Getting the Gears in Motion

Everyone but me seems to be packing away Christmas decorations, evaluating the past year and making resolutions for the new one. Everyone but me. Other people are clearing away their mental and physical clutter, ready to dive with fresh determination into 2010’s challenges. Me? I’m less than enthusiastic.


Part of me is ready to move out of holiday mode and return to routine while another part is procrastinating because I’m not quite ready to tackle what’s waiting for me.


You see, I have two works in progress, both novels, one of which has been haunting me for months. I put it aside last fall in favour of making a start on something new during NaNoWriMo. Why I put it aside is perfectly explained in a post by Katie Ganshart. I swear she was reading my journal when she composed it!


She starts out saying, “I’m reading through my rough draft of Wishing on Willows. Makes my stomach knot up like a tangled string of Christmas lights. I keep forcing myself to take deep, calming breaths. I keep reminding myself that this is how I always feel when I read through a first draft. My reminders do very little. Panic has its way. It perches inside my chest and heaves like a raving lunatic. Can you really fix this? Is this story even redeemable?”


Oh, how I know that feeling! I’ve revised, reorganized, reworked, revamped, attempted to revitalize. I’ve done it all and still it reads like the pages of yesterday’s newspaper. Or the telephone book. Or an outdated shopping list. You get the idea. So I took a break from it. Now that it’s time to get back to work I would be happier returning to my newer novel but that know-it-all part of my conscience says I need to finish the other first.


Katie’s probably right. She says, “The only remedy? Roll up my sleeves and get to work.” I guess it’s time to get the gears in motion.


Now that the holidays are over what project is beckoning for your attention?



Published by Carol

A freelance writer of fiction and non-fiction living on the West Coast of Canada.

17 thoughts on “Getting the Gears in Motion

  1. I really want to get back to my novel. Really. But the kids are home, and you are NOT the only one who isn’t mentally geared up for the New Year. I was going to write some short stories; there were a couple of contests I wanted to enter; there was an article I planned to write…And here I am, reading blogs and chatting with anyone who’ll listen instead of writing anything that might count as working towards a goal.

    Oh, well. 🙂

  2. Well, I convinced myself to do my annual family scrapbooking pages this weekend (which I finished) but I really want to do some journaling for the girls’ books. Perhaps not “real” writing, but something that’s beckoning to be done.

    1. I read both the book and workbook a couple years ago but I’m afraid that isn’t doing anything for my motivation at the moment. Great books, though. His “Fire in Fiction” is what I’d like to read next. My daughter got it for Christmas.

  3. Sometimes everything I write feels old and stale. Maybe it’s because I revise as I go along and I’m sometimes on the same page over and over. Sometimes I think the only thing we can do is take a break and come back with a fresh pair of eyes. I have many unfinished projects that I was no longer able to look at and be objective about. I’m working on one now, at least adding a few finishing touches.

    Roll up your sleeves, Carol and dive in with both hands!! You write beautiful prose. Your novels will be spectacular! How can they not be?

    1. You’re probably right, Laura. I’ve been over some sections so many times I know them by heart! I appreciate your optimism about my writing but sometimes I find it hard to have confidence. I like to write. No, I love to write; it’s just wondering how it will sound to a reader that keeps me tweaking indefinitely.

  4. Might I offer some uncalled for advice, Carol?
    It is the same with painting, to a degree… Write ( or paint) for yourself. If you like what you have put down, don’t change it because someone who happens to read it might think you should have done it some other way. It’s your book! Do it YOUR way, and leave it qt that! With love,

    1. Good advice, and I know you’re right. Writing is an art just as painting is and art is very subjective… entirely personal. My problem with “Refuge” is that I’ve worked on it so long it seems stale and flat, much as Laura mentioned above. I kept trying to revitalize it, changing the point of view, fussing to make each sentence stronger and more effective, etc., until I had worked it to death and was tired of it. So now it needs major work yet again. I really want to finish it, though, so I’ll keep at it (and yes, do it my way this time). Thanks.

    2. I’m approaching the dreaded MIDDLE of my WIP. It’s definitely calling to me, but mostly I’m dabbling in research for it, jotting down bits of scenes, etc. Slow progress, for sure, and I know it’s because what I hope for this novel – what I imagine it becoming – is quite daunting. I’ve decided, though, that this is one I really have to write for me: write the book I want to read. I’m hoping that outlook will get the words flowing!

      1. It sounds challenging but interesting. Is it another YA? As Nonie says, doing it our way is best. Isn’t there a song that ends with that line? “I’ll do it myyyy way.”

  5. I agree that you have to write for yourself. It’s always nice to get a ‘thumbs up’ from readers but all of it’s subjective. Let it fly – get your personality on the pages & when you’re happy – be happy. Heck, you already know I’m wacky, so if you read my stuff, well, that’s just me! Personally – I have enough pressure dealing with my day job. There’s no way I’d make writing a source of frustration. Now get that MS printed out – grab a red pen & get busy. One chapter a day – one page per night – whatever. You can do it.

    1. Hey, you guys are ganging up on me! I have been doing it… for the past year: revising, rewriting, re-everything. Although I know I said it, I wasn’t worried so much about what other people (i.e., the public) would think of how I tell the story (although I know it’ll likely raise a few eyebrows) as I was about what agents would think about the quality of the writing. And I haven’t been happy with that aspect. I don’t usually go through this many rewrites and that’s what frustrates me, but I’ll have another go at it. I promise! I’ll do it. I will. Really.

      And I love your voice, Dave, so am anxious to read your book.

  6. I am trying to get myself to work on a synopsis and query letter (you can see from the fact that I’m surfing blogs just how hard I’m trying).

    I always prefer working on new projects over polishing old, and I’m all about writing multiple things at once. Can’t figure out why I’m not a NYT bestseller yet… 😛

    1. The synopsis and query letter involve as much blood, sweat and tears as the initial writing so I don’t blame you for escaping to do a little visiting. Thanks for stopping here. I’ll drop by your blog and check on you soon. You’d better have made some progress. 😉 If I have to work I expect everyone else to, too.

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