chapter limbo

The thing about writing a book is that you are always writing a book. When you aren’t working on it, you feel like you should be. If you write something else, or take a day off of writing, you feel guilty. The next time you sit down to evaluate where you are in the book, you curse yourself for not being more productive.

I have had a convenient excuse for the past few weeks (OK, two months) in that I wasn’t feeling all that well. But now, it’s time to get down to it. I need to get started on a new chapter. Right now I am in what I think of as “chapter limbo”: I have finished one chapter and been unable to start another one. While I am writing a chapter, I am usually pretty productive. I really get into it. But when it seems done, I start to feel overwhelmed, because there’s at least 6 other chapters to write, and just as many to revise. Where to begin?

All this is currently complicated by a recent decision by my professor  and I to restructure the beginning of the book and refocus it a little bit. Previously, I had been working from an outline I created a year ago. I had been plugging away at it. When one chapter ended, I knew where the next one began. Because we’ve now started the book with what used to be chapter 4, I am not quite sure how the rest is going to go yet, so new no outline. I’ve also written a new chapter based on a theme, rather than chronologically, and now I don’t know if that’s how the rest of  my chapters are going to go or not.
Not helping matters is that in the midst of some insomnia the other night, it occurred to me to begin the book with a prologue, then go into the old chapter 4. I had originally planned to start with a prologue, but this one is different. The book would start with my interest in Japan and my Japanese friend/roommate, rather than with how I got the job in Korea. Staring with this prologue would cast the rest of the book in a different light, which means some of it will have to be rewritten. It’s all very complicated and overwhelming, and I am spending a lot of time blogging instead of working all of these issues out.

Stupid chapter limbo.


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