A Tactical Advance in the Opposite Direction
As you can see by the pretty progress bar I put there on the right, my WIP(B) is inching along painfully. For a stretch last week, it was moving so slowly that I spent more time crying on the bed that I'm the world's worst writer and I'll never amount to anything than I did actively trying to change those facts (that, and procrastinating by making pretty progress bars).
Sweetie's advice: "You can't write because you think you can't. So you might as well stop now."
Well, he didn't say just that...tempers were running high, after all. But it's the only bit he meant seriously, and that he would have said whether he was frustrated or not. Later, when we were too hungry and tired to continue sniping, he added: "Just put it aside and do something else. Don't think of it as giving up; it's a 'tactical advance in the opposite direction.'"
A Tactical Advance in the Opposite Direction (TAOD)—a trope that seems to have spread from the nebulous depths of pop culture—is a jocular way of saying that you're cutting your losses and running away. In my case, I didn't intend to retreat forever, but I needed to make a calculated escape to help myself in the long run.
Firstly, I needed to recharge. I had slipped into a rut of alternately whining and slogging through 1,000 words a day, which were probably of inferior quality because my full attention wasn't on them.
Secondly, I needed to step away from the Internet. The last time I posted here was a week ago, not only because I was soul-searching, but because I have made a conscious effort to stay far, far away from the blogs and reviews. They only make me depressed and angry. After the last one I saw by half-accident this morning (which once again opined that Elle was "a huge problem" and needed to be "[changed] to be more palatable," as if her immature selfishness was not the entire point of the book*), I'm swearing off of them. I mean it. No more sneaking onto Amazon just to get my ego bruised. Then I spend the rest of the day either fuming that the reviewers are blind or letting their opinions get to me, and considering that maybe I should only write about nice, lovable girls who get married in the end. Or commit suicide.
And thirdly, I need money. A single novel and a couple of 99¢ short stories by an unknown 20-something author with a head that makes her look 18 will not pull in the big bucks. A single novel and several 99¢ short stories, at least, will trickle in a dollar here or there on the weekends, until I can finish WIPs A and B and start saga C.
So last week, I begrudgingly listened to Sweetie and put the novel aside. I started another fluffy-ish Victorian romance (possibly Edwardian, since I may have spilled over into the 20th century costume-wise). Wouldn't you know it but the 1000 words a day stretched up to 1500, and edged on 3000 by yesterday night. And when I grew tired of that story, I actually felt like taking up my WIP again. A few days ago I finished the scene that's been plaguing me for weeks and started on another one. With my confidence bolstered, I feel like I'll be able to finish that chapter and the story both by this Friday.
The moral of the story: Less whining, more writing. And don't give my books away on LibraryThing.
* For the record, if anyone ever tells me that I need to edit Elle into sweetness again, I shall refer them to the bottom of page 78:
“Did you finish the Gone with the Wind essay for tomorrow?” Galen asked to break the silence.
“No,” I said. “I can finish it tonight. It’s just about Civil War stuff, right? Like how bad slavery is and whatever.”
Galen crossed one leg over the other and looked like he was suppressing a smile. “Have you even read the book?”
“Yes!” I tossed my hair over my shoulder and crossed my arms, thoroughly offended. Galen stared at me until I caved. “I read the first chapter, okay? I’ll watch the movie before writing the paper.”
Galen’s eyes laughed at me.
“I hated that chapter!” I defended myself. “Scarlet is such an obnoxious girl! She’s all, like, vain and manipulative. People should only write books with likeable characters,” I declared.