I’m Writing A Book….Still

Sooooo….I wrote earlier today about my training for the Belfast Marathon on 7th May and how that’s been going. Now it’s time for ’round two’ so to speak as I post an update about how the novel I am attempting to write is coming along. Which is a tad trickier. I mean I think it’s going okay but how can you objectively self assess five months of writing which nobody has read outside of your immediate family. Who are, of course, contractually obliged (check the small print folks) to say that they liked it.

I’m only really getting a chance to devote time to it at weekends and when on leave. I set myself the target of 10,000 words over the Easter break which I passed today. But that’s 10,000 words of what? Genius? Drivel? I haven’t a foggy if I’m honest. All I know is that it’s careering along at the moment and getting easier to write as I delve deeper into the story. I’ve found out a few hard truths along the way as well. Such as ‘learning’ to write a novel is not for me; nor structuring and formatting, not at this stage anyway. I just need to get this first draft out of me by hook or by crook. It needs to be birthed before the labour pains become too much for me to bear.

When that’s all done and dusted it will require a serious amount of polishing and fine tuning. I am in serious need of a thesaurus and have been shocked at how limited my vocabulary is when all along I thought I was quite eloquent and ‘wordy’. I’ve realised that I use certain words repeatedly. As in every. single. paragraph. Lazy. Lazy. Lazy. I will also need some serious work with continuity. One minute a character is standing at a bar ordering a round of drinks. The next he’s back at the table waist deep in dialogue. Teleportation sub plot perhaps?

The self doubt is reaching ridiculous levels. Stephen doubts he can run 20 miles. Solution? Stephen puts on trainers, opens front door and runs 20 miles. Simples. Pity the same can’t be said about writing. I’m excited about it but if a marathon seems a slog then this a marathon of marathons. It’s akin (*repetitive word klaxon sounds*) to triumphantly spending five months scaling a hillock only to find Mount Everest looming on the other side. Even if it is half decent what about literary agents, publishers, self publishing, the law stuff?! The mind boggles and I think I need a lie down.

The other annoying issue is not being able to talk to anyone about it. When I mention that I’m writing a book in the ‘real world’ most people smile patiently, say ‘that’s nice’ and then move on to more ‘grown up’ topics such as, say, the weather or the price of a loaf of bread. I’m just waiting for the day someone ruffles my hair, gives me a pat on the head and tells me to run along now. It’s not that people are deliberately being rude it’s just that this burning passion of mine does not register on the adulting scale where work deadlines, unpaid bills and domestic dramas take precedence.

So I soldier on. Baring my artistic soul in private and periodically posting vaguely worded blogs citing impressive word counts but little else. Did Dickens have these problems? Is this why so many writers turn to the demon drink? Am I doomed to drone about this on WordPress, because nobody else particularly cares until my dying day? Have I set a new record for the use of question marks in a blog post???? If you have any advice, suggestions or simply wish to provide a virtual shoulder for me to blubber over then please comment below.

51 thoughts on “I’m Writing A Book….Still

Add yours

  1. I have been working on expanding my vocabulary as well. You can get a thesaurus app for your computer and phone. That is what I’ve done. Congrats on continuing to push forward regardless of the struggles and the less than excited reaction from others.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Smiled and nodded the whole way thru because this is so relatable. Finding a writing community really made a difference for me, in terms of support and connection. Many of them also offer an avenue for getting plugged in to a critique group. The trick is finding the one that works best for you.

    There are a ton that connect online, since finding a local one isn’t always feasible. Professional organizations, like ACFW, usually have online communities and critique group for members. Then there’s the plethora of writer groups on Facebook (and other places around the web) – maybe there’s an active one online for the genre in which you are writing?

