This last weekend was a nice little milestone, if only for the fact that I hit the quarter-mark of Ain’t No Grave‘s second draft. That means I wrote about 40,000 words in two weeks. Not bad.
There are good things and bitter things about this. The good thing is the sheer amount of progress that I’ve made, but the bitter part is that I’ve mainly gone over material from the first draft, revised it, and typed it back out. Better, yes, but it’s not like this is stuff I’ve come up with out of thin air like I did with Draft 1. However, if my suffering is of any consolation, I’m getting to the point where I’ve got to put together fresh material, so I’m slowly getting back to that first draft angst.
As I stand on the verge of the unknown yet again – the unknown being the fine details of the story I’m writing, though I know the broadest of strokes that go with it – as I stand on that precipice, I’m haunted by that question: am I doing anything worthwhile with my time by writing at all?
Let me clarify. Twenty-five percent of a 150,000-word novel in a couple of weeks is a pretty damn good pace, but it’s still a long way off from having it in print. It’s work, yes, but you’re still not getting our fifteen minutes of fame. That’s a frustration that every writer has to deal with. I’m constantly reminding myself of this fact. Stephen King pre-Carrie stories were found nowhere else but in shag mags for a long time. He hit it big.
His is the bottoms-up story that I always think of when I feel down. Every writer has a starting point be it King or Rowling or Twain. I guess tonight I’m trying to reassure myself of this more than I am you guys. Just remember: the writer’s who make a name for themselves are the ones with mountains of rejection letters. They’ve got the thick skin to put up with the trench work. The ones without all those rejection letters are the pussies who couldn’t hack it.
Don’t be a pussy.