The blank page.
That dreaded blank page. It’s horrible!
Why do we do this to ourselves?
I think, largely, it is because writers are gluttons for punishment. We’re never happy, and if we should be then we will find something to keep us down. And what better way than to start a new project?
Read a 1-star review of our work, you suggest? Yes, that is a good plan, too… Unless you get the kind of 1-stars you’re proud of (and I have been, lately… I’ve really liked them).
I am lucky this time around in that I’ve written two previous books in the same series I’m continuing on, so I have a decent string of events I already know I need to cover to tie off the loose ends. But that doesn’t really make the writing easier. Writing is still hard.
I’m still working on finishing up WARRIOR’S TOUCH (Book 2 in the series) with final edits with my publisher, Kristell Ink, to go… assuming they’ll sign me up to publish it… (o:
But even finishing off my edits from Beta Readers was hard work. Oh, sure, fixing a few typos here and there was pretty easy (although, they keep poking their heads up, those nasty things… found a few more last night… and that’s AFTER many pairs of eyes have been over it…), but my planned 120,000 word story that had grown to a 127,000 word story has now ended up a little over 131,000 words… So, yeah, I’ve had to write YET MORE NEW STUFF. And writing new fiction is hard work. You’ve got to make it up, but you’ve got to make it believable, and not use the same old, same old phrases over and over again, and be new and fresh (and not just compared to other writers, either, but compared to yourself!)… And your characters can’t be dumb, but they’ve got to be real (which means they may make mistakes), and they’ve got to be good role models, but they can’t be Mary Sues or that male equivalent, what’s his name? A Gary Sue? I have no idea.
And I’ve got to be careful because, for instance, I have a background in biology (mostly Zoology, but I also dabbled in Ecology, and I LOVED Genetics), but I can’t assume that my readers know what I know… but I also don’t want to treat my readers as if they’re dumb, because they’re not. They just might have different expertise to me…
And so… what is a writer to do? One can let themselves be frozen by indecision because there are just too many balls to keep in the air and I just can’t do it, I never learned to juggle…
Or, we can write exactly how and what we want to write but only for ourselves and never send our work into the world, except maybe sharing a few pages here and there with our nearest and dearest (and I know plenty of very talented writers who I suspect will only ever do this).
Or, we can decide that this is a challenge we want to take, and it’s a wager we want to put on the table, and it might go nowhere, or it might destroy us, or it might keep us going for a few more days, weeks, months, years… Or, we might hit the jackpot.
And I think that’s the thing. If you write with a plan to publish, you’re a gambler. You’re gambling that all those hours spent thinking, brainstorming, reading, writing, editing, re-writing, editing again, proof reading, polishing, publishing, marketing, etc, etc… will somehow pay off.
It is completely different to the kind of job in which you get paid just for showing up.
It’s the best thing in the world ever, it’s the hardest thing in the world ever, why did I even start and what possessed me to think I could take it to a professional level?
And you read over something you’ve written previously and you think “Wow, did I actually write that, cos it’s really good.” And then you read something else you’ve written and you think “I’m not 100% certain on that bit, but I don’t know how to make it better, I suck, I suck, I suck, and people are waiting to read this book and some of it’s great but it’s held together by not-so-great bits, but how long do I have to spend on it, and if I spend any more time on it, what’s going to stop me from binning it and starting again, only, if I start again, I have NO IDEA how I would do it different, because this story has been there in this form since well before I actually started writing it and I just don’t now, I don’t know, I DON’T KNOW anymore! Aaarrgh!”
I guess what I’m trying to say is that I have finally given up nit-picking WARRIOR’S TOUCH on my own and I have made the commitment to share it, warts and all, with Kristell Ink and now I am beginning to point my energies in the direction of MAGICIAN’S TOUCH.
But that would have made for a boring post. So I wrote other stuff, too.