Part of that, I think, has to do with the fact that the rewrite hasn't been a regular part of my days lately. The gap between when I worked on it last to when I work on it next might be two days or two weeks (or --*shamefaced*-- two months); either way, letting it sit between editing sessions means that each time I tackle it again, I have to think my way back into the story. This wastes time, and it makes the work feel much scarier than it is.
More than that, though, when I finally do force my way back into the life of the characters I love, I bring with me such a weight of my own expectations and pressures that the result is almost paralysing. This has to be amazing. This has to be brilliant. This has to be good enough to be published. I bet Harper Lee had no pathetic manuscripts lying around her study. Oh no! This is not amazing. It's lame. I can't write! FOR PETE'S SAKE WHAT ON EARTH AM I DOING?
It's like my own dreams and desires cripple the work. Self-sabotage? I'm an expert, and I'm left picking away at my story and feeling like I'm dragging a haycart up hill: taking forever to get nowhere. Then comes the volley of the next round of expectations, the comparison with the mythical wonder-writer. Real writers don't feel like this. Real writers are swept along by their own stories. Real writers get there quicker. Oh, there's quite the saga going on in my foolish little brain.
This week I read something which reminded me that it's okay. All of it. It's okay for the work to feel hard. It's okay for it to hurt. It's okay if I don't know what I'm doing. It's okay if it takes hours. What matters is putting in the time and doing the work. I can't predict whether I will ever be any good at this, but I can try to be good. And if it's not all plain sailing on a sea of sparkling inspiration, it doesn't matter. When there is no wind, row.
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Katie -- I'm doing some really exciting subjects this year; I'll post about them soon and go on a schoolish rant.
Samantha R -- who knew you could paint with a brush in each hand? ;)