Thursday, October 16, 2008

Go Big Or Go Home, Jen!

I needed a much needed kick in the ass tonight, and thank God, Jenna was there to give it to me. So, okay...when I started this blog, I promised myself to always be honest. We all love to hear when another writer is having a terrific streak of great writing sessions...when their stories are just flowing onto the page. But lets be honest, is that all there is to being a writer?

Ummm, I have to say, NEGATIVE. There are many bad days in the life of a writer. Today was one of those for me. And I'm here to share.

So, FI... yeah, I think it's pretty obvious that I'm struggling. I'm frustrated with myself to no end. I mean, why haven't I finished it yet?? I have this great agent waiting for it--a great agent who BELIEVES in me--and I'm dragging my feet big time. Why can't I just suck it up and push through to the end?

Answer: I have no idea.

So yeah, I had to have a little talk with myself today. Why is it that I'm struggling so much with FI while my other stories are chomping at the bit to be written?? Why are they coming so easily when getting an hour of facetime with FI is so HARD?

To be honest, I think it's a combination of things.

1. I don't want to fail. Lord knows it would kill me to turn in my revisions and have D.A. say it's not right for him after all. So, yeah...pretty easy to make excuses, drag my feet, and generally avoid finishing the blasted thing.

2. This one is hard to say without sounding full of myself -- but I've changed as a writer. Grown in a lot of ways--gotten better. I want to challenge myself -- break out in all kinds of directions -- explore new ideas. I don't want to tie myself down too early. Perhaps I have. I mean, how many people get a shot with their first book? Gah, I feel like such a heel to complain about such a thing, but maybe I needed more time to really figure out what it is I want to write.

3. In that same vein, I love YA. Love it. If I had to make a choice between YA and adult, I know YA would win hands down. Is moving forward with an adult series going to ruin my chances with it? Could I even juggle both if given the opportunity?

4. Life really has sucked the past few months. But again, I've let those excuses ride for too long.

So yeah, I asked myself a really tough question tonight. Would it be better for me--both personally and professionally--to give up on FI and focus on my other projects? I have to be honest...yeah, in some ways it would be.

Jenna took issue with this -- Thank God.

One of her comments really hit home -- could I really leave my characters: Drew, Gabe, and especially Maddy, hanging like that? Beneath it all, the underlying question: Can I live without them?

Answer: NO. HELL no.

So,'s a matter of going big or going home at this point. I have to finish. If nothing comes of it--if it never hits the shelves--at least I'll know I gave it my best shot. Even if it took me a LONG time to finish.

I vowed to start small and just keep working... if it takes me six weeks or six months or six has to end at some point, right? (g)

I pulled up one of the scenes that needed work and made a wonderful discovery. I've had all of these ideas on how I would revise it and lo and behold, the changes were already there!! Does that tell you a lot about how checked out I've been over the past few months, or what? Gah, case in point. It even had a wonderful laugh out loud moment in there. (g) I so don't remember making these changes, but that's okay.

Other good news: I finally located that handwritten scene that I lost a while back. That too has a great line that made me giggle non-stop. AND I discovered a new scene I had forgotten all about. Good grief. Put all of this stuff together and I pretty much have the 2nd quarter finished. I just need to stitch it all together. Guess what that means? A few more scenes in the 3rd quarter and I'm done. (Granted, it still needs some major revisions throughout the entire thing, but I'm not nearly as far away as I thought at the beginning of the night.) Okay, this sounds all sunshine and happiness, but honestly, I just needed a little boost to the ole' self-confidence.

I can do this. I CAN do this.


Hélène Boudreau said...

You CAN do it!!

You will finish FI, you will publish FI and you will publish as many YA as you can write. The world is your oyster, Jen. You finished frickin' LAW SCHOOL, you can do ANYTHING.

I'm pulling for you!

Tara Parker said...

What Helene said!

You can do it - look how many people believe in you as well as FI!

Kait Nolan said...

Hey look at how much you got done on FI while IN law school. I think it's natural for our inspiration and creativity to ebb and flow with our life experience, and for us to change as writers. Growing pains are natural and healthy. I can see your growth just from reading the early version of FI and BTPM and these latest snips of Stolen. But you'd be doing Drew and Maddy and (yeah clearly in my mind I'm voting for Drew because right this moment I can't remember the other guy's name...) a disservice to abandon them. So keep on chugging. You've taken a break and done some work on other stuff, now go back to FI and knock it out of the park!

Anonymous said...


Don't even think about giving up on FI. I will hunt you down...


Jennifer Hendren said...


OMG...excellent point about law school! And I didn't even enjoy that--not one bit. (g)

Aww, thanks, Helene. I'll try to keep the faith.


Jennifer Hendren said...


Thanks! I wish I didn't have these moments of doubt and well, exhaustion, but I should know they're pretty much par for course. Just glad I have wonderful support to help talk me off the ledge!


Jennifer Hendren said...


Thanks! Yeah, it's definitely past time to get down to business. I'm going to really try to buckle down...gah, I need y'all to whack me upside the head on occasion. (g) Remind me that I'm being an idjit about things. I keep reminding myself that I wrote this dang book once before--I sure as heck can do it again. :)



Jennifer Hendren said...


Yes, ma'am!!

Aww, thanks, Carrie. Sometimes I feel worse about the fact that I'm letting you guys down. I want to put a finished MS in your hands, and dang it, I will. Someday soon.

Feel free to thwack me upside the head when I get like this.


Precie said...

Jen--You CAN DO THIS! Okay, so maybe you don't feel the same glowing exuberance toward FI as you did when you wrote it. But it's still great. And it will be even better when you finish editing. Just get it done! You. Can. Do. It!

Jennifer Hendren said...


Thanks for the vote of confidence! :) I'm feeling a ton better today. The thing is, I always enjoy the actual writing's just a matter of pushing the morose "I don't know what to write OR this is no good" mood I get into at times aside. It's so lame and I know deep down that this is just all a part of my process. You'd think I'd be better able to cope by now. :P

Push through, I must. (How very Yoda of me.)