NatNoWriMo has me beat. There,  I’ve said it. I was fine for the first couple of days when I had things clearly mapped out, but trying to write when I don’t know where I’m going feels like jumping off a cliff. All the advice seems to be to just soldier on, but I hate the feeling that I will probably junk 90% of it. If I could find my direction, I could hopefully get to the 10% that matters.

I was having problems before I started this – which is one of the reasons why I started this – but the problem isn’t writing, it’s finishing!

I normally start with a rough outline, not vastly detailed, just an idea of what the ending is and the main points along the way. The main points may change – and often do – but I know where I’m going. And this system has served me well in the past. I have finished a number of books, and even had a young adult book published. But that’s where things went pear-shaped. The book didn’t sell well, despite having good reviews and even an honourable mention for an award from UNESCO.

I sent my next book to the same publishers, and got a thanks, but no thanks (no real surprise). The local publishers seem to be looking for very specific young adult books, and that’s not what I’m going to write. What they want is what I call a broccoli book – it’s GOOD for you. I loathed that sort of book growing up, and I doubt many young people read them voluntarily – they are mostly prescribed or bought by adults. I have no fond memories whatsoever of any book inflicted on me at school.

I have to be brutally honest with myself and say I am pouting. I rate myself as a competent writer. So why aren’t I getting anywhere? And some of the published books… I imagine most writers have felt the same at one time or another. How come they got published? Mine is better!

So I write, get so far, and no further. Because if I don’t finish, I won’t have to send it off and get rejected…

You know, writer’s block sounds so much BETTER than pouting. But I think it’s more accurate.


About notewords

Guitarist, Music teacher, Writer
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2 Responses to Writing

  1. Oh, my. Targets set by others can be poison. I can only imagine how this is making you feel: my moods fluctuate according to whether I get a ‘like’ click, or even a comment when I blog. My saying that rejection by publishers is ‘not personal’ is stupid because if you’re the one on the receiving end it’s nothing but. However, if you’ll excuse the phraseiology, “stuff ’em!”.

    Stupid suggestion coming up, particularly when you are so low. Would it be possible to set yourself a target end by publishing here, on your blog. It has pages that run as a website and you would get more publicity for your work and possibly free up your mind a little? There is, after all, more than one way of publishing these days. Won’t immediately produce any income and does open you up to the possibility of further feelings of rejection, but it gets your work out there, lets it fly and find its audience.

    It will give you a fresh approach to your work, possibly. It may freshen the mind, because there may be a need to think of a piece in a different shape in order serialise it. Pull the cork out of the bottle and share your work with us, your readers, it may lift your spirits a little and open a few windows on your low feelings. (I know, more hostages to fortune – but you seem sure that your work should be ‘out there’ living its life as a book to share, so give it a try?

    Big smiles and lots of hope to you and am really looking forward to reading your work.

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