It’s when I think my novel is shit that it’s really on the brink of gold. This is what I tell myself in the hardest moments, and I have come to believe it is true (though I have no evidence, really, except a feeling). Actually, there was a Facebook meme going around the other day that said “All great change is preceded by chaos.” So it’s true!
Here are some potential reasons why the hardest part actually produces the best material:
Maybe it’s because if we push through the hard stuff, then when things start getting less hard than they were moments ago, it seems like they are incredible.
Maybe it is I who is changing rather than my writing. Maybe every few months I have a lucid day where I just see my writing for what it really is. And it those days of insight that get me anywhere. Consequently, maybe I’m just sometimes very cynical (unlikely).
Maybe it’s because it’s true that all change is preceded by chaos. You can’t get a chapter re-written if you don’t throw all the pieces up in the air and then try and rearrange them. It’s those moments where they have just fallen that you think you’ll never find your way, but really, I don’t know, maybe you will.
Maybe it’s because every day I’m getting smarter. And my novelist inside of me is growing. And it’s realizing that this thing I wrote yesterday is so much less wise than who I am today. So I’m judging past “me”s, but it’s okay, because today is a better me than who I was yesterday.
Basically, when you get to a hard part in your novel-writing process, mourn about it for a minute, then work through it. I would think taking a short break would be okay. But then power on through. At the moment where you feel like you’ve broken through, then write a blog post, in order to keep that feeling alive inside of you until you return to your work tomorrow and realize, no, you’re still in that rut! Darn! Darn it!