Now I Know How George R.R. Martin Feels

Yesterday I sat staring at an empty notebook and began to jot down ideas for Book 2. I then tentatively started to write, three paragraphs no less. Now that might not sound a lot but it was a massive mental step for me. A dam had been opened and the floodwaters of creativity began to gush across the barren plains of my mind. I was writing again, not much, but it was a start. And at at last I could answer the question that had been repeatedly popping up in day to day conversations with folk.

‘Have you started the next book yet?’

No longer do I have to prevaricate over my answer, feeling weirdly annoyed and guilty in equal measure. I don’t owe people anything, least of all another novel. Some of those asking the question expectantly haven’t even bothered to read the first one. Yet, still the question is asked. And still I shuffle awkwardly from one foot to the other like a nervous schoolboy who has forgotten his homework, desperately scrabbling for an excuse. No more.

‘Why yes, I have actually.’

I’m not going to tell them I’ve written roughly half a page, but I have started. And, what’s more, I needed a break. Book 1, from cradle to grave, was a two year process. It was draining, a slog which I wouldn’t wish on anyone. Yet at the end of it I held a book in my hands with my name on it. I was proud of my achievement but tired and in need of a rest. I’ve said it before and I’ve said it again. Writing is hard work. Give me a marathon any day of the week.

‘Actually, Kirkwood Scott is part of a trilogy. Possibly more.’

Oh shut up, Stephen. Stop telling them that. Now they expect three books, possibly more. Can’t you quit while you’re ahead? Well, no, I can’t actually. This crazy story in my head needs to be told, I need to get it down on paper or I fear I’ll go quite mad. It’s a literary exorcism and, lacking a creepy priest, it’s up to me to drag it kicking and screaming from my imagination. I’m afraid there is no other option.

I now know how George R.R. Martin feels. I’m in no way comparing myself to the great man, in terms of ability or success. I’m many light years from either of those, but if he had a dollar for every time he’d been asked when the next ‘Game of Thrones’ book was coming he’d be a very wealthy man. Or an even wealthier man than he already is. I used to be the same. Just write the flipping book, man. Stop being so lazy and give the people what they want.

I now understand that it doesn’t work that way. In my day job I turn up at my desk at 9am and leave at 5pm. In between, there are eight (mostly) productive hours. There is progress, achievement, activity; a tangible product to show my boss should they suspect I’ve been skiving all day. I don’t even have to think very hard about it. I go to work and I work. Writing doesn’t quite work like that. There are days you turn up and nothing happens.

Literally….nothing.

Make that weeks, months. While writing Book 1, I had a two month period where I didn’t go near it. I had nothing until, one day, I had something. Writing is not a regulated, uniform flow. It can be a rushing torrent, a steady trickle or a rusty faucet offering not a drop. Which is why so many of us are plagued with doubt. We can be J.R.R. Tolkien one day and utterly unable to string two sentences together the next. There are no constants, no norms when it comes to the telling of stories.

I’m writing again. I was bursting with excitement yesterday as I checked over my latest brainstorming session. But for now, I’ll keep my powder dry and my head down. There will be no ‘spoiler alerts’ on this blog, I can assure you. But it is happening and it will happen. Possibly even before the next Game of Thrones tome. I’ve no idea when that is either. I’ve stopped asking.

Published by Fractured Faith Blog

We are Stephen and Fionnuala and this is our story. We live in Northern Ireland, have been married for 15 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.

33 thoughts on “Now I Know How George R.R. Martin Feels

  1. Well, look at the bright side… If people are pestering you for a sequel, they like your work. 🙂

    The modding community for the game Skyrim is outright toxic on this subject. One group of people were working on a mod to make the game multiplayer. It’s a complex piece of work, turning a single player game into a multiplayer, and the modders usually work for free. This group got everything from demands to turn their work over to the community at large to death threats for not getting their work done soon enough.

    I guess the point there is, if things aren’t that bad yet, you’re doing OK. Just keep on moving forward and remember that internal pressure will block your creativity more than most outside pressure ever could.

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  2. Arrg! I know how tough it is eeking out the beginning of a new book. Non-writers wouldn’t understand the massive accomplishment of one sentence or paragraph! It’s a beginning that lights the fire and sends you forth until you hit another roadblock, and then the beginning of a new scene or chapter. I’ve been at that impasse with my current WIP. Twenty chapters into the book, I stalled for two weeks. 🙂 Good luck with the new book!

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      1. Oh, no! I have too much time invested in this one. It’s a Paranormal Historical Fiction based around Sullivan’s Expedition (American Revolution and Iroquois Nation) in one of my favorite place, Geneva New York Finger Lakes. Pacing this one slowly. 🙂

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  3. Well done! And my sincere apologies for being one of those who asked the, “Have you begun the next book yet?” question. Thanks to your inspiration, I have begun work on my book. I have found that you are 100% spot-on when you say “writing is hard work.” At times it is such a slog. And then at others, it is a magical release. But now I find I cannot not do it… if that makes sense.

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  4. I can’t wait to read the first one and if it’s as good as everyone says it is (which I strongly feel it will be) then I would most definitely like to read another (no pressure or anything!!). I definitely hear you about the writing process. Sometimes it flows, other times it doesn’t, but you can never force it or more likely then not it will be a disaster.

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  5. I too was completely exhausted after publishing my first book as well. The next two books will be pulled together as a collective work and those books were written and edited before I published the first one. We write because we have too! Even if the books don’t do what we hope they will, it doesn’t matter and writing is a very personal experience for me. I am happy for you that the words are coming. Yea, a reason for celebrating within itself​. Love J

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  6. Congrats on getting started again and on having completed work. I start, stop, start, stop. Find a story, become bored with a story. Create a character, grow to hate a character. One day I’ll have my great inspiration. Or not. Meanwhile I write what little I can and try to be happy with that. 🙂

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  7. Best of luck to you! I’ve never tried to write a book; I’ve never actually had the desire to. I shall sit here across the seas and wait as patiently upon my hands as possible for the new novel, which is I suppose as close to pregnancy and labor as a man can ever come. 😂 This summer I participated in two launch teams, so if you need beta readers, I’m volunteering ahead of time. *wink wink*

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  8. When you’re writing, do you ever have an hour-long session where ideas are flying out of your fingertips and then all of a sudden this feeling comes over you like “I don’t want to do this anymore” and you feel like everything you just wrote is crap? That’s what I deal with a lot. I’m learning to not reflexively delete everything and just let it sit, but I find that I never come back to it…

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  9. Best of luck to you with writing! I agree with your article especially the part about starting out on a book. That is the real struggle there, getting the ball rolling. I would like to read your book and I’ll keep following your blog.

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  10. This was a great post. The one I have been desperately waiting on is the third book in the Name of the Wind series by Patrick Rothfuss. I can’t imagine the patience and dedication it would take to finish a novel. I admire you all that can do that. My desires are not writing a novel, but learning to paint. I am crippled by my need to work quickly and see a finished product, rather than work with purpose and care in patience to develop a masterpiece. I have been crippled with a drive thru mentality. In the meantime, I wait patiently to devour Rothfuss’ end to his trilogy, and of course, the end (the REAL end) to the Game of Thrones series.

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