I am not a patient person.
I try. I do, really, I swear I try. It’s just, like when I’m really really hungry, I’m going to eat it. And if it’s scorching hot, I will suck in a breath and eat through the pain. Sometimes, if I’m feeling extremely patient, I’ll stick it in the freezer for 60 seconds, but those seconds feel like an eternity. Most of the time, though, I burn my mouth and can’t taste anything for a week.
So, I try to keep calm. They say yoga, or meditation, but I’m an over-thinker. I close my eyes and find my word to focus on–Om–and then it turns into Umm which turns into Ummmmmm are we out of chicken nuggets? I should really get to the store. Wait, isn’t it supposed to snow? Maybe I should go now before it starts. Wait, I live in Wisconsin. I can drive in anything, but what about the other drivers? Is it really safe to be out there when so many people can’t drive in this? What if it’s just me? What if I’m the one who can’t drive? Like, when you keep running into awful people and you can’t figure out if it’s just your own bad luck or if it’s actually you. Oh, shit. Ommmm.
And so you see.
That being said, when I finish something I’ve been working on, I want to tell the world. I want to rush into it full force instead of slowing down, taking my time, perfecting the piece that will be put into the universe for all of eternity. There’s a sense of franticness in me that screams “Tell people! Tell everyone!” when I should be more focused on figuring out what the hell to do with this thing I made.
And so, I give you, Molly’s stages of Novelism: a term I’ve just created (or unintentionally and ignorantly stolen) to describe the mental process of writing a novel.
Look at me, I’m writing. I’ve written five pages. Wow, I’m amazing. I’ve totally got this.
DELETE. DELETE EVERYTHING.
Starting over. Phew, okay, now that I know how I want to start this, I’ll be golden. Let me make an outline.
Fail to follow outline.
Oh, my God! One hundred and fifty pages! That’s awesome! Let me read it and see how it sounds.
DELETE IT ALL! ONLY THAT ONE PARAGRAPH HAS ANY MERIT. HAVE YOU NEVER WRITTEN ANYTHING IN YOUR LIFE? JESUS, MOLLY! WHAT IS THIS MINDLESS DRIVEL?!
Undo. That was really stupid, Molly. You spent three months on that and then just threw it away. You’re lucky I have a backup drive in preparation for your psychotic outbursts. Sincerely, Sane Molly.
TWO HUNDRED BUCKAROOS! WOO! I’M SO AMAZING AND INSIGHTFUL. LOOK AT ME STRINGING SENTENCES TOGETHER AND THEMES AND POETIC SHIT AND, AND, AND…CIRCUMSTANCES.
Ohhh GAWD I messed up the time frame! Crap, this sounds like shit now.
NEW FORMAT! YES, GENIUS. THIS IS GOOD.
I suck. I am the worst writer ever. I’m not worthy of the page. I’m not even worthy of reading other literary works. Faaaackkkk.
Let’s make a new outline. Yes. Hey, what about all these random scenes you wrote forever ago?
I’m never going to be done with this. I suck. I suck. I am talentless and lame.
WHAT IN THE…MY BOOK IS DONE.
And then, it starts all over again with the editing and the querying and the deleting and the wondering if it’s even any good at all.
Enjoy the process, They say.
I mean, it is pretty exciting.