Feels strange, this non-blogging. But sometimes life works this way, yes? I wouldn't want to be accused of being, yanno, unbalanced.
At any rate, I do have something jiggling around in my brain this morning. I call it the "Stopping Point Syndrome."
Well, okay. Actually I just thought of that.
Bear with me, though, because I think this may resonate with you. Writing novels has a particular cycle. Basically, you plot, you write, you rest, you revise, you edit, you send out to readers, you rest (maybe), you begin a new project. This doesn't even include the querying part; just the writing.
At most places of the cycle, you've got something else right around the bend: You've finished the first draft and you're getting ready to dig in and analyze the plot before starting draft two. Or you've finished a revision and you're editing and cleaning things up before sending the manuscript to your readers. Or you're ALL DONE and have begun to query. That's when you set your eyes on a shiny, new project.
And the cycle repeats.
But. Set naturally into that cycle are some stopping points. As in, points that, if you're not careful, can trip you up. Sputter your engine.
Or tempt you to quit altogether.
Let's be honest. Sometimes it's hard to keep going. Especially when the rejections are pouring in. Especially when you've gotten SO CLOSE more than once, only to come up empty.
Oh, yeah. Especially then.
And it's infinitely easier to keep going when you haven't hit one of those natural stopping points in the cycle. When you're in the middle of something you can see the end of. When you're on a schedule and you're goal-oriented enough to push through to the finish.
Then you reach the finish of whatever bit you're working on. And if you're in a "hard place" (as in, a huge rejection slammed you in the face within the past 24 hours), it takes an extra ounce of gumption to push through to the next part.
"Okay, I've finished the second draft. Do I really want to go back and revise the other novel now?"
"Plotting done. Do I really want to dig in and write this novel?"
Or, in my case:
"Revisions done. Edits complete. Novel has been sent out to my readers. Should I quit now?"
Quit, as in, stop writing.
Quit, as in, let everything I've got out there come to its natural conclusion (i.e. rejection) and stop trying.
Quit, as in, quit.
Yesterday, I almost planned it. The quitting. It would be incredibly easy to do right now. The YA's query cycle is coming to its end. Sure, I've still got requested material out there. But let's face it. Despite glowing praise, the novel hasn't gotten me an agent. The MG's query cycle is getting ready to start. I can easily go through the motions of querying without really investing myself.
In short, I can stop writing. Right now. Forever.
I lay on my back and stared at the ceiling late yesterday, and tried to plan it. Seriously considered the perfect timing of walking away from this Thing that has taken over my life. Thought about how easy it would be to quit when I had absolutely nothing unfinished hanging over me. A clean break.
Then something unexpected happened. I started thinking about a new story. It's a seed that sprouted a couple weeks ago that I haven't acknowledged yet. It's been the "next thing" on my list that I finally, at this cycle break, have time to pursue.
And in the midst of planning to quit, I pursued it. Even mentally wrote a First Sentence.
It hit me when I caught myself plotting. I can't quit. I can think about quitting and plan quitting and even DECIDE to quit, but I'm not sure the actual quitting is possible. On any level.
I could be wrong. But yesterday's experience whispers otherwise. I didn't set out to lie there plotting. I set out to lie there and talk myself into quitting. For real.
Instead, I started my next novel.
So. There you have it. I guess I'm not quitting. Not today, at any rate.
What about you?