Struggling to respect the process

(I couldn't write today because of a family obligation, so instead I got angsty!)

Kris Rusch is doing a series on why writers disappear, and one of the things that comes up in a variety of forms is that many people, once they start writing, discover that they just don't like it much. They don't like the isolation, maybe, or they just would rather be doing something else.

I think in a way that's one of the dirty little secrets of writing (or, I suppose, any art form)--being able to do it all the time is privilege that generally must be earned, but sometimes once you reach a place of privilege, you realize that it's not where you want to be. In addition, you can be very good at something and still not enjoy it much. (Exhibit A of this phenomenon is probably Douglas Adams, but I'm sure there are others.)

For the most part, I enjoy writing, and sometimes I enjoy it very much. Other times it kind of drives me crazy. In particular, my process is something that can annoy the hell out of me. I throw out a shitty first draft, and then I beat it into something approaching a decent story.

When you're cranking out a newspaper story on deadline, that's actually a very efficient process--spit it out, revise, and you're done. When you're writing a 100,000-word novel...oh my God. I was a famously fast writer when I was a reporter. As a novelist...not so much. Most recently with Trust I cranked out a 100K-word draft, and then I had to cut probably about 30K words and add in about 40K more. That took time.

So it's bothering me that Trials isn't coming out perfect the first go around. Of course it's not going to--intellectually I know that. But the irrational part of me would just love to be able to spit out a perfect third novel in, oh, about a month, and give it to all the people who have expressed a desire to read the next book. (I guess this is the problem with starting to actually find an audience--suddenly there are people out there who have expectations. People you could disappoint. Yoikes. Before nobody cared!)

But it's just something I have to go through--it can't be avoided, and attempts at aversion will just make the whole thing take longer. In addition, it's not like the first draft of Trust was a bust--one of the things I like about that book was how the A plot and B plot kind of merge at the end and help resolve each other. That was never in my outline--that was something that developed as I was writing the first draft.

Right now I feel like Trials has a lot of odds 'n' ends that aren't jelling into anything, or they're intended to become something in the fourth and last book, but I really don't want the third book to be one of those padder novels whose only purpose is to extend the series by another book (coughcough Order of the Phoenix coughcough), so I need to figure out what these things are going to actually do in the course of this novel.

And that's frustrating, but on the other hand, that's how it always is at this stage. That's my process--I throw a bunch of stuff at the wall, and later on, I see what sticks. It always works out eventually.