The hardest part of the writing life isn’t about digging up a worthy story, finding time to write, polishing your prose until it shines or even, these days, publishing. That stuff is hard, sure. (And kind of fun if you’re that type.) No, I think the hardest part is the inner stuff. Motivation. Attitude. Clarity.
These inner states are, in the writing life, assailed by your own personal dragon. He loves you, honestly he does. He’s a
I don’t have too much advice here–like most authors, I slog through that stuff the best I can. No Buddha-like moments of now-I-get-it, or sage platitudes of how to Really Get It.
The best I can do is list some of the things I’ve been dealing with in last week. I assure you, none of this is new or temporary. It’s perennial. Purpose here, besides getting it off my chest, is to assure some of you who are new in the field that you’ve got company when the inner dragon breathes fire.
My head last week:
1. Re-planning my novel, which had already been planned, but which, from feedback, I learned was not quite working. Inner dragon: Why didn’t you do it right the first time?
2. The upcoming scenes are the dreaded middle section. Do I have enough there there? Inner dragon: Nope
3. Too much time on characterization and not enough on plot? Inner D: You’ve written eleven novels and you Still don’t know the answer?!
3. The current novel is out there and getting great reviews. Inner D: Yeah, and some snide and self-righteous ones, too. Whole sentences of which you’ve memorized. Me: So? Inner D: Just sayin’.
4. Cleaned my office. Stacks of paper, notes, research, tutorials, newspaper clippings, recipes, to-do lists. Inner D: There went Another couple hours when you weren’t writing!
5. I hold reading events and even my friends don’t show up. Wah! Inner D: Oh please. You think you’re the only busy one? And, how much time do you spend on friendships anyway? Me: But I’m supposed to write! Inner D: *Rolls big yellow eyes.*
6. Planted 75 bulbs in the garden. Inner D: Don’t even Look at me!
7. Someone told me that they can hardly wait to get my book at the library. Inner D: They said that to be mean. Me: But it’s Sort of encouraging, isn’t it? Inner D: Nope.
8. My numbers really sucked for over five hours on Amazon today. Inner D: What can you expect? And why are you wasting time hovering over numbers when you should be Getting Pages? Me: You are crass and uncaring. Inner D: It’s what dragons are for.
9. I haven’t heard from my agent in quite a while. . . Inner D: And we all know what That means. Me: Silence.
10. Well at least I got the bulbs planted. It will be a glorious spring! Inner D: Have you thought about Horticulture for a profession?
I know next week will be better. Inner D: Censored.