Thursday, December 13, 2007

Have I Been Writing?

I know - two posts in one day. What's up with that?

Maybe it's the compulsive need to share what's going on in my writing life.

Well, here's the scoop.

I've been:

Writing copy at work

But the last time I sat down to write a story ago.


In this case, a simple answer won't suffice. A bit of detail is needed.

A few months ago, I had just finished completely outlining my next novel - it was a contemporary mainstream novel set in Italy. My character sketches were complete. The plot lines worked out. In fact, everything was done that needed to be for me to start the book. And start it I did. I wrote the first few pages. Then I promptly stopped.

It just didn't feel right.

This novel is not meant to be told - not right now. I'm not sure why. It's a terrific story and I love my characters - but, and this is a major but, I fell completely out of love with it. Whenever I think of writing my novels, a wave of excitement cascades through me. I can't wait to jump into it and see what my characters are doing. But there was a level of reluctance and - dare I say it? - actual dread at writing this novel.

My instincts screamed at me to stop, and stop now, before I damaged my psyche any further.

Maybe it was because I'm not ready to write the story, haven't experienced enough in life to do it justice. Maybe it's because I'm not being true to what I really love to write - World War II.

So to answer the question, "Have I been writing?" the question is, yes and no. I've been writing at work and on a freelance basis, but I haven't started Chapter One on the next novel. But, I have been researching the next novel, jotting down character notes and figuring out the plot. I anticipate that I'll be ready to write Chapter One by January.

This whole experience has taught me a very powerful thing: listen to your instincts.

I could have spent months on this novel, struggling to write each word, and feeling lousy the entire time. Eventually, I would have figured it out and abandoned it, but not after I lost lots of time.

The next time you're struggling with a project and you just don't feel "right" about it, listen to that voice. It may be trying to tell you something.


  1. I'm glad you realized that before you'd gotten very far with the book. Now I'm off to read your other entry.

  2. Playing devil's advocate here, you also have to dig deeply enough into why you're not writing. Sometimes (and I'm not saying this is true in your particular case, because I don't know the details), a writer stops writing a good book because he or she KNOWS IT WILL SUCCEED and that fear of success is yet another way to sabotage a career.

    When there's resistance, you need to go very deep into your core and find the real source.

    If it's not meant to be written now, that's one thing, but if it's a fear of success, you have to push through. Easy choices do not build a writing career.


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