I sometimes wonder if rewrites happen because the book isn’t ready, or because the writer isn’t.
Yesterday I walked into a children’s bookstore. Immediately I felt comfortable, relaxed, and inspired. But there was an undercurrent of something else… anguish? dread? frustration? No. It was doubt. Yesterday was a bad time to go trolling around stacks of beautiful, published books because I’m in the middle of writing a novel. And middles are famous for becoming quagmires of doubt and questions. Should I change some of the characters’ names? Should I change the central symbol to something else entirely? Should I amp up the humor in an otherwise creepy book?
Of course everything is worth testing out. Why not? Nothing’s written in stone. But at some point I’m going to have to make final decisions. I can’t work for several more years on recreating this novel while doubt and fear make it hard to move on, and ambition makes me take things a little too seriously. It’s a paralyzing combo, one I’ll have to conquer.
We’ll see what happens, because I’m going to keep pressing on. Of that, there is no doubt.