I believe I’m writing the neverending story. Scrap that. I believe I am writing five neverending stories.
I have become so adept at starting novels, yet I am now pretty certain I can’t finish them. This is a writer’s curse. This is why not everyone who declares “I am writing a book” actually writes a book. I know I will break this curse. I will finish at least one of my novels, no matter how crap it is.
As my friend Kelly so astutely pointed out – fear is holding me back. I am so paralysed that my words will be shit and so scared I will not be able to complete any of my numerous manuscripts – I am self sabotaging. I am wasting my already stretched time. I squander it on Twitter and Facebook. Instead, I must set myself a writing goal and stick to. Even if that means one page a day or one chapter a week. I need to give myself deadlines.
It’s for this reason, I wonder if it’s time I get myself a writing buddy – someone I can share my writing with – instead of tapping away to myself. I need to nominate a day each week I must present to someone a set number of words. I’m just not sure who to ask? I’m not a good asker of people. I worry that everyone’s as bogged down in life’s day-to-day that lumping another chore on them is asking too much. I also wonder if it’s best I don’t share what I write until it’s edited, I could scare someone with the errors. Much like this blog, which I often thump out quickly and send to the universe.
I spend a lot of time talking about this book writing caper. I fear I am not spending enough time putting in the hard yards. How boring it must be for those who actually write books to listen to others complaining about they they can’t see it through to the end. Ho hum. I’m even boring myself.
I started another manuscript today. Maybe this one will be the one I actually finish this time.
Do you have a writing buddy? Do you think it’s a good idea? Do you have a set writing schedule/timetable you could share?
I think all writers have loads of ideas and many half finished stories. I know I do! And you are right, it is the fear that usually stops us from finishing and putting our work out there for all to see. A writing buddy is a great idea, not that I have one…yet. I’m at the 70k word mark of my latest novel and this one I plan to finish. Then I will put it away for a month or so then drag it out and edit it. Then I think I’ll be ready for a writing buddy, someone to be really honest and hopefully by then I’ll be brave enough to take it!
Good luck with your writing, you’ll get to the end, you will.
70k word mark – far out, you’re almost there. Keep on writing on honey x
A writing buddy – what a fabulous idea! I too, am writing a book. Or two. And like you, I have fear. A ridiculous fear that will see my book remain as an outline only with the details secreted away in my head forever. I think the fear that holds me back from progressing on my books is the same fear that would see me avoid/hide from a writing buddy. For me the root of the problem is just getting busy and effing doing it. I need to conquer procrastination and a terminally self-flagellating mind.
I went to meet Kylie Ladd at a SA Writers Centre session a couple of months ago, and her method is brilliant. Kylie – if you are reading this, I hope you don’t mind me sharing! She said that she writes two days per week, and on those days, she aims to write 1000 words. She gives herself until 11am to faff about on social media, and then she switches the internet OFF, and gets on with her writing. For the remainder of the day she focuses, and gets the words on the page. She just does it.
How awesome is that?!
I’m totally going to do that. Right after I check facebook & twitter a few more times. And then make myself a coffee. And then… etc ad finitum.
PS Can’t wait to read your words xx
Yeah, I write about 1000 words a week, across 2 days a week… but I’m lucky enough to only work in my “other job” 4 days a week… you take your chances when you get them…
And I can not wait to read yours either! I can’t believe I missed Kylie when she was here. Sounds like wonderful advice – I hope it helps you on your writing journey too x
That’s why I released my life less frantic book chapter by chapter, one chapter a month on my blog. That was some pretty big time accountability. And it worked, I got that first draft finished!
If you’re looking for accountability (I know all the novelists out there are going to howl me down but whatevs…) I dare you to share your manuscript, chapter by chapter here on your blog with us. Double dare you 😉
Trust us (your readers) to treat your words with respect.
And trust in yourself that you are a bloody good writer
PS: I just started writing a new book. If you’re looking for a 500 word a day accountability partner … email me!
I love your idea of sharing here on the blog, but I don’t know if that’s the path for me. However, how about I email you a chapter a week? You can email me one right back. Shared words. Accountability partners. x
PS – The way I did the 500 word a day thing with book 1 was to get up before the rest of the house and bang out those 500 words straight away every day. Sometimes they were good words, sometimes they were shit. But they were words!
I think every writer writes differently. Kylie’s routine is very different to mine because she… well… she has a routine. I just write whenever the hell I can, in between looking after the kids and my columns etc. But what I can advise you is two things:
1. You have to be really, super excited about the idea. If you are not really, super excited about the idea when you start out (and I mean sitting down not wanting to get up to eat/parent/wee etc) then you will never be able to sustain the motivation to actually finish a manuscript.
2. The excitement ebbs and flows. There are times along the way when you will HATE your manuscript, when you decide it was all a huge mistake and you want to give up and start something new. DO NOT GIVE UP. Push through it. Because the excitement will come back.
I’ve never used a writing group or buddy but many people swear by it. If you think it will help, do it. But ultimately, babe, it’s gotta come from YOU.
Thank you so much for this wonderful, generous response. I think routine would be amazing, but like you I don;t see how that is possible. I am going to set a word limit a week and try and stick to it. Once again thank you Kerri – your words mean a lot to me xx
I have 3 or 4 unfinished manuscripts… written over about 20 years… but when I started my current project, I knew it was “the one”… I can’t explain why, I just do.
I don’t have a writing buddy… but I’m not against the idea either… if I found the right buddy I think I’d be happy to pair up…
So, from one budding writer to another, hang in there! 🙂
“the one” – this rings true to me. I think I am in a similar boat. Thanks for the support – please pop a comment back here, if you remember, with news of your finished manuscript!
I feel like our blogs are never ending stories… so that’s six.
Does it matter if the story never ends? I think not. The writing itself is the balm. x
The writing is the balm, which is why I blog, but also for me it is a long held dream to achieve. Gotta chase that x
I just finished the first draft of my 2nd manuscript- 85000 words in 2 months. It’s now “resting” for a couple of months before the re-write starts. The 1st one is looking for a home. I’m a great starter, but get bored super quick, so for me the issue is one of getting my ideas down quickly. I set myself ambitious targets of one month at 50,000 words, then another of slightly less and hey presto the 1st draft is done. When I’m doing this I write for an hour before the day starts and go to bed a little early & write instead of watching telly. I don’t plan, & I don’t edit the 1st draft along the way. I’m a complete pantser. I’m currently working on a non fiction MS that I might self publish & that needs more planning, so I find I’m faltering. I need a critique partner, yet fear stops me from reaching out.
That’s truly amazing that you write that much. I can see the benefits of not self editing and just banging it out. Never be fearful to reach out for critiquing partner (says me who is exactly the same). Pick someone you know who will be honest and knows you enough to understand a bit about where you’re coming from. Good luck with your journey and please come back and let me know how you go x
Thanks Bianca – your post encouraged me to go and write another 500 words on the novel I started 3 years ago! At this rate I should finish it by 2020!
You and me both – hooray for 2020!! That’s great – I hope it felt good writing again x