*I am looking for a reader of Carve to interview for the Carve blog. If you enjoy reading well-crafted short stories, head over to Carve, read a few issues, then let me know you’d like to be interviewed about your favorite ones!*
When you start to write a novel, it’s like the beginning of a relationship. You’re excited about your idea and filled with giddy feelings every time you think about it. You could spend hours with your novel, just rewriting those first few pages over and over. You don’t want to say you love your novel because it’s too soon…but you’re sure it’s going to be “the one.”
As you keep going, though, things start getting harder. Around page 50 or 75, you notice problems with the plot and inconsistencies with the characters. You start questioning things. What happens next seems murky, and spending time with your novel can seem annoying, or tedious. There are good days and bad days, but instead of the excitement of when it first began, writing your novel now feels like work.
You’re frustrated. Shouldn’t writing be fun? If this is the novel you’re meant to write, shouldn’t it come easy?
So what do you do?
For a long time, what I did was abandon my novel. From the ages of 24 to 30, I started and abandoned at least four novels, giving up after 50 or 75 pages. The giddy honeymoon period ended, and I didn’t have the gumption to continue. I thought it would be easier to start over.
Maybe it’s not a surprise that in those years I never had a real relationship either. I never got past the dating stage to where the real work (and real connection) begins.
But I’ve changed. Or, at least, I’m changing. In the past two years, I’ve completed three novels by sticking with them, through difficult and doubt-ridden times. And the same can be said of my relationship with Paul. Instead of being quick to give up and start over, we’re trying to work through problems as they arise. It isn’t easy, but I think, in the end, it’s worth it.
Because what’s better: a bunch of unfinished novels and short-lived flings? Or completed novels that might one day be published and a relationship that lasts?