Thursday, 21 March 2013

When Writing isn't Easy...

Fed up with Writing? This isn’t a situation I’ve been in, thankfully, but my enthusiasm has been put to the test at times. If you’re putting off writing and it’s not fear about being ‘good enough’ and not a problem with the storyline or the quality of the project itself – it could be other factors. 
I know I need a fair amount of encouragement and affirmation from people who know something about writing, as I go along. It’s hard to write into a void and it’s easy to forget earlier accomplishments. But, there are only so many times you can proclaim, ‘Yey – I’ve got to 40,000/50,000/60,000 words…’ to loved ones and friends. It’s a huge milestone to me, but it’s still only a work in progress. 

Most of the time, writers chug along without any gratification. It’s easy to run out of steam. We can’t fully celebrate until a book is finished and that can take months/years. Then it can be months before the editing process is completed. And then months/years before it finally appears on the shelf. If there is one thing writers need, it’s patience. A thick skin helps and tenacity, too.
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I know there are Writing Groups out there, providing valuable support, I’m sure. But, for some reason they don’t work for me. Getting feedback is essential in my view, but only once the book is finished. As I’m going along, I think too much diverse input from outsiders is distracting and confusing. It would bog me down and slow up my momentum. Just look at the range of comments that a book can get on a site like Amazon! ‘The characters leapt off the page…' 'The characters were dull and flat.' 'There was a great twist at the end…' 'I saw the pathetic attempt at a twist at the end coming a mile off.’ These are comments about the same book...

Attending a Writing Group also means a whole morning/afternoon when I’m not writing and my aim is always ‘to get the story down’ when it’s as fresh and dynamic as possible. 

I also need to fully trust the people I show my work to. It’s a very personal and vulnerable act to hand over the fragile products of my creativity. Once it’s finished, I have one or two trusted people who read a finished first draft through for me. It’s a nail-biting time! Then I make lots of changes where I think my reader has made valid points – which they always do - and then it goes to my Agent. Then I wait. More changes. More waiting… I know most Agents are busy and haven’t got time to ring round their writers just to see how they’re getting on.

Even though I know my first two novels will be published ‘at some stage’ in translations abroad, that achievement often feels old and in the past. It feels a long time since I signed those contracts...
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