A Writer’s Log – Post 6: Fatigue

Number of words today: 6000

Number of lifetime words: 2195000

Two stories (1000 words) away from finishing Volume 15 of 2002 Lesser Known Tales. All going well, I should be publishing it tomorrow, and it should be ready for purchase the day after. (As a writer who got his break in traditional publishing, whose first book had to wait eighteen months after contract-signing to come out, this sort of timeline is just crazy. In a good way.)

For those of you who don’t know, Lesser Known Tales has a planned forty volumes in it. Each volume has (roughly) fifty stories. So the total comes to around 2000. The idea is to distill the Mahabharata in accessible form for anyone who would like to read it, without the fluff.

Now, with 15 down and 25 more to go, I’m beginning to feel the first signs of fatigue. My brain is thinking up all sorts of excuses why I should abandon this project mid-way and get onto other things. ‘You can always come back to it next year,’ it tells me.

More than anything, I miss writing fiction. While there is joy in discovering the Mahabharata and sharing it with fellow enthusiasts, it has been a while since I felt that naked rush of creating something. (Okay, not that long. Maybe six months?) And as you can imagine, my brain has been throwing up idea after idea to lure me away from this million-word behemoth I’ve been tackling.

This is where the dilemma arises: do I (a) act like a professional and power through to the end (which should come around the end of October 2018), or (b) reason that if I am not feeling the passion, readers won’t too, so I should let the project sit on a temporary shelf until it begins to speak to me again.

In favour of (a): No project of any significant length or magnitude sustains the same levels of enthusiasm throughout. All the books I’ve ever written needed me to slog through certain portions of them. And once I finish the forty volumes, I’d be done with the Mahabharata. Think of it. The books will be out there forever; a complete set. I can move on to other things with a clear conscience. And it’s only – what? Five more months?

In favour of (b): Burnout is a possibility. (Don’t laugh; you can burn out even when you’re working five hours a day from home.) Plus, there does appear to be some credence to this notion that a writer’s mood percolates through to the reading experience. Was it Robert Frost who said, ‘No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader’?

This needs some thrashing out. For now I am leaning toward (a), but (b) is becoming more of a possibility with every passing hour.

Let me put it to you. What do you think I should do? Also, when you’re similarly tossing up between abandoning a project (temporarily) and persisting with it, how do you make your choice? At what point, if any, do you say, ‘Right, I might have to let go here’?

Comments

  1. Option B!

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  2. B, definitely. Writing with enthusiasm and passion is important. You’re not abandoning lesser known tales, just rescheduling it so that it doesn’t make your writing monotonous, and you can come back to the original project with more vigor. Saves time, too, if you feel a wave of freshness while writing a new volume.
    So, I would vouch for (b)!

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  3. I think there is no harm in taking a break of month or two to write fiction and then come back to the 2002 tales.. that way you will feel rejuvenated and the completion of the project would be delayed temporarily for the time you switched.

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  4. Thanks, guys! B is winning so far.

    Liked by 1 person

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