I'm 50 pages into the novel and self-doubt is starting to creep in again. It always amazes me how my opinion of my own work can lurch so wildly. I am pushing on with the story as it is unfolding, and not worrying too much about the quality. I just need to get out on to paper what I have in my head and then have another look at it. I keep having this fear that I'm going to finish the novel and that I won't like it, will say to myself, No, that's not what I meant, at all. But of course, if that's true, and I don't like it, I just have to keep working at it until I do. I have a self-imposed deadline to finish the book by the end of my residency (February 2009), but of course, it's much better to have a finished product that's good than one that's so-so and On Time.
It also amazes me how I can be so firmly immersed in the world of the novel one week, and the next just skirting around the outside of it, trying to find a way in. When you're in it, you can't imagine ever stepping outside of it; you think you're invincible. Then one day you wake up and the feeling's gone. Not the first time I've compared writing a novel to being in a relationship.
On the upside, 50 pages makes a very pleasing wad of paper. I always print out what I have done at the end of every day, partly as a back-up and partly for the satisfaction of seeing it grow. It now looks like a pile that means business, so for that I am happy.