Diary of a Writer, Day 9 – Losing the Plot

*I wrote this a few days ago but did not get to edit and publish it until today.

I have lost the plot.

You probably know that expression. It usually means that somebody has lost track of what is going on. They are confused. It can also mean that they have lost track of their goals, what they wanted to achieve. It also carries the undertone that the person has gone a bit mad. If you lose the plot and you don’t know what’s going on – you might be a bit off.

Well, it feels like all of the above is true in my case.

I took the entire last weekend off from writing, even though I was sure it was going to be a mistake to do so. I haven’t written enough in the last year or two to just take a break in the middle of writing a first draft and expect to be able to pick it up again at the snap of a finger. I knew that breaking the habit (of writing) after just a week of restarting wasn’t a good idea because it happened too often since leaving Saskatoon.

Turns out I was right. It wasn’t a good idea. I lost the plot.

Finding back into the story from where I had left off was hard. The characters, who had taken on brighter and brighter colors seem to appear behind milk glass now. The settings appear to have locked me out. Words are harder to pull out of my brain than from a dictionary. There are gaps left, right, and center in my manuscript. Jumps. Fillers. Things like ‘XYZ’ or ‚etc.‘

I have tried to just patch the story up well enough so that I could get to the ending. It is called a ‘shitty first draft’ for a reason, I thought. But when I got to the ending, I didn’t know what to do. I mean, I knew what the ending was going to be. But how would I get there? What would it look like? How was I going to finish this delicate souffle off without having it falling apart?

My original plan was to have a first draft ready by this past Friday. Sunday at the latest. Then have a first edit done by the end of this week. Now, I am struggling to patch this thing up to the point where I can even call it a ‘shitty first draft’ by the end of this week. All because here I am tracing my steps, trying to find the lost plot and pick up where I left off.

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