no idea if this is true.  Why, you ask?

Because I haven’t touched my novel since July.

*cue freak out mode*

Before you get on me for being a bad writer, here’s the reason: I’m a full-time college student.  In order to focus on school last semester (including the four [+/-] writing courses I’d be doing), I put it down.  I just couldn’t justify spending my entire day doing school and then working on my novel whenever I had free time.  Daniella and David and Kyle and Matt and all of my characters deserved more than that.

So I made the really hard decision to put it aside.  Believe me, it was torture.  On one hand, I was relieved to not have it constantly pestering me, poking at me in the back of my mind whenever I finished school for the day.  But on the other hand, it felt so good to just take a break and not have to wonder if I had enough time to work on it.  I didn’t want to take away from my school or my characters, so I focused on the more pressing one – school.

Anyway, I always told myself I’d pick it back up when I graduate in March.  Turns out, I’ve got a big creative project to do for my last course (in addition to a fifteen-page paper and a slideshow) and guess what I picked to submit.

That’s right, my little novel.

All that to say, I’m going to Starbucks tomorrow to work on it, and every Friday after that until it’s finished.  (I’m finally one of those writers who works on their novels at Starbucks.  YAY.)

I’m so. incredibly. excited. to be getting back to that world – that oh, so emotional world that made me cry the last time I tried to edit it at a coffee shop. (#yay)  I’ve had that world teasing at the back of my mind ever since I started writing it (wayyyy back in 2014), and I’m always adding to its Pinterest board. (Click the linky.  I’m such a proud mama of that board and this novel.)

But I’m also nervous.  I’m so scared that I’ll open it, read the first few pages, and go, “What is this absolute garbage?!”  I’m scared that it’ll be clunky, unreadable, and, worst of all, a total waste of time.

I want to find an agent for this project.  I want to get a book deal for this project.

But what if it’s not good enough?  What if my characters are flat?  What if my story doesn’t make sense? What if it needs so much more work than I have time for?

What if it doesn’t sound as good on paper as it does in my head?

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is the scariest part about writing.

I can stare at a blank document all day long and not get worried because I know I’ll eventually get something on it.  I can give my writing to people and get criticism.  I can even publish a mediocre novel and then not talk about it for the rest of my life.  (*cough* Becoming Nikki *cough*)

But not knowing that what I write is actually good?  That’s mind-numbingly horrifying.

{I’d appreciate any feedback, but I’m not asking for compliments or anything, lol.  This was honestly just my way of getting my thoughts out while updating you guys on where I am with my writing right now.Thanks for listening.}

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16 thoughts on “coffee session | i’m gonna start working on my novel again and i’m super nervous.

  1. *cue meditation music* You are loved, you are important, everything will be –

    *Music screeches to a halt* Forget it; I’ll be real. Having (very thankfully) read a small portion of this work in progress, I have great faith in you. 🎶 Look at where you are 🎶 You’ve already published one book, and you’ve come so far with this one. I think you did the right thing in putting it (temporarily) aside to focus on what will help with your future goals. Now it’s time to pick it and start again.
    This WIP is a beautiful thing; don’t let fear of the unknown hold you back. 😘😘😘

  2. Yay! That must be so exciting – like getting your baby back out of child care or something 😀 I wanted to comment to specifically reply to this fear you expressed:

    But I’m also nervous. I’m so scared that I’ll open it, read the first few pages, and go, “What is this absolute garbage?!” I’m scared that it’ll be clunky, unreadable, and, worst of all, a total waste of time.

    You know what? You’ve not touched it for months but in the meantime, you have been (as far as I understand) continuing to complete a writing course and develop and hone your writing skills. I’d be concerned if you opened it and DIDN’T immediately see where you could improve because your writing skills should be better by now. They should be more refined, more polished, more articulate and so don’t be afraid to come back to a manuscript which was written with the skills of 6 or however many months ago and find it less than what you imagined it. Why? Because it shows that you’ve grown and developed as a writer. Your story might seem badly written / less than what you thought it right now but you know what? That means you can do so much more with it and craft it into something that much better. All the best with it!

    • You are SO sweet! That’s exactly how I felt. And I can totally tell I’ve gotten better because you’re right – there *were* parts that I didn’t like and could make better due to my improved skills as a writer. On the whole, though, it was actually a lot better than I’d remembered and I can’t wait to get back into it. 🙂 Thank you so much!!!

  3. Oh my goodness, Ashley: I love the Pinterest board so much! It’s words and black and white photos and … WOW!
    I’ve never been able to be the person who could work on their novels without things like school and relationships vying for attention, so I know a bit of what it’s like. Congrats on picking The Art of Letting Go back up! (And being a cafe writer!) From the writing you’ve shared on your blog, Ashley, you’re a beautiful soul with a talent for words. Sometimes, for me, it seems that the stories in my head will never measure up to what ends up on paper, but we have to keep going. One day, we’ll get there. xo

  4. Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh . . . I relate to this SO. HARD. RIGHT. NOW.

    This was totally me over Christmas break!!! I was in the same boat–I hadn’t worked on my novel since August (courtesy of that Grad School Thing) and I was really, really, really freaking out about “what if it’s completely horrible and I can’t even bear to look at it, much less FINISH it???”

    But . . . *wipes forehead* . . . that wasn’t at all what happened! Yes, the first few chapters could use some definite work (mostly because I was still feeling out my narrator’s “voice” at that point), but overall, the story and characters still have real promise and I’m excited about finishing it up 🙂 I won’t be able to work much this semester (haha), but I got a few more chapters in over break, and am returning with renewed excitement to the Great Game of Mind-Plotting. (Seriously . . . 80% of the work of writing, for me, takes place inside my head, before I even sit down at the computer. It’s crazy.)

    Anyway, all this to say *cue Angelica Schuyler voice* I’m SURE your novel will still be as exciting as you remembered from this summer!! I have great faith in you, and I can’t wait to see the finished product someday soon 🙂

    • Ugh. School. Who needs it. (I do.)

      EEP that’s so awesome! I’m soooo excited for you. 🙂 And I’ve been mind-plotting too! It’s seriously 70% of how much I work on my novels. (20% is actually writing and 10% is Pinterest.)

      lolllll. Thanks, girl. I’m actually sitting in Starbucks right now, taking a short break from writing… and it’s actually pretty good. Can’t wait to share it with you guys! I’ll probably post the opening page or two next week bc I’m super proud of it. 🙂

  5. Congrats on starting to work on your novel again! I’m not going to compliment your writing per se as you writers never seem to believe us common folk when we tell you how amazing you are. (I still find Becoming Nikki very enjoyable.)
    But by way of a little encouragement—you’ve worked on this book for over 2 years, you’ve written 3 drafts and made, I’m sure, thousands of edits. Some of us can’t even finish a first draft. The ability to pour that much of your heart and soul into a story is a rare and precious gift.

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