Sour Patch Kids, photo by Sarah Reck

What is wrong with me

I don’t know what’s wrong with me. Everything points to the fact that I could have had this novel finished by April 1 and now April 1 is tomorrow and I’m not going to have it done.

The editing is done. By hand, at least. I have one chapter edited that still needs to be transferred to the computer. I’m still missing two scenes and need to finish two other scenes. And for the last month I simply haven’t done it. I don’t even have any excuses. I’ve had the time. I know what to write. It’s not like I have to invent the scenes or figure out where they go. I know all of this.

I just haven’t written them.

That’s not entirely true. I started the “Grand Canyon scene” and have two pages filled in my Moleskine, written over two different writing sessions. I also started to finish the awkward car scene this morning (fittingly) in the car via Google Voice which is always hilarious. (A good example is that I said “geocache” and it translated it to “AG of hash”.)

(Update: After writing and scheduling this post, I hunkered down and crunched out the rest of the awkward car scene in the car again. Still have to edit away Google Voice’s hilarious translation, but that at least leaves me with 1 1/2 or 2/12 scenes left, depending on what I end up with…)

But that’s it. I need to write less than 3,000 words and I’m coming up relatively empty.

So I ask again: what is wrong with me?

Nothing, of course, except that I’m seemingly incapable of doing this. I’ve never had this problem before. Sure, I usually slow down toward the end of a novel. I get anxious about what’s next. I worry and fret about editing. But I always want to hurry up and get it done so that I can move on and get querying and then get started on something else.

I can’t start something else until this is done, because this needs to be done.

I am overflowing with new ideas and plots and characters. I’m itching to start something new. I can’t let myself because this has to get done. I’m so close I’m so close I’m so close — why

Every time I sit down to write, to finish this, I can’t. The words barely through. I imagine the scenes. I see them play out in my mind, watch them with my eyes shut as though my eyelids are a movie screen, and yet I can’t get my fingers to bring them to life on paper or on the computer. I’ve tried going out, sequestering myself at the library, at a coffee shop, somewhere where my computer isn’t with me and on. I turned off my phone. I ended up staring at the blank page of my notebook and then out the window and then at the chipped nail polish on my fingers.

But what I’m not doing is writing.

It’s so easy. That’s what I keep telling myself. It would be so easy to write 3,000 words (or less), read the book again, revise as needed, and shelve it away for a while. Instead, I’m letting this hang over my head. I feel guilty about not finishing it. I feel like I can’t write anything else until it’s done. Why? Because this is 75K words of my life that shouldn’t just be left hanging. What can I do with an incomplete novel? Nothing! I can’t do anything with it. I can’t query it or sell it or even ask my friends to read it. Because it’s not done.

3,000 words after 75,000. So easy. I wrote 544 words. That’s 1/6th of what I think I need. I need to finish this scene. I need to finish the Grand Canyon scene. I need to finish the side of the road scene. And I need to (possibly) add in another scene before the side of the road scene. That’s it. Easy peasy, right?

If it’s really so easy, why am I making it so hard?

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