Jeff O'Handley, Author

Jeff O'Handley

The Doubting Writer Finds His Voice

Finished, and Not-so-finished

Happy 2023.

When I started thinking in earnest of this post to wrap up 2022 and set up 2023, I was going to start by saying the year ended a lot like it began, with me working on revisions of a project created long ago, but a quick search of the “archives” revealed that this was not true. At the end of December, 2021, I was in waiting mode. All edits for Powerless had been completed. Copy edits reviewed and submitted. We were working on covers and reader descriptions, trying to find people who could blurb the book. It wasn’t quite the home stretch to publication, but maybe the back stretch. The home stretch, I think, was when we did the cover reveal at the end of March. But then again, there was a lot of waiting then, too!

This just finished year ended with me in a different sort of waiting mode. Yesterday afternoon I reached the end of my current project, a revision of a previously-completed project that I briefly queried several years ago then dropped. I dropped it not because I didn’t believe in it, but because I was tired, just plain tired and discouraged, as I’ve explained before. Back in late October I decided that this project was going to be my NaNoWriMo, though it was more like a NaNoRevisMo, since I wasn’t writing it from scratch, but was working from a completed and previously revised manuscript. (For anyone who’s new here and isn’t familiar with “NaNoWriMo”, it’s from “National Novel Writing Month”, an annual challenge to write a 50,000-word novel in the month of November.

Life, of course, got in the way. November was a crunch month where we were waiting anxiously for heat pumps and insulation; a month where we pulled an all-nighter assembling and hanging kitchen cabinets to beat the floor guys; a month of plumbers and painting and deliveries. My goal of finishing by the end of the month was tossed out early, but I had two weeks off at Christmas. But after the first week off it looked like my goalposts were going to have to be moved downfield again.

The good news (aside from the fact that I did, in fact, finish, as I mentioned above)? I couldn’t wait to sit down and work on this project. I felt very strongly about it when I first drafted it, first revised it, and started querying it, and I still feel strongly about it. Every day I found myself having to forego writing work in order to shop, or paint, or try to hang the damn microwave made me itchy and probably a little irritable, and I view that as a good thing. Contrast that with the “new WiP”, which I started last April or so. I’ve invested a lot of time and mental energy into that one and I still don’t know that it’s going anywhere. I’m hoping that, sometime in the next few days, I’ll open that one up for the first time since October and will find the muddy waters have settled and I’ll be able to really get it nailed down (286 pages in and I still don’t have a clear idea of how it ends).

Like my new WiP, I don’t really know how to finish this post. This has been a big part of why I have not posted anything here lately. I think of things to post, but can’t quite see them through to the finish. While “unfinished ” never works for a novel (unless you’re so famous that your unfinished works get published after you’re dead, and I’m neither of those) it’s going to have to be good enough for this post. I hope your 2022 ended well and that your 2023 brings you happiness and prosperity.

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