Maybe a good smack would help!

For once, I’m thankful that thousands don’t follow this blog. As a writer, I seem to be having some sort of breakdown—in public. Several times during this year, I’ve mentioned my next book. It will be this novel. No, forget that one, it’s this novel. No, not that novel, this novella. No wait, it’s going to be this short story collection.

In the last two weeks, I’ve had discussions with two different writer friends about my proposed short story collection. Both of them responded with, “Is that what you want to write?” My answer was yes, but I wonder if I lied. Not consciously. I’ve had a bit of fun writing stories, but enjoying something and doing it well is not the same thing.

Am I just killing time writing short fiction because I can’t decide which novel to write? After reading the beta feedback on my last story, I realized I’d actually written two incomplete—read failed—stories. Or did I write the bones of two chapters for a novel?

I had already made notes on such a novel after writing a particular short story almost two years ago. The main character of that new “story” was a secondary character in the first. So, I guess now I have nearly three chapters of that novel written. Even so, I’m not sure that’s where my heart is.

Yes, I have a problem. Heck, all I had to do was read back through my own blog to identify that problem as fear of failure. And I already know the solution—WRITE. So why aren’t I? Well … uh … I’m beta-reading for a friend, and it’s time to start getting things in order for Christmas, and I just discovered Words With Friends on Facebook, and, and, and …

Maybe I need a “personal writing trainer”, someone who will stand over me with a scowl, tapping her foot until I figure out what I really want to write, and then glare at me until I type a hefty number of words each day.

But, above all, I need to quit blogging about my next book before it’s written!

26 thoughts on “Maybe a good smack would help!

  1. Ha! Not so much a personal trainer, more a big bruiser of a Drill Sergeant! This time next year, what do you want to be saying you’ve done? Ok, so now do it, or get down there and gimme 50!

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      1. See you on the parade ground, then, Cassidy Lewis!

        ‘Oi! Private Conboy-hoity-toity-hyphen-Hill! You’re a namby pamby posho nancy toff! What are you?’
        ‘A namby pamby posho nancy toff, S’n Major!’
        ‘Latrines. Hup hup hup hup …’

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  2. Oh yes, I can relate. I’m in a similar situation. I’ve started three different pieces of writing that should develop into three novels, two in English, one of them German, and they are all “sitting there, doing nothing” and my heart isn’t in either one of them either (what a horrible sentence). Anyway, as I engage in all these activities that take me away from the task of writing (exercising, traveling, eating chocolate etc. etc.) I’m once in a while overcome by the “angst” that the extent of my creative writing will be two novels and a volume of poems and that’s it? Anyway, I’m off on my daily walk/jog (you know one of those activities…) and perhaps, I’ll get some writing done today. (LOL). Don’t dispair, we’ll be okay again.
    Christa

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  3. When I had a writing buddy and we submitted to each week, it kept me very commited when I wasn’t.

    Sometimes, it’s hard to decide what to write, very hard. I have a next novel that’s been generating in my head for months now, and I’m petrified to write it, because it’s a twist on something cliched to death, and I’m not sure I can pull it off and bring it back to life. I’m glad I’m a few months away from having to make the descision to write it or not. I think, you’re at a point where you want/need to write something publishable. You have one novel out, now you want the next, and I think this can be very disabilitating. I’ve asked myself before, what voice do I hear consistently? What story needs to be told? Is it a whole story and is it one I would want to publish? Then, no matter the fears, I plow through. I’ve done that with my second wip, even though I thought I was way out of my realm (and i’m sure I was), but I’m really glad I did, it’s my favourite thing I’ve written yet. For me, it’s all about a connection with the character.

    Sorry so lenghty. Good luck!

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    1. You’re right, Jennifer. I feel the pressure to “write something publishable” and I’m not sure what that should be. I came up with the plan to publish an eclectic mix of short stories as a test, but then I realized that the premise behind that test is contrary to what I believe will result in my best work. I’m probably paralyzing myself by over thinking … as usual. 😕

      Never apologize for lengthy comments on my blog. I love them. Thanks. 🙂

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  4. There will always be distractions, and you’ll never have more time than you have now, so you’ll just have to MAKE time for what you want to do and ignore the distractions while you’re doing it 🙂
    Now, if I could follow my own advice, I’d be a happy woman 🙂

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  5. Linda, this is why I like your postings. They are so gosh-darn real. It’s the sophomore slump … we all have it … hell, some of us have it more times than sophomores should (such a thankless year in high school and college). Don’t worry, write where your heart tells you to write and be thankful that you have the talent to tell a story that resonates with your readers.

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  6. This is something I struggled with for a long time too. I figured out the way to handle it was to write EVERYTHING you wanted to. AT THE SAME TIME.

    I had a novel, and then got stuck, so I started another one, then there was this “something” that needed to come out, so I started that too.

    I’d work on one, till I got stuck again, pick up the next, til I got stuck, and then the third, rinse repeat.

    By the end of the year, I had two finished novels, 4 started, three short stories, and 2 outlines for others.

    It’s not what you write, or how you write, only THAT you write. Don’t get discouraged, just keep writing.

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    1. I guess that’s what I’ve been doing, Anne. But it’s hard to connect as deeply as I’d like when I switch around. I feel as if I’m getting the words of the story down, but not the vitality. Maybe this is just a way to mark time until the Muse fires up on one particular piece?

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  7. you know me, my advice is to dance around the house to loud music until you get to that place where you feel perfectly wonderful, then ask yourself, what do I want to write next? It could be you’re right already, and just have doubts. No one glaring at you will make things work… you’ll just fantasize about stabbing her or him with a pen.
    : D sending waves of glee to help get the boat afloat

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  8. It’s okay to write about what you are writing but I know what you mean….maybe you should promise yourself you will only write about your book when so many chapters are done. My whole book is in my head and I need to get it down on paper..uh..computer.

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  9. Oh, Linda, write what you want on your blog! I publicly say things I’m going to do and never follow through on them. I always feel silly, but you know, we are human.

    I went back and forth on my short story collection for a long, long time. But it’s stories I’ve already written – not to be written, so that might be a difference between what you’re proposing and what I’m doing, I don’t know. Finally, though, mine will be out soon! If you feel like writing short fiction is a waste of time, work on a larger project.

    Also, your book is next on my to-read list. I’m hoping to start it today. 🙂

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    1. I’m laughing, Michelle, because, like you, I know that no matter what I publicly vow to do or not do, I’m probably not going to abide by that. 🙂

      See? That’s part of my problem. I jump the gun. I should’ve had, at the very least, two novels written before I published the first. I should have at least fifty stories written before I try to compile a collection. Patience is not my virtue.

      Oh gosh. I’m next up. I’ll try not to think about that. 😉

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