Novel Angst

I’m in the wake-up-every-morning-and-feel-like-a-failure phase of writing this next novel. This stage isn’t on any cute Internet graphic. I’ve never read about it in a craft book. But I remember it from the two times before that I’ve written a novel. Each time, I kept showing up. I persevered. I made it to a final paragraph. But this doesn’t offer me any solace since in the one instance the novel failed (as a novel), but the next time I ended up with The River’s Memory.

So I have no clue how this current novel-in-progress will progress. I’m too far along to just stop. But I might write for another year and not have a viable manuscript at the end.

Of course, I’m going to keep on despite this plateau of doubt and misery. Still, sometimes, there are glimmers. I reread a day’s work and find a sentence that just rocks. Or for a moment, I hold in my mind that needed scene where plot and emotion and the physical landscape coalesce. But then I drop back into a stagnant pool of dull-wittedness where I don’t think I’m smart enough to write this particular novel — that it’s beyond me.

Really, don’t worry. Tomorrow I could be over this and full of myself to bursting about how clever I am what with how the end of this chapter turned out brilliant, even if I do say so myself. You know, before I was a writer, I had this steady, secure, easygoing, placid emotional life. Yeah, that’s (and I’m glad of it) over.