I’m writing this on December 22nd and posting it as a future post, so HOPEFULLY, I’ll have book 7’s first draft finished by the time you read this. But I wanted to write to you while I’m in the middle of my ich mood, to let you know that sometimes sitting at your computer and hitting the keys JUST SUCKS. It took every ounce of discipline I have to make me pound out four chapters this week when I felt I had NOTHING.
It happens to me somewhere in every book. Usually in the third quarter, but this time, because I wrote out 42 plot points, the third quarter went by without a hitch. But then I realized instead of writing chapters that were at least ten pages long, I’d scrimped on too many of them and only come up with 7 pages over and over again–because let’s face it, I’m no whiz kid at description or internal dialogue or using lots of words to write a scene instead of a few–and I didn’t have enough happening in the storyline to finish the book. I only need 70,000 words. That’s in my contract. 70,000 words. If they ever change it to 80,000, I’m going to cry. And yes, I know, some of you vomit out 100,000 words routinely and have to pare them down. But I’m not that author.
ANYWAY, I hit a wall. Like I always do. And I wrote short stories to stall instead of working on my book. Like I always do. (Don’t do as I do. Do as I say. If I ever say anything helpful or intelligent.) Anyway, while I was beating my head against a wall, a new idea came to me that added a new chapter. And then, while I was writing that chapter, I thought of two more. And all of a sudden, I have enough words to finish the darn book. Which at this point in time, for me, is more of a bother than a joy. But at least I know now how to finish it AND have enough words.
But, this is a long way of saying that writing is NOT always fun. There are times it’s the most wonderful thing in the world. And there are days, sometimes weeks, when I cringe every time I think of my book. None of that matters. What matters is finishing it, and when it’s finally done, it’s a relief. Not always a joy. It’s according to how much blood, sweat, and tears went into it. But it feels good. Fulfilling. The book’s done. And I usually like it at this point.
BUT, here’s the thing. Even when I hate my book and I want to do ANYTHING but write it, I still get immense satisfaction when a scene turns out well, when a character surprises me, or when I feel particularly clever. And none of that would happen if I didn’t sit down and write when I really didn’t want to. No job is always gratifying. I was a teacher for six years, and there were days when I wanted to pull my hair out and admit defeat. I swear if you could pound a funnel into a kid’s head and pour knowledge into it, some kids would regurgitate it. Just because. I worked as a waitress and a grocery check-out girl during college, and there were good days and bad days. That’s life. But I just dusted myself off and went back to work the next day. Same with writing.
Just Do It. Some days are great. Some days aren’t. And some days, you just have to slog through it. No fairies come to finish a book you’ve started. There will be times when life interferes. A lot. Years when your battery’s so low, it’s hard to be creative. But life doesn’t give you any guarantees. And sometimes, you just have to suck it up and JUST DO IT. Hopefully, that doesn’t happen often. And let’s hope in 2021, the planets align to make us all merry. But if not, hit those keys anyway. And happy writing!