Writing Doubts

I’m experiencing a mental block with regards my writing. Note, I’m not calling it writer’s block for it’s not as if my creative well has dried up. Rather, the opposite. The ideas in my head continue to pile up, so much so, that I’ve purchased a notebook to write them all down in. I amuse myself by thinking that one day it will auction for £1 million. There’s no harm in dreaming, I guess.

I’m also blogging regularly about a range of topics. The problem is breaking the ice on Book Two. I roughly know the plot which revolves around several key incidents which rise out of the murky waters of my mind like craggy rocks jutting above the surface at low tide. They are the foundations of the novel, the rest will form around them as I engage in the creative process.

I am a ‘seat of the pants’ writer or ‘pantser’ as the writing community refers to us. It’s not a case of making it up as I go along, but a lot of my ideas come to me as I engage in the physical act of writing. It’s as if the book is writing itself, some other being has taken control of my fingertips as I tap frantically at the keyboard. Sometimes I read back over what I’ve written in astonishment. Did I actually write that?

To date, sitting down and launching into Book 2 has evaded me. Even thinking about it causes me anxiety, just like I fret before a long run or business meeting. I know when I start I’ll be fine and the nerves will disappear. It’s just typing that first sentence, getting back into the groove of the Kirkwood Scott universe. It’s a big ask and people expect me to deliver the goods. As ever, I doubt my own ability.

I’ve been tinkering with another story, ‘Bomb Girl,’ in the meantime, posting it on the blog in a serialised format. It hasn’t been scoring a lot of views, which has impacted upon my always low confidence. Equally, sales of Kirkwood have been steady, but unspectacular. I still have a way to go before I’m packing in the day job. But I knew all that. I’m a fledgling author, I need to build a body of work.

Rome wasn’t built in a day, or Belfast for that matter, yet the doubts persist. People who say they were going to read the book haven’t, people who have read it haven’t posted reviews. Do they all hate it but are too nice to tell me so? Are people tiring of it all? I need to promote my work but am I starting to sound like a broken record. Am I turning folk off in my efforts to publicise my work?

It’s a double edged sword and I feel as if I’m walking a jagged tightrope along its gleaming edge. I’m returning to work this morning after almost two weeks off and the net sum of my writing has been one rather hurried chapter of ‘Bomb Girl.’ And only then because Fionnuala encouraged me to do so. Left to my own devices I would probably still be staring at a blank laptop screen. It just hasn’t been happening.

I need a collective kick up the backside to pull my finger out and get back in the saddle. Kirkwood was fresh in my mind and I now know I should have started Book 2 almost as soon as the ink was dry on its predecessor. You live and you learn. I need Kirkwood, Meredith, Harley and the others to take up residence once more. It’s time for Skelly to start plotting once more, time to return to the Square.

Published by Fractured Faith Blog

We are Stephen and Fionnuala and this is our story. We live in Northern Ireland, have been married for 17 years and have three kids - Adam, Hannah and Rebecca. We hope that our story will inspire and encourage others. We have walked a rocky road yet here we are today, together and stronger than ever. We are far from perfect and our faith has been battered and bruised. But an untested faith is a pointless faith. Just as a fractured faith is better than none at all. We hope you enjoy the blog.

58 thoughts on “Writing Doubts

  1. Wow… Been there and am there on this one also… I wish I had an answer for us beyond just sitting down at the word processor and battling through it. That’s how the big names supposedly do it.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. I’ve been rather absent from the world of WordPress for a few weeks but having bought your book knowing I wouldn’t get round to reading it for ages I found a new way… My amazon echo has been reading it to me while I get on with my art or sewing. I’m about 2/3 of the way through and really enjoying it so far.
    Don’t doubt yourself, you write really well, drawing the reader into the mind and life of your characters.
    My books have almost no sales now, I don’t know how to promote them without sounding like a broken record and even from a free giveaway I got almost no reviews even though many people downloaded them. Self publishing comes without marketing so it will always be difficult to get known and successful as a writer.
    Keep going Stephen, you have the talent xx

    Liked by 3 people

  3. What you describe as a “pantster” is the only way I know how to write! Every time I try to plot something out and do a bunch of front-end research, my writing falls apart and I lose interest.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I’m still amazed at how easily you make the art of writing appear. Putting into sentences the thoughts I have about real-life experiences is quite challenging to me. I can’t imagine the focus, insight and creativity it must take to write a story that only exists in your mind. Plots, characters, scenes and continuity are too much for me to wrap my collective senses around. Congratulations on putting your skills into full use and completing a full-length novel. Oh yeah, you did this while working a full-time job, running marathons and being a loving husband and father. No cape required! You’re awesome man.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I know what you mean. I look at my analytics and it says people are looking at my stuff but there are no comments or reviews. It does get discouraging. Wish I knew the secret too, but all I can think of is the “Finding Nemo” meme “Just keep writing.” And try to remember that writing is supposed to be fun.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Work on other projects. Just get it down. That series you were talking about how the book got started and such could actually turn into a self-help book. The Bomb Girl serials could work out to a novella. Consider that epublishing yourself after the initial success could build more of a following as they look for your name.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Good luck with Book 2, keep us updated! I just finished the first draft of my sequel last week. I’m feeling torn between needing a break from the writing but wanting to go back and polish it up.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. When all else fails, write. Just write anything. let the juices flow. you can always delete it if it sucks. Embrace the suck and just write. forget the notebook idea as you write, just hit the caps button and write your ideas in the middle of it all. when you are done with the story and start rewriting, dig them out and file them in a separate file you have open to the side. bingo. lots of writing.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I understand exactly what you mean but for me I’ve just turned it all off. I haven’t blogged in a while and I’m not sure why. I guess when I think about it I feel I’ve lost my writing abilities which I know isn’t true. I’m just not motivated but trying to get back there. So hang in there, Blessings.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I want Bomb Girl!! I’m still reading the book. Very slow reader, and I’ve been too distracted to read. But I will try to read while flying across the pond!! Keep writing! (Some of us, *clearning throat* hate to write reviews. However, once I’m done, I will. My review so far is fantastic story!!)

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Oh gosh, a Slyvia Plath quote? lol I mean it sounds great, but is she the best person to take advice from? I think a bigger enemy to creativity is sticking your head in the oven and ending it all. She also just wasn’t the best writer. I think the only reason we hold her up as one of the greats is she’s the perfect embodiment of the “tortured artist”

    Any chance you could use a quote from a writer who didn’t spend the bulk of her oeuvre romanticizing suicide (all the worse since she actually did it eventually)?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I don’t agree. The large majority of literary critics would disagree with your summary that ‘she also just wasn’t the best writer.’ Plath was plagued by mental illness throughout her life, as many millions of people are. Should we disregard anything these people said or did because they choose to take their own lives? I must say I’m very disappointed with the heartless and judgemental tone of your comments.

      Liked by 4 people

  12. Love the Plath quote. I believe it to be 100% accurate. Self-doubt can however, be overcome with the help of encouragement from caring friends cheering you on.

    You are an amazing and talented writer. I’d buy your book if I wasn’t impoverished. Perhaps instead of constantly writing, you can take a short break. It seems counter to logic. In can for some be the much needed solution. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. I know when I hit a wall, I walk away for a time. Eventually, I find my muse, the inspiration returns and back to the keyboard I go. Every writer is different, we are all artists. The creative process works differently for each person.

    As far as your questions you posed, I haven’t purchased or read it so I wouldn’t know why people haven’t written reviews. Probably life is dynamic and they haven’t gotten to it yet. I’m sure they don’t hate it, that’s highly doubtful. The last two questions I can only answer from my perspective. I have come to enjoy reading your blog and the various subjects you cover. Faith, family, work, running, mental health, and so much more. As of late, the blog has become of steady promotion of your book. While I understand why, I very much miss your creative topics that drew me to your blog. Hope this helps.


    Liked by 2 people

      1. I wish I could be half the writer that you are. I can’t wait until I can buy your book, the autographed kind. Lol. Please doubt your talent or yourself Stephen, you truly shine! ⭐️

        Liked by 1 person

  13. Bomb Girl is amazing – I hope you publish it! I can and can’t wait for the next installment of the Kirkwood story – I can’t because it was SO blooming amazing, and made me see and feel to much. It is a GOOD BOOK, and if people fail to write reviews (maybe they’re afraid of being mocked? or living up to the tale?) that’s their bugbear. I can wait – because as I’ve said, school is cresting over the horizon for me. There’s not going to be much free time.
    Also, can we not gloss over the fact that the family holidays have just come to a bit of an end. You’re still coughing up reservoir water. be nice to Stephen. *looks pointedly at you*

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Hi, try to relax. You’ll get back to it, the story will come, and the writing will be great! I went through a writing slump and just needed to recharge my creative batteries. And relax. You wrote the first one; the second will flow, too, at the right time for you. Have a good one!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Hello Stephen, I have been reading and enjoying your blog for long to appreciate your efforts as a writer, husband and father. And, I’ve enjoyed the few chapters of Bomb Girl that you have serialized and shared. You’ve convinced and cajoled and otherwise persuaded me that it was time to read Skelly’s Square The Kirkwood Chronicles. I just downloaded the Ebook from Amazon’s US site. I look forward to reading and reviewing it.

    Can I interest you in returning the favor? I too am a not so young undiscovered writer. My latest novel was published in 2014. It’s enjoyed some good reviews but frankly, not enough. It’s a recreation of the Greek myth of the boy with wings who flew too close to the sun titled Icarus and the Wing Builder. Here the link if you’re interested: https://www.amazon.com/Icarus-Wing-Builder-Robert-William/dp/0989477096

    Robert Case a/k/a the bicycle poet

    Liked by 2 people

  16. I empathize with your creative….kerfuffle….I haven’t written a darn thing in over a month even though my brain keeps churning ideas out. So whenever I feel guilty about it (every minute of every day), I have to remind myself that writing is a JOB. I interviewed for it and it chose me. Writing is a demand-y kind of boss. It wants results, it wants it yesterday and only pays a meager salary that results in copious amounts of coffee and a weekly supply of (insert comfort food here). It often makes me cry on the inside because I feel incompetent and like EVERY FREAKING PERSON in the entire world could do this job better than me.

    Tell that judgy inner beiotch to back off. You did what many of us fledgling writers are striving to achieve: you PUBLISHED A BOOK. You need to remind yourself of how far you’ve come and how amazing that journey has been. Now…
    Sit your butt down in a chair and do not leave until you’ve written one paragraph. Even if it’s just complaining about not writing. If you feel like writing more than one paragraph, GREAT. If not, at least you showed up for your job for the day. You get paid. Don’t wait for inspiration or motivation. Don’t be a starving artist that way. DO YOUR JOB and you will be a much more practiced and accomplished writer ❤ #toughluv You got this. We are all in this together.

    Liked by 1 person

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