I think T. S. Eliot got it right when he wrote, “April is the cruelest month.” It certainly hasn’t been particularly kind to me, and it’s been busy to boot. I cannot wait for May, if only for the clean slate of the new month will bring.
I had high hopes for my writing in April. I was going to finish my revisions. Spoiler alert: I didn’t. However, I did learn a valuable lesson, so I guess the month hasn’t been wasted. It just feels like I accomplished a whole lot of nothing. Unless staring at my WIP and wishing it would work counts as something.
Funny thing is, if I hadn’t spent hours being frustrated and “wrote through it” instead, I wouldn’t have been granted a lovely little epiphany today. Sometimes when you get stuck on a scene, it’s because the scene is hard and genuinely difficult to write. Sometimes it’s because you, the writer, are being lazy. And sometimes it’s because you are bored.
Reader, I was bored. Not so much by my characters, but by the few scenes I was stuck writing over and over again in a self-inflicted sort of Groundhog Day. I had no desire to continue writing and avoided it when I could because it was so, well, not interesting to me. I figured I was being lazy and kept trying to move ahead, only to run into problems every time I changed something. Of course, I never changed anything too much because I wanted to be done with the revisions by the end of April. Also, I reasoned that if I changed my entire middle, I would ruin things beyond repair. Or that’s what I told myself.
One fact about writing a novel: if it’s not fun to write, then you can pretty much bet it probably isn’t fun to read. In other words, this boredom that overcame me was my subconscious saying, “YOU’RE DOING THE WRONG THING HERE!” I ignored it for a month and tried to keep writing anyway. Insight isn’t my strong suit.
Then today, when I was think of leaving my WIP for another (despite the fact the other WIP is much more of a mess and doesn’t have a real plot yet), it hit me. The novel I’ve been working on is a story I love, one I have to write. Where did that spark go? Could I be wanting to jump ship out of boredom?
The answer appears to be, “yes.” So, I’m rethinking my middle, throwing out what doesn’t keep me interested and adding things that do. I’m probably going to make a glorious mess again. I probably won’t finish revising in May. But at least it will be an interesting mess, and that’s one step in the right direction.