For writers we are incredibly clichéd sometimes and I am no exception, yes I have been suffering from the dreaded writer’s block. Now I know some people don’t believe in this, and think it’s just an excuse, which is perhaps true for some people, but I have definitely been going through it, and I thought I’d talk about it, to help anyone who might be going through a similar situation.
So why I am suffering from writer’s block? The reasons, unfortunately, are many fold.
1) Expectations, not from anyone else, but from myself. It’s so much fun to write, when it’s just for you, when nothing’s on the line, before you’ve sent out any queries and you realize what a difficult world it is to get published out there. Now that I have a book that’s going to be published by an actual non-vanity/non-self publisher, I suddenly feel like I have to write legitimately, that I have to write something incredible or I will be betraying my past self. Why is it I write such dross when myself from a year ago was eloquent, so quick, so inventive?
How I got over it – I realized that my past self was just as terrible a writer as I am, the only difference being the true magic of Editing. How could I have so easily forgotten that each paragraph, sentence, sometimes even words had been changed, sometimes dozens of times. So much so that nearly every paragraph in my manuscript had changed from its original form. Once I’d stop hold my past self in such high esteem, I was able to carry on.
2) What I was writing was wrong. There are many different kinds of writers, I know this and what I do is perhaps lunacy to some people ,but I have to do it. You see I’ve written around fifteen openings to my novel, some wildly different, going so far as five to ten thousand words in, sometimes more, before scrapping it. I tried to push on, openings for me at least are the hardest part to write in a novel. But I kept coming back and realizing if I didn’t have a solid foundation I would never feel at ease
How I got over it – I trusted my instincts. It wasn’t working, because my work simply wasn’t good. After so many opening over so many months, I finally got it right and I moved on. It does a disservice to my readers if I write something that is bad, but even more so disservice to the characters whose tale I am telling.
3) I’m in a different place in my life. I took a long hiatus from writing from the ages of sixteen to twenty one (for anyone keeping count I’m twenty four now) which in hindsight I highly regret. When I was twenty one and I first began planning this story, I was different, younger, driven, with no commitments. Now I’m older, a little more reserved, with probably less to prove than my younger self. I write fantasy but recently I’ve gotten more into science fiction (I’ve recently read Ender’s Game and Ready Player One which I highly recommend to anyone)
How I got over it – I took a long hard look at myself and what I was writing. I seriously considered leaving the project, working on something else, but I never did. I remembered why I was writing this story, how much it meant to me, and where I hoped it would one day lead. I guess the take home message is when you really believe in yourself, go for it because no-one will ever believe in you, or your vision as much as you do. Be your own fan and supporter!!
A few side notes – I have also decided once and for all to keep my writing a secret from the people IRL (In the Real World) for a variety of reasons. As you know I’m a doctor and live in a scientific world, where people simply don’t understand why I would choose to write the adventures of magic and a floating city. That and it’s nice to have something for myself, well myself and those reading this. My friend described me as Batman and herself as Ironman – in other words when she’s published she’ll shout it from the rafters, where as I could count on my fingers the number of people I’ve told.
Also for those reading this, I appreciate you beyond words. I have no real agenda except to connect and learn from other writers and readers. Leave a message or if you want a guest spot I’d be more than happy. There’s plenty of room out on the high seas!