    Rooting for you!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Keep going, you are doing great 😊Not many people out there could write that much you know! I feel the same at my work, no one is really interested in my workouts or how many miles I’ve walked with the dog, none of them read or even have kids- I work with a tonne of people aged between 19 and 26 so it’s a tough crowd at work. I’ve learnt to only tell people that might be vaguely interested, those I count as friends outside of work otherwise you are right it can fill you with self doubt, why am I even doing this if no one is really bothered? Because it’s your dream and you want to that’s why ✊🏼

    Liked by 1 person

  4. My favorite author, Madeleine L’Engle, has written a book called “Faith and Art.”a She talks about how those who are creative and living out God’s plan for them and listening to the small still voice that is calling them to do this. I am sure that your writing is the creative process called from you by God. Just keep following that urge. She quotes Leonard Berstein who says for him “music is cosmos in chaos.” God is always calling us to do the impossible. You are listening.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I admire that you have begun the journey and admire still more that you are persisting on it. I am still just talking about it. I blog and write sermons and often try to convince myself that these devices successfully scratch my writing “itch.” But honestly, they both fall short. Carry on! And don’t listen to the nay-sayers. They wish they were you.

    Like

  6. As hard as it is to get just a smile and change of subject, I think it’s easier to digest than a pat on the head or worse, eye rolling. Sometimes I do think it’s the reason so many authors of the past turned to the demon drink and ultimately died from it. And yet, despite all that we can’t walk away from the stories whispering and rattling around in our heads, can we?

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I just reached 9k tonight yay! 🙂 I’m slowly getting back into writing everyday, which is a page about 300-400 words..ish. Yes, I’ve seen with people who write a novel for the first time are surprised when I go over their first chapter, and share, “Ah, I’m not the only one who has some words I use a little too much.” Cause it’s true. One word of mine is “that” and one of my friends uses the word “as” a lot. We really do learn a lot a long the way.

    I struggled for years…so that may not be the most comforting. However, you actually have something I don’t. My family does not read my work. I wish my husband did, but he doesn’t like to read much. Family members who have said they would read it never really get to it. It wasn’t until last year when I started forming connections with this community I felt better. I may not discuss writing really but it had helped me.

    I understand the frustration of not being able to connect with someone on your work. Not being able to talk about it. I have one close friend who is invested in the series, in fact, she was there the day I came up with an idea to write a series based on the childhood world God gave me. But everyone else is eh. I have some friends who are test readers and that’s shaky. So far, I can count on one. Everyone else who has said they would support me, read, etc all fell out.

    People don’t realize the commitment this takes. They don’t realize what it means to truly support a writer and what it means to be a reader. They like the idea of it, but when it comes to investing their time…that’s when push comes to shove. What has helped me is understand that it is a commitment. This is why people struggle to read so many books per month. They aspire to be readers…but to do it…isn’t easy. Like we need to be dedicated writers, we need dedicated test readers.

    People get busy with their lives and it seems to read and give feedback is too much than what they accepted. We are getting rejection way before the publishing process.

    People misunderstand when I say I’m writing a book. I’ve had someone say, “I thought books were published.” It’s the same in how we define ourselves as a writer, author, etc. There’s a lot to writing that people don’t understand because they’ve never had their foot in the door of writing a novel. What people mean as good intentions can do the opposite, but all of these is a growing opportunity for us the writer.

    We just have to take it as it comes. *Hope my ranting is okay. I relate heavily to this topic.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I’m also currently writing a novel and let me tell you, you are not alone. Self-doubt is HUGE when you’re writing and every single flaw, insecurity, and flub stares back at you from the page.

    But my biggest encouragement to you is to keep writing and keep reading. Find a writer who has a voice that you enjoy and want to write like and read loads of their work, you’ll be surprised at how your writing can improve when you’re immersing yourself in well-written books. You can also consider joining a local writer’s critique group, there you can share what you’re working on and get encouragement and feedback from other writers.

    Then, after you’ve finished your first draft, hire an editor to look at it. I didn’t want to do this for the longest time. I was nervous about someone looking at my work and destroying it but that was EXACTLY what I needed. My novel has improved significantly since I began working with her and I’m so happy that I got over that mental hurdle.

    And, as far as the looming mountain of publishing, don’t worry about that right now. Just focus on writing. This is the fun part where you’re able to create and ideate and weave a story together. Enjoy it as best you can. Don’t worry about all the rest right now (easier said than done, I know).

    Again, congrats on writing a novel. It’s hard, it’s challenging, it’s frustrating a lot of the time, but it’s also incredible and worth celebrating. Thank you for sharing your process and your struggles on here — you’re definitely not alone!

