If you ask an author at their signing how many books they wrote before the one that got them published for the first time, most will answer with any varying number from none to 13. (I believe that was what one author who spoke at a conference I attended said he wrote. Then book 6 was what got him published.)
So far, I've written 5.
Of those, two are complete rubbish and will never see the light of day. (Except maybe as an example at a conference presentation, if I'm ever cool enough to present.) One has been shelved forever (and is pretty rubbish as well). One is worth rewriting because I love the story and the characters, it's just the prose that's rubbish. And one is off with betas right now where it is being subjected to a sword fight, burning at the stake, possibly a cleverly-conceived torture or two, and an overall mauling.
These are all good things.
But these are not the sign of progress of which I am speaking in the title of this post. No, that sign of progress concerns my current project, Jason McDaniels and the Hammer of the Gods.
I think it's the sign of a good, or at least improving, writer when they can recognize the flaws in the manuscript mid-draft and come up with a way of fixing or addressing those flaws while drafting so as to reduce the amount of headaches and hair-pulling later on.
This book is absolute rubbish. Yes, it's just a practice novel. But it's rubbish and I'm not afraid to admit that.
I think the biggest problem is the POV and the tense that I chose for this story. I'm nearly 17K into the book and, well, I'm losing my motivation to finish it. I think it's partly the POV and tense issue and partly the ridiculous pace I've set for myself.
I'm feeling tapped out mentally by ten in the morning. That's not good.
So I'm scaling back my efforts at pushing out the word count and tackling the POV and tense issue head on before I go one word further in the draft.
Maybe it's bad. But maybe it's a sign of progress. A sign that I am improving at my craft even if I can't see it.
Editing to add: This project is likely going to be shelved. Switching it to third person past tense isn't working and I'm not sure if past tense in first person will work either. I'm also not in love with the story and why spend my time and creative energy on something that doesn't sing to me?