There is a point in every novel I write where I am utterly miserable. The book is a big mess, full of TKs (“to come”) and notes to myself (“fix this in line with Chapter 22”), sloppy writing and dull characterization. It feels like it will never, ever be finished, and even if it is, it will be the biggest pile of manure to yet arrive on the literary scene.
I am there now. It usually lasts 2-3 months, and it is the reason I will procrastinate and procrastinate and procrastinate until there is no more time—I have to sit my rear down in my chair and put words on the page, day after day after day after day. All alone. Me, myself and the blinking cursor and the characters who are nowhere near as charming as I had expected they would be when we first began this journey so long ago.
Day after day after day.
I’ve noticed that it sometimes alarms newer writers when I talk about how much I hate my current book. Their eyes fly open and they lean in with concern. “Has it ever felt this way before?” They are afraid that I really am going to embarrass myself, that I’ve stumbled into a the quicksand of writer’s block, that somehow, this will be the end of me.
It’s not. It’s just the process. I’m miserable mainly because I’m kind of lazy and writing is seriously hard work, seriously hard work. It takes a lot of physical stamina and mental stamina and a clear head and— [Read more…]