Take time to deliberate, but when the time for action has arrived, stop thinking and go in.
- Napoleon

Monday, February 26, 2007

Hating Your Own Writing

Looking through my growing list of daily blog-reads this morning, I noticed a comment someone made about how they hated their book too much to read it again. I've seen comments like this before and they always confuse me. I mean, I can almost see hating the editing process. When I was slogging through the zillionth edit of Spectacle, it was like pulling teeth to get my brain to see a way to improve the writing - even in spots where I knew it wasn't coming together the way I wanted. Editing is hard work. But I can't see ever hating the book itself.

Maybe I'm lost in semantics here. Maybe all the writers I've seen, who say they're at a point where they hate their work, are actually saying they're having trouble with the editing process. When I got to that point with Spectacle, I set the book aside. If my own irritation gets in the way, it becomes a circular process. I can't see the problems, so I get frustrated, which makes the problems harder to see... And so on and so forth.

But to hate my babies? Ack. I hope it's just semantics. I can't imagine sitting down at my computer, spending untold hours of time on a project I hated. I mean, even those projects I'm not in love with anymore, haven't drifted into the category of hate. (They're patiently waiting for me to love them again, btw. And maybe someday I will.)

So, what say you? Am I taking the whole hate thing the wrong way, or do you really get to a point where you can't bear to read your work one more time? And if you do get this way, how do you overcome it enough to finish what you started?

1 comment:

Anissa said...

I'm not sure what others mean by this, but I sometimes get to the point in the editing process where I *don't* want to look at the manuscript one more time. But hate it? Never.
Like you, I put the novel aside. It's counterproductive to try to force an edit when your heart and mind aren't committed.

That time away is crucial for me. Not just in bringing fresh eyes back to the project, but in reminding myself of all the things I loved about it in the first place. That way when I get back to editing, I have a renewed determination to make the manuscript the best it possibly can be.

Great topic.