The Writer Blues
Let’s be honest, writing isn’t always glamorous, nor is it always easy or fun. There are days when it’s like pulling out your hair one strand at a time, and there are days when it’s a trip to the salon and you come out feeling fabulous. If you can tell from the title of this blog, I’m currently experiencing the former, though not to that extent. I’m just feeling a bit, uninspired I guess you can say and since writing is a great way for me to understand my own emotions, I thought I’d write a blog about it. Something tells me I’m not the only one who might need to hear this.
So maybe I should start with where I am in my writing process. As some of you may know, my debut novel, Silent Night, is on Draft 4 which is currently with Beta Readers. The Beta process is probably what brought me into the blues because it isn’t what I expected or rather it isn’t what I fantasized it would be like. Don’t get me wrong though, I love my Beta Readers and the feedback I’ve been receiving. I know my book is going to be so much better for having gone through this process, it’s just taking longer than I wanted. I have this self-imposed pressure on myself to hurry up and get this novel out there. So the fact that the Beta process might take a month more than planned for makes me anxious. However, I’ve done it to myself.
It is difficult for me to sit back and allow things to happen as they will. I’m always afraid of missing opportunities or falling behind in life, which is ridiculous. I can’t plan my life to a T anymore than you can plot every point in a book and actually have the final product turn out exactly like the outline. Things happen. Setbacks occur. Nothing is going to speed up or get better simply because you wallowed about it and sometimes there’s nothing you can do but wait. Patience is a virtue, one I struggle with but I’m slowly trying to teach myself that extra time is okay and that everything happens for a reason.
The second thing making me blue is my current manuscript: a brand new first draft as yet untitled. I have something like 5000 words already, but I can feel this doubt creeping up in the back of my mind, telling me I’m going to burn out or something, that this book won’t be good enough. I feel like I’m not going to do the characters justice. I worry that the story isn’t going anywhere concrete, that I’m going to reach a point and just stall, hit a dead end road and not know where to go next.
Anybody else feel this sometimes? I think this happens to everybody at least once during the first draft. Whether it’s the first page, the last chapter, the 15th chapter, we all hit a point where we wonder if it’s worth it, where we wonder if we’re doing the right thing or if we’ll even finish. But we can’t listen to this voice. It’s a little shit. Don’t listen to the devil on your shoulder; it doesn’t want you to succeed. But you do. You want to finish. You want to write a brilliant story and you will, but the first draft probably won’t cut it and that’s okay. Don’t let the voice convince you that it has to be perfect now or all is lost. All is lost when you listen to the voice, when you stop writing. So keep trekking along and you will get there.
That’s what I’ve been telling myself. I promise myself that I will get there. That this story has meaning. That I will write a brilliant tale. Just not all at once. I think what I have to do before I continue writing is figure out an outline. My vague novel ideas are not enough to keep me going at the moment. I need to know what happens before I can write about it. So that’s step one. Word to the wise, if you’re a plotter type writer, don’t neglect that outline for long, you’ll just frustrate yourself. If you rely on an outline, you’ll only be able to write so much without it.
So that’s it. I’ve come to a better understanding of my current blues and I hope I’ve been able to help you in some way. If not now, maybe my words will offer solace down the road when you inevitably hit your own blue patch. Discouragement happens, but it’s not the end all be all of life.
As always, and especially after today’s topic: keep writing.