I've not broken any new ground today. Instead I've been re-working a short story. I'm still not sure if that was the best use of my time, as it took me away from my main focus of the novel, but it was one of those little distractions that snowball and steal your time.
Before Christmas I submitted two stories to a magazine, and one came straight home to roost. I was disappointed - it was the one I'd thought was better, for a start. It also arrived on one of those blue days when it feels like life is just finding a new way to kick you when you're down. The good news is that the sting of rejection faded, and this week I'd put on my to-do list (being an avid writer and duplicator of lists) to tweak it (if necessary) and send it to another magazine.
I was genuinely shocked when I read it. I think that evil fairy had been at work again. I hadn't loved writing the story in the same way I feel entranced by writing 'my novel', but I'd still worked hard at it, and proof-read it and edited it and lavished hours on it. It had not improved with time. I could see every flaw (some major - eg it was just too flimsy) and some minor. Most humiliating of all, one of the characters changed name in one sentence! How that had slipped past my proof-reading, and a friend's eagle eyes too, I don't know. I was so ashamed that I'd submitted something substandard.
But I'm dusting myself off now, and reminding myself that it was a step in the right direction to have sent something off for publication at all. I'm congratulating myself on the fact that I can now see what the problems are with it, and I've spent the day re-working it, so that I now have a meatier (although also longer) first draft. And now I'm going to let it cook for a while, while I get on with the novel. Hopefully when I come back to it I'll have enough perspective to fix it again, and the guts to send it off again, undaunted.