Sunday, 8 July 2012

To Write Or Not To Write

Most people agree that beginning a novel is the easy bit, but someone recently asked me how I find the dedication and drive to keep writing, and not give up until it's finished.

Then there are the hours spent editing, re-writing when something isn't working and the polishing. Not to mention beginning another one when it's finished.

Discipline? Dedication? Drive? Yeah right.

Sometimes I go for days when I cannot summon the inclination, or enthusiasm to write a word, and others when I want to write, even sit down with my books and computer all ready, but then for some inexplicable reason I stare at a blank screen for an hour and end up trawling through Facebook to see what my virtual writer friends are up to, or playing 'Jewels'.

Worse, are the days when I plough into a new chapter and type three thousands words and save the file feeling virtuous. Then when I re-read it the next day, a stomach churning realisation dawns on me that I wasted my time, and it's a load of wooden, senseless rubbish, and that I have committed the true crime of a writer - it doesn't progress the story!

On days like that, I tell myself, this isn't worth it, I'll never me more than a mediocre writer selling a few hundred copies of my books in a good year. I make a conscious decision not to put myself through all the self-doubt and put the laptop away, be a better wife, mother, and even a better housewife and somehow make up to my family for neglecting them for my writing.

I even feel good about it for a few days - then I get an idea that would fit perfectly into my wip. Or I hear a phrase that perfectly describes my main character, or a more credible solution to my plot jumps into my mind - and I'm off again, head down and ignoring everything around me for hours.

I cannot help it - it's who I am, successful or not - I'm a writer.

Other fascinating and funny comments about why people write is here


Carol Harvey said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you, this is such a timely post for me. Here I was thinking I was all alone with these thoughts and doubts! LOL It's so refreshing to hear it from someone who already has runs on the board.

I am emerging from what I consider a writing wilderness - when the truth is I've never stopped writing whether it be in my mind, on the page or on my laptop, it's something that never leaves me. Even reading others books I'll think of ways I would have written what they wrote - or marvel at the great gift some have to transport you to a different time and place and totally engross you in their characters and story. You're right, we're 'writers', we don't have a choice.

I've never been afraid to fail, but It took a recent conversation with my beloved brother to make me realise I was actually afraid to succeed - so here I go with a new outlook - wish me luck on my journey!

Petrea Burchard said...

I don't feel all of these things all of the time but I feel all of them some of the time! I don't find it easy to start the book, but once I get going it's a little better. Putting all together, figuring it out, is not so easy. Editing, though, is easy (for me).

SolariC said...

I completely sympathize with what you wrote in this post. Writing is not a mechanical activity. It's much more like a relationship, and therefore sometimes it drives us crazy and sometimes we love it. I'm glad I'm not the only person who feels this way about writing!

Anita Davison said...

And completely infuriating too - after my indolent couple of weeks, now I cannot stop writing! And I have edits to do which must come first!