The Monsters Under My Bed

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“There were days when I wondered whether I was a glutton for punishment, or simply delusional. However, my writing must have been improving because one day I found myself with three agents interested in my latest manuscript.”

Lois Winston

Confession time: I’ve spent more time in the past several weeks staring at a blank computer screen than actually writing. And I am trying, I swear. But while chunks of decent writing periodically happen, scrawled in the side tab of my writing program, or scratched in a notebook somewhere, I am having major issues with connecting anything.

Or starting conversations between my characters.

Or segueing into different scenes.

Or writing anything that I deem remotely coherent compared to my earlier writing.

I’m not sure why this is happening. It’s not writer’s block per se, because I have been able to sporadically write pieces of scenes, but all it leaves me to do is kick myself for taking a writing break. I needed that break to be objective when looking at that story. I needed that break for my mental sanity because popping out 5,000 words a day is only healthy for weird (Rich) authors like Steven King.

Did I need a 4 month break?

Probably not.

Actually, absolutely not. The problem is, a break that long completely ruined my flow, and now I am forced to fight the writing to actually get it to work. I’m sure this will create days of extra editing in the future, but in the meantime, I had to wonder why I took so long to get back to the writing in the first place.

I think, again, that I was scared. At this, I’m sure many of my readers are rolling their eyes. What’s so scary about writing a book? How is writing scary? Don’t you just put words on a page and good luck to you?

My answer to that is…kind of. That’s how I feel on good days, anyway. On bad days it feels like a cross between ripping my soul out and smearing it in some sort of semi-coherent fashion on a blank page, and then throwing the page to wolves. Melodramatic? Possibly.

On really bad days, like the above quote, I have to wonder if I’m delusional, or enjoy my own suffering. Sitting down to write a book is not an easy task. It is such an incredible mixture of left and right brain activity, a dedication to time, effort, research, and craft, that a giggle always escapes me when I hear people say flippantly, “Oh I’ve thought about writing a book once.”

Sure you have, sweetheart. I think this is why as writers, our community is so tight-knit. There’s something a little bit crazy and a little bit awesome about the people who take time out of their lives to do something so extraordinarily difficult. As for me, I’m trying to remind myself that I have finished a book. I’ve finished an entire draft, and that is something to be proud of. If this draft doesn’t work, I can always write another. And these drafts can only do one thing— they’ll cause me to get better.

It’s small, but when the writing stumbles along and I find myself lost again, I have to remind myself that I would do it all over again. I would write another 100,000 words. Again and again. Until I have something worth sharing with the world. And in that, I find the affirmation that I really am a writer.

It is a nice thought to have.

 

On an off note, since writing the first paragraph of this several weeks ago (I really have been neglecting my blog posts, and for that I am sorry!), my writing has slowly started looking not-as-awful to me again. Maybe I just needed the one thing that fixes all writing problems and insecurities: more writing.

Thoughts? I’d love to hear them!

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