Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Writers Block: My self imposed Maze of Madness

Procrastination. Fear. Distractions. Lack of support. Excuses….Life. 

i have been working on a full length YA novel for the past 10 months, ‘Something Pink’, and have only made it to 87 000 words (or 3 quarters of the way through the actual story for those who don’t like to focus on word count). The first 50 000 words got put down in one hell of a shotgun month, but since have been so edited (read: huge chunks deleted due to the fact that they were utter and complete CRAP) that they barely exist as they first came out anymore. Since then i have been struggling to finish the story and round things up in a neat little 100 000 word package.

It's just not happening.

i have read so many articles on writers block, on the novelists volatile relationship with her books, on how when where why HOW people manage to finish, or not finish as the case may be. And i have been through ALL of it.

i hate my book one day, feel ok’ish about it the next, wish my characters would just die already (even tho this book is not that kind of novel) and hate hate HATE my writing style by the end of every chapter!

Its almost like my bad back. i wake up feeling alright, but by the end of the day am in so much pain i just want to give it all up.

i have had dreams where my completely fictional character comes to life, conversations with people where i found myself thinking what my character would have said, waged war on my excessive use of the exclamation mark only to keep doing it (!!!) and even mused about how to make the bad guy ‘gooder’ and the good guy ‘badder’ as i don’t think either of them are believable, even though they are both based on real life people.

i have discovered that when i read at night, i write better the next day. But when i watch series or movies with Husband, the next day its as if my brain has been sucked out by some inspiration-feeding alien being and i go all pod-person on myself. i have figured out that if i get up and go to gym first thing it gets my juices going and my brain cogs seem to turn right, but then start to get lost in the process of gym and only get down to writing after lunch time! i have found that when i set myself a solid ‘baby-steps’ deadline, a small one, it invariably works out.

But then after i have reached said deadline (50 000 words, 65 000 words, 80 000 words….kind of like a service plan for a car…) the world around me with its home renovations, gym, climbing the mountain, blogging, seeing friends, piano, cooking, shoes, Husband and all his cuteness, making gifts/cards, arranging parties/family events, self doubt issues, bad spelling, the cats, reading, watching just one more episode, planning, cleaning, back-breaking furnature rearranging, etc etc! just takes over and i never get back to it!

Until the next deadline.

i have made a myriad of excuses not to write, sat staring at a blank computer ‘Word’ window for ages with nothing, and then written like a demon possessed, all in one week! And i have changed soooo much of the book 'for the better' only to realize it kills another plot in the story and i have to back track and start over. i am wading through a puzzle of spun webs and even though i am the creator, am so lost in my own maze!

And all this for a light hearted, soft-cover sort of easy read that will probably take my readers a single afternoon to finish when i actually DO publish!? Really?!?

And of course, then i will have a good day and everything just works out – i kick up a flurry of words in a whirlwind of story telling, but when the dust settles the next day, the doom settles in again with it. And the thing goes from being called ‘the book’ to ‘the F#*%&$ing book!’ (i borrowed this from another writer i once heard say the exact same thing...dont remember her name...dont know if she ever did finish...) Which means its time to procrastinate, make shiny excuses, go for a run, start the dinner, browse over 108 different options of light switches/bathroom tiles/wood-stain tones for the house, watch some Gilmore Girls while sewing up that hem i've been meaning to get to, and hide away from my laptop again.


i even went to a herbalist who was going to align my thingymabobs, fix my mineral whatchemacallits, and open the channels of creativity with her spun sugar water. (Ok i actually love the herbalist and LOVE the treatments and it has made a big difference in my mood if nothing else, so i am just being facetious for the sake of this post. Sorry Herbalist! Love you and your snake oils too!)

But yesterday i read a blog post by a friend, fellow novelist and someone i look up to in the world of word writing (and who’s first published work ‘When the Sea is Rising Red’ will be available in 2012) and everything just clicked into place! She captured a moment in a writers life so beautifully that i HAD to read it 5 times over. And then again to Husband when he got home after work. Particularly this part:

"See, I have this book. I kinda like it, but not enough. Or rather, I used to like it but now I’m scared of writing it because it isn’t perfect, and it’s dumb, and everyone will laugh at me because it’s shite. (It’s also first draft and unfinished, so shite by default, but I have never let things like logic bother me)."

Thank you Cat. i have been inspired to keep at it, as i am not the only one feeling this way and if you, a freshly successful writer, can have peanut butter and jam moments, then i think i might just be able to buck up and finish after all J

So my new deadline starts today (i work well with deadlines) i have given myself two weeks to complete the full 100 000 words, with or without edit writing. This is my promise to myself, to you and to the general blogsphere e-world out there.

Wish me luck!

Love, lust and fairy-star-dust
Cherry Blossom

1 comment:

  1. :) Glad I could be a moment of inspiration. Fwiw, many writers go through this quagmire of self-doubt and loathing. You are so not alone!

    (And we all whine about it, a lot. Some of us publicly.)