WHEN WRITING IS HARD
The past twelve months have confirmed one thing in particular for me: I really do love to write. Quite simply, I am at my happiest when I have an idea brewing or a story in progress. When I don’t, well, truth be told, I get a little grumpy.
But sometimes writing is hard. Even when you love it. (Like most things in life, I guess.)
Yesterday was one of those days. And for no good reason. I had the house to myself, my structural notes for my middle grade novel (due out next year) in front of me, and possible solutions to nearly all of the points raised. (It wasn’t even a particularly daunting report – only a few main points.) But still I found it hard. Scaling-Mount-Everest-without-oxygen hard.
I couldn’t really work out why I was having so much trouble. The only thing that I could think of was that perhaps I was a little scared. I was at the pointy end of the process. Whatever decisions I made now, whatever changes I made or decided not to make would likely end up in the final book.
The book. Not the manuscript. The book. Where no more changes can occur. Where there is no more tinkering or improving or strengthening. The book. The book that readers would read – and either like or … not.
Oh my, can you smell the fear in those words? I think at this point I realised how important this particular story is to me. I want to get it right. I want to do the idea justice. I want it to be the best it can be. And yesterday I hesitated and doubted and dug my heels into the ground and stopped.
Eventually, I cajoled myself into just doing the “easy bits”, thinking that would trick me into getting immersed in the story and get cracking with it.
But even that didn’t work.
So what did I do?
Well, you see, the afternoon sun was streaming into the kitchen, and I realised that my basil needed repotting, and then I made spinach and mushroom quiche, and sweet potato chips (like the ones I saw Matt make on MasterChef) and I put on Of Monsters and Men (the Icelandic band) and sang – loudly and gloriously off-key – as I cooked and then I took a walk and gave myself a stern talking to, and resolved to get stuck into it tomorrow without any (or much ) fear.
So now it’s tomorrow. And what am I doing? Blogging, of course!
But that’s it. No excuses. It’s time to write. Because even when it’s hard, I really do love it.
Thanks Sue, it’s good to know that even the greats find it hard sometimes! But quiches and chips need to be made, and Icelandic songs need to be sung too!
Oh my gosh, thanks Sarah! You are certainly good for one’s ego. (The quiche was yummy, btw.) Today has been more productive, I am pleased to report. Still many doubts though – it all might get ditched tomorrow. All the very best with your writing!
Thanks, Sue for sharing! I’m a long way off this stage, but can imagine it would be very daunting. If it’s any consolation, my 10 year-old delights in finding mistakes in the books she reads (usually just minor typos or character names mixed up) and these never seem to detract from her enjoyment of the story. Good luck with the final edits, and congratulations, your website is lovely!
Thanks Danika. That is very kind of you. You’ll be at this stage before you know it. And it is a little scary, but a little less so today. Made some character decisions and I think they are working. Fingers crossed. Good luck with your novel!
Be brave and take the bull by the horns or the writing …well there must be simile somewhere for that too. Whatever you write will take you along a path – perhaps a new one. You can always cut and paste or delete but you may even solve your problems while doing it. Or you may have created a new beginning for another story. And as you say you really love the challenge.
Take the writing by the keyboard??? Thanks Jocleyn. Great advice – and today I am doing just that. Have solved one problem, and am improving another – though I know I haven’t got it quite right yet. But great to experiment and see where it takes me. Thanks again.
Ah, Sue. You’re a tonic. x
Good outcome, then. Thanks, Janeen!
Yep, I’m hearing you Sue; I thought it was just a quirk of my nature that I get grumpy when I’m not writing. It’s the only time I feel calm and self-contained and like I’m exactly where the universe intends me to be 🙂
It’s a good feeling when you have that realisation though, isn’t it. Life is much simpler when you know what makes you happy. Hey, congrats on the novel – I look forward to reading it. When does it come out?