Holy crap, I’ve hit several roadblocks with my writing lately.
Even though I’ve done a shitload of preparation to still hit my 40,000 word count by the end of December – Christmas and all its shenanigans are dangerously close to ruining my plans.
I know, however, that that is no excuse. I’ve promised myself that if I’m falling behind, catch-ups with friends and my favourite past time of lazing around at home watching New Girl will be cancelled to make way for more writing time.
Not only are plans getting in the way, but so is my brain.
Now that I’m knocking over all the scenes I had planned out to a tee, I’m having to work on the more difficult ones, and self-doubt keeps rearing its ugly head.
On a whim, I recently reached out to one of my favourite author’s ever voicing my concerns – and she actually replied. Twice. She told me that she too second-guesses things all the time, even as she’s writing her current book (which is a sequel to my favourite book ever). Her advice was that it’s okay to step back when you’re spinning. So I did. I practically leapt back and didn’t open my work in progress (WIP) for two days.
Now, I’d love to say that when I revisited my WIP, all was fixed and right in the world again. No. I ended up writing this scene that came into my mind which is COMPLETELY DIFFERENT TO WHAT I HAD PLANNED. Why do I do this?! I then start thinking about how many other people do this. Should I completely change the backstory of my male lead to fit this part in? Is it because I should change things as it could make the story more interesting or is it because this is how a writer’s brain works and it will always happen? Should I save that for another story or incorporate it into this one? Send help.
A quick internet/social media search reassures me that most other writers do go through this sort of thing.
But so many put up such a good front, it’s confusing. I follow my favourite authors on social media, I read and watch interviews and I research their personal journeys. Whilst I know that social media can make things seems shinier and smoother than they really are, I can’t help but marvel at how many successful authors seem self-assured, knock stories over in a matter of months, manage to sell their books well, they write full-time and that they’ve got their shit together. Not only that, when I read their books: I think they’re brilliant. I love them. I can tell they’re written by a pro and not some rookie like me.
As you can see, writing your first novel can be a bit of a mind game.
It’s hard to not let self-doubt, paranoia, outside influences and commentary, extra ideas and distractions creep in and ruin the fun parts. I can only hope, that by pushing through the difficult times, I manage to achieve something I have always wanted to do, but have never actually accomplished: Finish a bloody first draft of my own novel.
Pray for me.
Oh, and Merry Christmas Eve (my brain will turn off in a few beers).