I've been so swamped with paid work this month that I haven't had time to work on my novel (10-years-in-the making now and recently returned from two industry readers with similar remarks). I actually ended up taking a class recently (I had the opportunity to take it for free nearby, and figured WTF).
The class was supposed to be about the novel, but ended up being a pretty run-of-the-mill fiction workshop. The effect on me was astounding anyway. Must have been just the right moment because I had quite an epiphany, realizing I need to lop off the last 250 pages (many years of my life right there) and focus on staying in the story, which unfolds pretty well in the first 100 pages. (I got too big with the idea, not too small: also a danger.)
It's a huge thing to do, I realize.
It changes everything.
But I think it's right.
This revelation dawned on me in the class when people were telling this one woman that she needed to stop trying to write like writers she admired, and write like herself. Not that I have that particular problem, but I was imposing something on the novel that doesn't belong to it. A cumbersome structure, it turns out.
So, anyway, I am eager to push through my current dreadful, dull work deadlines to get to the novel. At the same time I'm totally freaked out about the economy and don't want my paid work to dry up. What a crazy balancing act.
I'm taking a meat clever to the manuscript as soon as possible. Has anyone else ever done this? I wonder if there are historical examples of a similar process. Anyway, wish me luck.