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  • Maddy Rain

Why I'm Rewriting My Novel

When I was twenty, I started writing the novel that I'm working on now. I worked a ton on it and was completely obsessed with it. However, my life took an unexpected turned and my first husband and I separated. It was a messy, heartwrenching period of my life where I had enough trouble getting myself out of bed let alone working on a novel. I put my dreams on hold for a while as I tried to find a way to save my marriage. In the end, he ended up leaving for good and it took me quite some time to put myself back together.

By twenty-four, I was on my own and I was trying to find out who I was without him. I started looking at my writing again and feeling like it was stupid and I should give up. He had told me that I was only wasting my time and so, I started to think that maybe he was right. There was a day when I almost took every single piece of writing I'd ever done and threw it away. A part of me felt like I was betraying my younger self who loved writing with all her heart so instead, I decided to create a Tumblr blog where I could put my writing in someplace other than the trash can. To my pleasant surprise, I started to get some people who actually liked my writing and it gave me the confidence I needed to pick up my novel again.

I got about 75% through it and realized that I had no idea what I would do once it was finished. It terrified me. Once it was finished, I would have to do something with it and so, I got stuck. I didn't want to have to start querying or self-publish because I didn't feel like I was emotionally ready to be that vulnerable. I also worried that maybe my writing wasn't good enough. So, I decided to go back to school and applied for an MFA in Creative Writing program. That program was two years and I decided to put my novel, once again, on the backburner. In school, I focused instead on short stories. The idea was that I would get used to writing full complete stories on a smaller scale so that I could grasp the concepts and then apply them to my novel. (There are a lot of differences between writing a short story and a novel but that's a whole other topic.)

Flash forward to 2020 and I graduated with my MFA. However, the pandemic and the negative feedback from one of my mentors got me in a depressive haze and I took some time off from writing. Despite my writing life being a bit in flux, a lot of wonderful things happened in 2020: I became a technical writing manager, I bought my first home and I married again, this time to the love of my life. This year though, we are finally settled into our new life and I decided that this would be the year that my poor novel gets finished.

I sat down and read what I had and really looked at it. Since I last picked it up 3 years ago, my writing has improved quite a bit and I know that I can write it so much better now. Rather than painstakingly editing the novel to my current standards, I decided it would actually be easier to scrap most of it and write a lot of it from scratch. There are a few scenes here and there that I decided to keep but for the most part, I'm starting over and it feels good. This novel has been something I've wanted to write for eight years now and I finally feel like I am at a place in my life that I can give it the attention that it deserves.

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