Hello, and welcome to Tabby’s Nocturnal Nights. Today I would like to talk about what I call my head-to-desk days. You know those days when writing just seems so damn hard. When everything that you type onto your computer looks like nothing but a jumbled mess. Yes, my fellow writers, those are days when my forehead hits the desk top. Days when I feel frustrated about my writing abilities.
Last Tuesday, I had been happily typing away at my computer, pretty content and proud of myself because I was making some headway on the outline for my second novel to my series. I had half the novel roughly mapped, so I decided to write the first chapter. I got six paragraphs in—the words seemed to flow nicely—then it just stopped. I took a break, and then tried again. Nothing. My words kept jamming up.
A headache developed so I took the rest of the day off. The next day was the same crap. The words just wouldn’t flow from my brain to my computer. I realized my heart was in it, but head wasn’t.
I analyzed what was going on. I knew I wouldn’t get over this unless I knew what was bothering me. Prior to this blockage, I had been fairly happy with my writing progress. My first novel was complete. I was on the last leg of my edits or so I was hoping. After three long years—three years of hard work—I saw the light at the end of the tunnel. I’m so close to starting the next part of the journey, querying agents, and then hopefully one day, becoming published.
So, you’re probably thinking, yeah, so what? You should be happy. I don’t see how this is affecting your writing.
Let me explain a little of what it has been like for me along my writing expedition. For the past three years, I have worked my ass off trying to improve my story—just like all of you. When I first began writing, I knew nothing! I mean, absolutely nothing. I didn’t even know how to use commas properly, lol. I had never heard of a semi-colon, or if I had, I had totally forgotten. Didn’t know how to punctuate dialogue right, had no clue about show and tell. I was literally starting from scratch.
I came up with my story, my characters, and started writing. Sounds simple because it was. I wasn’t worried about rules because I didn’t know about them. I wrote, and wrote, and wrote for five months straight until I was finished. Once my rough draft was complete—I didn’t know at the time it was a rough—I decided to find out how one went about getting published. LOL, oh, man, I still laugh about my naivety. How stupid was I?
While I was researching how to get published, I realized I was so far from that at this stage it wasn’t even funny. Well, it was sort of.
Anyway, I rewrote my whole novel twice at this time, trying to learn as much about writing as I could. Around then I decided I needed help. I joined a two year on-line writing course—okay, not two years, but close enough. Wow, did I have a lot to learn. Half way through the course, I rewrote my novel again, and what a difference. I loved the changes.
I joined my first critique group. I was scared to submit a chapter for critique, but I did. Yikes, when I received my first crit, I cried. The feedback showed me I still had tons to learn. I put aside my MS for about a month at this time. I was almost ready to give up on writing. What the hell was I doing wrong? How many times was I going to have to rewrite this bloody thing? Turned out at least three more times. Not all the chapters, but the first ten were all redone . . . again. Sigh.
Anyway, I pushed my novel through the crit group and revised according to my crit partner’s suggestions. I read my story over and again loved the changes. At this stage I’m pretty happy with the way my story reads. I’m in the process of round two of crits and so far the feedback is good. Three beta readers have read it and their comments were positive.
So, after three years of hard work, struggles, tears, laughter, feeling like I wanted to toss this whole writing thing in the garbage, all the time away from my family, and tons of self-doubt, I had a completed novel, one that I am very proud of. One that I believe in.
Once I relived my past journey, I realized what has created this latest bout of writers block. The answer is simply, do I have the energy to go through all this again writing another novel? Logically, I know the writing of the second will be easier—at least I’m hoping---but my head can’t seemed to understand that. I can’t seem to separate all the hardships and tears I experienced from the writing of my first novel. I guess I’m afraid to start the whole process all over again.
I would love to hear about your writing journey. All the hardships. The days when your forehead felt bruised from hitting your desk.