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Polishing A Turd - Donna Everhart

Donna Everhart

Polishing A Turd

I’m sitting here, at my desk, where I’ve been for the past five hours.  What have I done?  Let’s see.

  1. I checked out all my fave writing blogs
  2. I read the newspaper
  3. I surfed Facebook, “Liked” things, and what not
  4. I (finally) stared at my WIP, pecked out fifty words, deleted about a hundred
  5. I decided I needed to re-check the blogs, just to see if I missed anything
  6. I sifted through the TBR pile, wondering which book might inspire me
  7. I went back and stared at my WIP, re-read the fifty new words, deleted them
  8. I went to the store
  9. Now, I’m writing THIS

Hm.  So.  Been there, done that, you say?  I’m not sure why the floundering set in today, other than I’m not THRILLED with what I’ve written thus far.  Mind you, I did get a LOT of writing time in over the past few days, but, I’m beginning to think it all goes back to that “shitty first draft” I just blogged about:

Because…if you know what you have is shitty, how uninspiring is that?  (refer back to list – that uninspiring).  Yes, I know I’ll be going back to revise, to attempt to make it better, but…, if it’s absolutely the worst – I won’t say the sh— word again – isn’t there a point when it’s so bad, maybe it can’t be fixed and you just need to toss it?

Even though I’ve just started, and I’m just under 10,000 words, starting over makes me feel like this:


I’m not writing about anything new here, I know.  I can almost hear the “get over it already.”  I suppose it’s this whole obsession I have with the “write something new.”  I think it’s because I’ve collaborated with my agent on the “new” thing and now, the pressure is on to prove I can write this sort of story.  No one’s put that pressure there but me, because I’m such an…, uptight sort of writer, and I’m always trying to outdo the last sentence I wrote, and then I have to write an even better one after that.  This was why I had to, with my last book, give myself that daily goal of 1,000 words per day.  It worked then, and it worked last week, but today, I’m sputtering, like a car that’s about out of gas.

And that also makes me feel like this:


Earlier, when I was looking at the pages,  I began to question, what do I really have here?  Will this premise even work?  Can I make it work?  Has it got some fatal flaw I haven’t yet figured out? I’m almost 10,000 words in, what if I get to 50,000, 60,000 and that’s when I find out, it won’t work?  What then?

I have my editor to depend on, of course, but I don’t want her to tell me my overall story arc will not work when I send her the first draft.  In other words, I don’t want to go too far down this story path only to have it dead end on me after a ton of work.

What I’m wondering is…how do you know when your story is good enough to keep working on it, or if you’re just polishing a turd?

8 thoughts on “Polishing A Turd”

  1. I feel the same way and frequently. I tend to just go with my gut feelings. If I can’t get past the “this is garbage” thoughts, I toss it. On the other hand, my self doubt is always saying that even when it’s not garbage. Writing is hard haha

    1. Hey Christina,

      Ain’t it though? I find myself all happy and confident and then I sit down at THE WRITING DESK. My confidence goes off somewhere, I don’t know where, and all I can do is re-read what I have and think…, well, this is more than boring, it’s going to make people catatonic, or wish they had a pin to poke themselves with to stay awake. At any rate, I like what you said about gut feeling. And…, sometimes? I just get it done and send it off to the editor and let her chew on me, and that seems to straighten me out. 🙂

    1. Did you say something? :>)

      You are right… I need to do this not only for what I’m wah wah’ing about above, but also because, at this point, I’ve got to know in my own head where it’s going. I have scenes and ideas…but they need (ought) to happen organically. By following s logical flow (OUTLINE!!),…well, like you said, I’ll know. Thx Averil…xoxo

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