Writer Recharge: A Meltdown and Refusing to Give Up

Writer Recharge

So, last week I felt in really good shape to meet my Writer Recharge goals. I’d had a number of trusted beta readers read through the first couple chapters of my WIP in preparation for my YA workshop at Djerassi. They all loved it and only had minor things I needed to fix.

Then came my workshop. The group liked my story—loved the idea of it actually—and really liked how I handled chapter 2. But once one writer made a suggestion to change an important part of chapter 1, everyone seemed to jump on board with rewriting the story. I know I should’ve been flattered that they cared enough about the story to want it to be as good as they thought it could be, but I walked away from the critique feeling like shit. Like the whole opening of the book was wrong and needed to change, which would change the arc of the characters and the story and the almost 60,000 words that came after. And I couldn’t understand why no one else who’d read it hadn’t told me how bad it was.

Then I went to my room and cried. And cried. And cried some more.

It was by no means a bad critique. The other writers were so encouraging and professional and downright lovely, not just about my pages, but about everyone’s pages all week. I couldn’t have been with a more supportive, wonderful group. I just didn’t know how to take their suggestions and make them fit with my vision of the story. I was overwhelmed. And the self doubt took advantage of me for a bit.

But what got me out of my funk and back to the keyboard was thinking about the Writer Recharge goal I made to finish the first draft this month. I didn’t want to let something that was mostly in my head keep me from reaching that goal. Or from finishing a story I love.

So, I went on a hike with Rebekah, who talked through some of the group’s ideas and then switched to fangirling and swooning over The Raven Boys when I wasn’t ready to face revisions yet, and I talked with some of the other girls over a couple glasses of wine and started to feel better about what I needed to do. And then I had my one-on-one with Nova. She was so patient and wonderful and laid out my first chapter on a table and helped me figure out what suggestions would work with my story and how I could change a few small things in the opening and rework one scene to add in some more tension. And I left that meeting with a new plan that fit so well with the story I wished I had thought of it sooner.

I still have about 10,000-12,000 more words to finish the draft and an opening chapter to revise/gut/rewrite, but I’m not willing to let this story go. Not now. Hopefully not ever.