April 26, 2016
There are euphemisms for when your current work-in-progress isn’t. “The draft is in a plateau stage.” “Stuff is percolating.” “I need a little distance from the plot.” “Shut up, you’re interrupting my Gilmore Girls binge.”
I’ve completed three previous manuscripts. The first one I put away, the second was published, the third is out there gathering up, so far, rejections, and now this initial draft of a new novel is in what I call “the ugly stage.” As far as I can tell, the writing from sentence level to overall plot—ugly. How I feel inside while working at it—ugly. How I feel when I’m avoiding the sight of it—ugly.
From past experience, I know this is the typical progression and the yukky state will pass. Two things help. I show up. And I need to come at the work, at my life, from a different angle. For me, what works best is to go learn something. Once I took a drawing class. Another time it was a seminar on the Archaeology of Ancient Florida. This time I’m auditing an Introduction to Narratology class at the local university called “Narrating Ineffable.” Isn’t that perfect?
P.S. At the University of Florida, if you’re over sixty, you can audit courses for free.