I #AmWriting

If someone asked me, I’d tell them I haven’t written anything in three months, but that isn’t entirely true. I haven’t written as much as I would like. I haven’t worked on the projects I feel I should be working on. But I’ve written. (A little.)

To tell you the truth, I’ve been down on myself lately. Between chronic pain, exhaustion, and other life challenges, I barely write at all. I spend more time sleeping than on my laptop, and when I am on my laptop, I’m usually scrolling through Facebook instead of writing.

Months ago, I set a goal to finish the fourth book (Nightbound) in the Spellbringers series. I wanted to finish the book by the end of 2016. It didn’t happen. I’m still only about halfway through. Every time I sell a copy of Unbound (Book Three), I feel guilty because I haven’t worked on Nightbound since early December. I’ve missed several writing goals and I’ve been very disappointed in myself. Unfortunately, I just don’t feel like writing it. I’m stuck on the plot and I’m having a hard time immersing myself in the world I’ve created.

nano cover

Some writers would say I should push through my writers block and write every day no matter what. Indeed, a big part of me has been berating myself for not taking that advice. With each day that passes, I feel increasingly guilty about not working on Nightbound.

A couple of weeks ago, I worked on edits on an unnamed novelette I wrote a year ago. I even submitted the story to my local critique group and received some very helpful feedback. But if you’d asked me, I would have told you I hadn’t been writing. Because it wasn’t Nightbound, so it didn’t really count.

Last week, I drafted and began writing a children’s book that I’m pretty excited about. But, that doesn’t count as writing either. Because it isn’t Nightbound, right?

Today I began a new project. I’ve written about 1000 words today. But that doesn’t count either. (Okay, so you know where I’m going with this…)

On one hand, I’m a little panicked to have so many unfinished projects hanging out in my laptop. But part of me is also happy to be writing. There’s no shame in not finishing a project. And there’s no shame in not writing.

Some people might disagree with me, but I don’t think you have to write every day to be a writer. I don’t think it’s necessary to finish or publish every story you write. It’s okay to experiment. It’s okay to scrap a project that isn’t working out. It’s okay to write just for the fun of it. And it’s okay to take breaks.

As writers, we’re often our harshest critiques. That is certainly the case for me. I’m much harder on myself than I would ever be on someone else. For now, I’m going to take it one day at a time. I’m going to work on being kinder to myself. And I’m going to try to enjoy the process of writing instead of being so focused on the end result.

Happy writing, everyone!

 

37 thoughts on “I #AmWriting

  1. Yes! So yes! I have got to remember to enjoy the process instead of focusing on the end result. I’ll be the first to admit, I don’t write every day. I don’t even keep a daily word count any longer. I keep a monthly word count and a weekly one, but not daily. There are some days I just can’t get around to the writing like I want to.

    I’m one I will push through writers block, but mine is usually caused by fear. However this last time I pushed through a draft when I wasn’t connecting with the world, and it read just like that. There was this disconnect when you read it back. It was horrifying. I scrapped it and had to rewrite the whole thing.

    Also like you I have projects that won’t ever see the light of day or are half finished. I learned something from all of them still. I put a lot of pressure on myself to write one certain project so it doesn’t matter what I’m working on it isn’t enough because it isn’t on that project. Often times it might not be writing even, but it is in marketing, blogging or other countless ways to be building up a platform.

    Thank you for the solid reminder to enjoy the whole process of writing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I can relate to the feeling of fear. There have been many times when I lost momentum and it took ages to get back to writing. I’m afraid if I stop writing, I won’t go back to it. After several years of writing, I should know by now that I always go back to it.

      I also like the point you made about blogging (which is also writing!) and other things authors do to build a platform. Any writing we do counts. If we get too rigid with our word count goals or with forcing ourselves to write every day, it’s easy to forget why we are writing in the first place – because we love it.

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  2. I think you have the healthiest attitude one could ever aspire to. I believe one has to honor a certain creative flow, and the idea of pushing yourself seems, to me, to be counter productive. I wrote three novels back to back, and am now waiting for “the jury to come in” on my third. I have yet to embark upon a fourth novel for a couple of reasons: where my third book lands will indicate a particular direction, and it occurs to me to get more in the traffic of life, as when I write a novel, it is an all-consuming, full-time job. Although I do continue to write pieces and submit them to magazines, this has been all I’ve been doing since last December. I will say I like to stay in the traffic with other writers online, and certainly, promoting my two books that are out counts for something. But I think it’s infinitely more sensible to honor your own energetic flow. Sometimes one simply needs to regroup. Doesn’t mean you’re any less of a writer; it just means your paying attention to your internal guidance. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on a great subject.

