When the writing isn’t there

I have some problems with the first chapter of the second novel. Big ones. I cringe while reading it, waiting to get through the first few pages now, because I know once I hit the second half of it, the thing takes off. That first chapter was, of course, the hardest. It probably has the least structural revision of the whole novel. But it’s not bad, it’s just got problems. I have ideas on how to fix it, if I ever do get around to doing another draft of it. Novelist doesn’t seem a likely addition to my CV at this point, but who knows. And if I do just end up dumping them online—gracefully—on my fortieth birthday, I won’t do any further editing. Not trying to get paid, not going to do work for getting paid. But with the new project, the way I knew I rushed into it, was not being able to get the writing good enough. I like constraint in nonfiction, I like the page requirement for the assignment—it frames the project. The new project was big, but it also took up space in another project’s sandbox. And sometimes projects don’t mix. Project not just meaning the subject, but also the writing approach. I had the subject, I had the materials, but not the writing. There wasn’t anything compelling me, which is fine for an assignment (because the grade compels) and it’s even fine for revisions, but that initial impulse has got to work out. Otherwise, why bother? Just because I’m not trying to get paid doesn’t mean I want to throw good time after bad. Wokka wokka.

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