I’m Writing A Book….Part 465,589

Or to be honest I haven’t been writing a book. Or at least not very much over the last two weeks. After a creative spurt which carried me to the end of the second draft I hit a mental brick wall. It wasn’t writer’s block as I knew what I had to write. I just couldn’t find it in me to type the words, to pick myself up and head out on another lap of the literary track. Despite hour upon hour hammering away at the keyboard the finish line seemed further away than ever.

Part of it was life. There has been so much going on that it has been difficult to find the time to commit to writing. Decent chunks of quality writing time that is as opposed to a hurried half hour here and there which are as self defeating as they are unproductive. Hurried writing equates to garbage writing, at least where I am concerned. I need a month in a darkened room. Or a padded cell. Whichever comes around first.

Then there is the fear and doubt which permeate every word I type. The voice continually snipes away at me, chipping away at my fragile self confidence. Who are you kidding, Stephen? This is rubbish, another of your pathetic pipe dreams which will never come to fruition. Give it up and accept that you are never going to be a published author. You’re not good enough. You never have been and you never will be. Fraud. Failure. Fake.

The voice is persuasive but I know it well. It and I have crossed swords many times before. Over my family, my faith and my fitness. I choose to ignore it and push on. It’s tactics are tiresome and if I let it succeed then I am giving in to all those who fuel its furtive whispers and sly suggestions. Every time I open my laptop and start to write it skulks away to curl up in a ball and lick it wounds. I fear it but I will not let it reign supreme.

Next is the sheer enormity of the task. Sometimes it feels like one step forward, one hundred steps back. There is so much still to be done, despite the many hours of work I have already put in. It’s as if I’m frantically swimming towards shore but every time I stop and look up, the beach is further away than ever. My stroke grows weaker and the current stronger. Am I destined to sink to the bottom, where my corpse will lie with all the other drowned dreamers?

All I can do is limp on, or doggy paddle as the case may be. I remind myself of how far I’ve come. It might be akin to excavating the Grand Canyon with a tea spoon but every word, every sentence, every paragraph is another one nearer the culmination of the project. After talking over my concerns with Fionnuala last night I’ve set myself the target of finishing by the end of September. I need targets otherwise this will drift on forever.

At that point I’m going to allow Fionnuala to prise the manuscript from my ghostly white knuckles and forward it to those I have selected to perform the roles of critique partners and beta readers. I hope that their feedback will polish and fine tune my meandering, haphazard word dump into a polished piece of prose fit for public consumption. If you would be interested in volunteering as a literary guinea pig them feel free to hop on the wheel and drop me a line.

I’ll keep providing regular updates of course. The blog is my lifeline, my bread and butter. Yes, it is time consuming when I could be working on the book but it is how I connect and interact with fellow writers going through similar experiences. It’s much preferable to have company on this journey and I truly support those of you who take the time to read and comment upon my random ramblings. Thank you.

Where are you on your writing journey today?

64 thoughts on “I’m Writing A Book….Part 465,589

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  1. This post put a giggling smile on my face for the metaphors you used describing the feeling we get as writers. I too have that evil voice in my head that nags me incessantly about how pointless my writing is and is always there to offer its solution of giving up when I get stuck on a mental block some days. Your analogy about your laptop was hilarious too. I’m sure your purpose for this post wasn’t in hopes to get a laugh and I don’t want to make you think I’m devaluing your words but I just had to let you know that you made someone smile today. That’s what really matters, right? Also, I’d be honored and very grateful to be used as a lab rat for the editing of your book, at any stage, for any reason. May God bless your creative flow while finishing your book and keep you positive along the way.
    Thanks,
    Leslie ❤️❤️❤️

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  2. I was reading this & thinking, tell me about it! I worked steadily on my novel & then hit a brick wall … honestly, with the daily shit show that is going on here in the States, I have trouble understanding why anyone would still be interested in anything as superficial as novels. But recently, I took out the manuscript & started reading it … realizing that I have TWO novels & now I have a whole LOT of work.

    Of course, I can always find other things to do. That’s a given.

    Liked by 1 person

          1. Sweden. But we have unusually hot summer, each day +29,30C. We don’t have any rains. And we don’t have any air conditioner too, bcz we don’t need them. So inside 30-32C too 😂
            We have cold summers 🙂 but 2018-crazy. No rains in July at all too.

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            1. Good! We worked out this morning and then headed out on some errands, including shopping for my birthday meal, going to the orthodontist, and practicing my dance on the stage at the park. Now I tired and sore with aching teeth 😂 but what else is new? How’s your day?

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                1. Awesome, I did write a letter to you! It’s signed and sealed, but we need some international stamps. The post office was closed today or we would have gotten them! But it will get to you… Eventually.
                  My bday is on July 23, what about you?

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  3. I love this! We let fear break us down so often but don’t let that fear win! Set targets and deadlines and push yourself to accomplish your goals! You are so capable and I can tell it will be an amazing book because you write so beautifully in your blogs!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’ve written several short stories but haven’t written that novel yet. I have that first book in me, that is not fiction, that I am holding back on as well. Sometimes it helps just to write for fun for a while before getting the stressful stuff out. That’s what I’m doing. I also write simple poems. Maybe you jumped in too deep at once. Start with something simple and see if it helps.

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          1. Aren’t you happy to have discovered that all your life experiences were helpful after all? I would have to defer to your expertise if any of my characters wished to have a hangover.

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  5. M. Talmage Moorehead has written a superlative post, “Toxic Self-talk Cloaked in Objectivity” (https://wp.me/p1MDMa-1d1) at his blog Storiform.com. (He has had his own spiritual upheavals.)

    About writing: Becoming an author has often been likened to becoming a parent. In this respect, it’s very much like childbirth, when there comes a time (called “transition”), when the contractions are so long, so strong, and so close together, most women can be depended on to say, “I can’t do this any more.” When nurses and midwives hear women say that, we know it’s a very good sign, because it means that the birth process is almost complete: any minute now, “pushing” will start, and within the next couple of hours, there will be a baby. Of course, the time frame is a bit different for a book, but it seems that the same thing happens to many, many authors.

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  6. I understand as a fellow writer the frustration and doubt you are feeling. Sometimes taking a break is good though so you can come back with fresh eyes and insights. Ignore the voice and press on my friend. You’ve got this!!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I love your metaphors! Sometimes i wonder who would be interested enough to read what I write. I constantly battle with the fear that I’m not good enoug, I’ve also had some of my work rejected too. But it won’t stop me from trying even though every time, that’s exactly what i want to do. Thank you for this!

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  8. I find it comforting to read posts like yours, Stephen. 🙂 It tells me that we are a nameless million, struggling alone in our valleys of shadow, yet by virtue of our numbers, not lonely! Thanks. 😀

    Also, may I ask what your book is about? If you have two drafts under your belt, it suggests you’re a fair bit ahead on the path!

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  9. “I choose to ignore it and push on”… awesome line! The perfect description of the constant battle against anxiety that rages in my mind. My amygdala keep yelling SNAKE but I know it’s just branch… ignore it… and move on. I really need to spend more time on your page 🙃

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