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  3. “…I don’t think you have to write every day to be a writer. I don’t think it’s necessary to finish or publish every story you write. It’s okay to experiment. It’s okay to scrap a project that isn’t working out. It’s okay to write just for the fun of it. And it’s okay to take breaks…”

    AMEN! I get tired of the author/writer shaming done by so many fellow writers/authors with their lists of things you must do/think/be in order to be a “real” writer. As long as you’re writing, you are a writer, no matter what the project is.

    (Though I admit I am waiting for book 4… so…. :p)

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  4. I think your attitude is great Tricia. You are still writing and things are still exciting you which is great. A momentary hiccup on the series is just that, a hiccup. When your brain gets itself round whatever the little problem is that prevents you carrying on, you’ll be back at it harder than ever.If you push yourself to write more on the serial before you’re ready, the quality won’t be there.
    Good luck with whatever you decide to work on before restarting Nightbound, and when you’re ready I hope the words just flow for you.
    xxx Massive Hugs xxx

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  5. So much depends on what you want to do and what you feel physically capable of doing. It sounds to me as though you do write every day which means you must want to write every day. That alone means you’re a writer and you’re doing what writers do. There’s no law that says you have to work on a particular project. If you have a publisher breathing down your next for a completed ms then there’s an imperative to finish what you started, otherwise just do what you want, write what you want and just wait for that lightbulb moment when you see the plot turning in Nightbound you’ve been waiting for.

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    • Thanks, Jane. You’re absolutely right. I’m going to give myself permission to write what I want. Poetry, short stories, blog posts, or just ramblings that aren’t published anywhere. I need to make writing fun again. If it isn’t fun, why do it?

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  6. Writing is a writing. Just because you didn’t work on your main series doesn’t mean you haven’t been writing. You may just need a break from the series. It happens to me with my series. You need to take some time off from the characters and plot.
    I agree, you don’t need to write everyday to be a writer. But if you’re really feeling stuck and really want to get back into it, then I would suggest starting with a brainstorming session here and there. Maybe find a writing prompt or two and writing short pieces just to get back into the swing of things.
    Good luck!

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  7. I think we all need to give ourselves permission to ignore those well-meaning friends and readers (when is your next book going to be published?) and our inner critic and just enjoy the process of writing. If that means setting aside a manuscript in favour of another project or living your life or, in your case, Tricia, dealing with chronic pain, so be it. Both inner and outer critics will have to learn to cut you some slack and allow you to finish in your own time, and when the time is right. There should be joy in the process of creating, in my opinion. Once that joy disappears and it’s a slog to write anything, I doubt whatever is produced will be worth the effort of reading. A reader can tell when the writing is strained. And it’s just not worth it to lose those readers you’ve gained with the first books in the series. In the end, they will understand and be patient until you’re really ready to write and finish that novel.

    It sounds as though you’ve sorted all this out, Tricia! Happy for you, and I for one will be patient in waiting for the arrival of “Nightbound”. But you can count on me to help you promote the book when it is finally published!

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  8. You have a project block. I just got out of mine for a contemporary story that went through 4 drafts (I’m usually a one-draft writer).
    And the best way of getting out of project block is by working on other projects.
    So you’re doing just fine. As long as you have fun, you’re still a writer. You’ll get back to that book when you’re ready.
    Happy writing, my writer friend! 😀

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  10. My problem is completely opposite. After working myself to the bone to finish three novels, I swore I’d take a year off. And now, three weeks later I’m suffering withdrawal.

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  11. Yes, Tricia,if you have health issues, which I also have, it’s really hard to motivate yourself and yes, you need to be kind to yourself. That said, well done for getting back on the road to writing, it’s progress and will lead to you resuming your main project. Best of luck 🙂

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  12. Love this, you have calmed me down so… Was feeling that I wasn’t doing enough myself but when I pull focus, it’s just as A L Williams wrote: “All you can do is all you can do and all you can do is Enough.” Sigh. Somehow we are our own worst sources of stress some days. Thanks for shifting my perspective. Great piece for all writers to read.

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  13. We all write differently and need to find the rhythm and pace that works for our lives. There’s no shame in any of it, of course. When the time is right, Nightbound will take the forefront again. You may need to change your approach a bit to shake your words loose – maybe some outlining and world building. I find gardening is a good way to work through the blocks – the hands are busy and the mind is free 🙂 Good luck to you on all your writing projects!

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  14. Hi Tricia,

    Sorry to hear that you suffer from chronic pain. I’m recovering from a long injury so I understand how you feel.

    Your post reminds me of the 4/5 months I took off from writing. But then I realised I’m happier writing than NOT attempting it. I think setting a daily word count has helped me a lot and also writing in free-style because it makes the process fun again and allows room for my creativity, rather than wasting time staring at a blank screen.

    I don’t feel you have to feel guilty about not writing your book, since you’ve been practising by writing other projects. When you’re ready, you’ll finish the book if you can’t get it off your mind. 🙂

    Good luck and wishing you a speedy recovery! 🙂

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