Hi, everyone! I’m excited to be here filling in for Sarah Henning for the months of September and October.
For my first post I thought I’d write about losing steam while working on a novel and when and why it happens. If I lose steam during the first draft of a novel it’s usually because of plot problems. Either some part of the story isn’t working, the stakes aren’t high enough, or the scene I’m working on doesn’t move the story forward. Once I figure out what the problem is and get it sorted out, I’m on my way again.
However, the point when I tend to lose steam the most is after I’ve completed a couple of rounds of editing. I’m not usually able to stop myself from diving right in to the first round of editing/revisions after I’ve finished the first draft, probably because I’m always so excited to get started on shaping the story into something worthy of sharing with others. Once I’ve dealt with all the problems identified in the first round, I typically want to jump right in to another read through.
After the first two rounds of editing, however, I need a break, to put the manuscript aside and not look at it at all for at least a week (but preferably longer). The reason why I lose steam at that point is not because I don’t love the project, but because my brain gets overloaded and exhausted. That’s not such a bad thing though because taking a break allows me to come back to a manuscript with fresh eyes, to catch mistakes or weaknesses in the story that would otherwise slip past me.
So, in the long run, losing steam doesn’t necessarily hinder my progress. Sometimes it alerts me to plot problems or forces me to take the time to recharge my writing batteries.
Is there any particular point in the writing process when you tend to lose steam? Is it something that worries or frustrates you?