    Like

  9. You’re brilliant. The rest about your writing is growth and the will to learn something about being a writer. Trust yourself. I do. You can do it. Rise to the challenge. And DO NEVER let other people make you doubt yourself. They don’t write. You do. And pat yourself on the shoulder will you please. You reached your target. That’s a huge thing that (believe me) many people can’t make. The first draft is only half the score anyhow. The fine-tuning is your true writing marathon. I’m sure you can do it. 🙂 Have a good day.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. First, let me say that I feel your frustration and anxiety. About eight years ago I embarked on a personal quest to write a novel–a science fiction/fantasy meets mission impossible Christian novel about undercover angels (yes, that bad!), which I worked very hard on, doing a ton of research. It was great as a creative outlet and helped build my self confidence during a very low period of my live. Just before I finished writing the first draft I had to move all my files from one computer to another, and long story short, I deleted all copies including all my notes and they couldn’t be recovered. I, too, have never recovered from the experience, it was like losing a very good friend whom no one else had ever met or knew anything about. But one thing that had been on my mind was how to go about getting published, no one I knew had ever written a book, and any time I tried to find information the prospect of finding a literary agent seemed like an impossible undertaking. But today I open my email to find one from Faith Gateway with the subject line “Take the Next Step…Answer the Call to Publish your Book” and the very next email was the one containing your blog post! If my father were alive he would say “Now, that’s a co-inky-dink if I’ve ever seen one.!” The email is actually an advertisement from Elm Hill, a division of HarperCollins Christian Publishing and contains a link for a free publishing guide. I haven’t look at it, but it may be something you will find helpful. Here’s the link:

    http://links.zondervancorporation.mkt4728.com/ctt?kn=1&ms=NTYzMjY0NTQS1&r=MTk4NDA5Njk2MTU0S0&b=0&j=MTM4MDQwMTg0NwS2&mt=1&rt=0

    Like

    1. Life–3rd Act: I paged through that website, and it’s not a good proposition for self-publishing. Very expensive! Plus, Elm Hill charges $150 for US “copyright registration,” which, when I have done it myself (it’s not hard to do, and takes only minutes online), actually cost only $35 or $55 (depending on the kind of book I published). Elm Hill also charges an additional $50 for a “Library of Congress Control Number,” which is a complete rip-off, because the Copyright Office is a service of the Library of Congress, so when you register copyright, the LCCN automatically comes with registration.

      Independent publishing with a print-on-demand provider like Lulu.com is free. All you have to do is order one proof copy, at cost (which for common binding formats is very cheap), and the product is the fine quality you expect to see in bookshops (in the event that there is a manufacturing defect, Lulu customer support is excellent).

      Caveat emptor!

      Like

      1. Good to know, thanks for doing the research I was to lazy to do! At this time I’m not planning on writing any books, but if I ever do I hope I will remember this information. Also hoping that my post hasn’t led anyone astray.

        Like

  11. I’m so glad I read this post! Just last night I decided to start editing the rough draft of my “first” novel that I want to publish. Since I’m finishing school, I know I really want to finish it. But it’s so overwhelming! I don’t know a lot about publishing and self publishing, and I don’t have a whole ton of support (though I do have a few good people on my side so I consider myself blessed). It’s difficult because it seems like I’m playing pretend or always giving up. But writing is always what makes me feel like myself. I know God gave me this talent for a reason, including my blog. I’ll be praying for all of us!

    Liked by 2 people

  12. As a teenager who is interested in writing/blogging/scrapbook, basically everything that ‘normal’ teenagers aren’t. With that said, I often complain about not having anyone to relate to and talk about my frustrations with, to which my mother always responds with this: “Eagles fly alone.” Stephen, you won’t find many people at the top and that’s okay. I’m already anticipating reading this novel of yours, even though it is in the rough draft stages! I will continue praying for the contents of your book to unravel from under your very fingertips!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I wrote a book. A small one, but still a book. I wrote because I really really wanted to complete an entire story and get a cover slapped on it lol. You can do it! Just keep going no matter how long it takes. Write the way you want because there isn’t one perfect way to write a book, your style is your own and will be the one thing that sets you apart from others. Don’t get down, keep typing along!!

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: