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.