I’m stuck, it’s a classic case of writer’s block. Not about everything mind you, I can write blog posts until the cows come home, but this new book I’m working on has me stumped.
Here’s the problem. I recently completed my first novel and sent it off to a potential publisher. While I wait for the big NO, I am trying to work on a different manuscript. I’ve always been told you need to immediately jump into another project for two reasons:
1. So you can get your mind off the endless wait and possible outcomes.
2. Just in case they happen to like your first attempt and want to publish it, you should have something else ready to show as a follow-up.
O.K. that’s all very sensible, but how do you get over your first novel? I mean its like a love affair that was cut short before your heart was ready. I loved the characters in my first book, and visiting with them each day and polishing up their witty repartee was a joy. I loved their story, how they worked out their problems, and I loved how it all ended. It was like one of those things that got away from me after a while and kind of wrote itself . . . O.K., I know, time to take off the rose-colored glasses.
It wasn’t always that easy. I have to be honest with myself and remember how I suffered through the first draft of that one too. There were times when I went weeks without working on it, and that was even before I had a blog to distract me.
I know if I force myself to work on this new story I will fall in love with it too (right?). I’ve got about five chapters that I’m actually pretty happy with but so far it’s still work. There are a couple of plot twists I have yet to work out, and lately I find myself avoiding the project all together.
Wait, did I hear someone say, “Get a grip Library Lady, and quit whining?” I know, I’m almost done, but didn’t I read somewhere that if you’re not enjoying the process, it will show in your writing? Oh dear. What’s a girl to do?
Has anyone else ever been in these shoes? I’d love to hear from you. I need some inspiration. In the meantime, here’s a quote I found about being a writer. It’s by Anne Lamott, a great author in her own right, so she knows of what she speaks.
“E.L. Doctorow said once said that ‘Writing a novel is like driving a car at night. You can see only as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.’ You don’t have to see where you’re going, you don’t have to see your destination or everything you will pass along the way. You just have to see two or three feet ahead of you. This is right up there with the best advice on writing, or life, I have ever heard.”
― Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life
Amen to that.