You probably think the title of this post is a joke. It’s not.
Working on a new novel is one of the great joys in my life. It’s also one of the great miseries. Here’s why:
- Writers tend to engage in catastrophic thinking. I’m no exception. On days when my muse is lazy or disengaged, I can still produce five hundred words that does nothing to develop my characters or advance the story. I’ll eventually delete it and convince myself that I’ll never again write anything worthwhile. This is a dark hole that can stop my creative process in its tracks.
- I often start the day by checking my Amazon book rankings. Oh look, another day of no sales! Why should I bother writing yet another John Howard or Salem Matthews novel that people don’t want to read? It’s hard to push on when I’m met with such incontrovertible proof of the commercial failure of my work. It’s no fun feeling like an impostor.
- The middle of the book – God, will this ever end? I feel like I’ve been writing forever, but my word count says thirty nine thousand. Great…I need to think of some more plot twists unless I want this to be a really short novel that no publisher will touch.
- I can’t sleep. There’s a hole somewhere in the narrative. Jesus, am I going to have to re-read thirty nine thousand words to find it? What if I can’t figure out how to fix it?
- Other authors on my Facebook and Twitter feeds are writing and selling books. They’re happy and excited. What’s wrong with me? My work is good enough to be picked up by traditional publishers. Where are my readers?
All right, enough about me. Honestly, I’m not bitching and moaning. These are just observations about how I feel when I’m working on a project. There are good days too, of course. Those are the days that make the process worthwhile. There is light at the end of every tunnel. The project will be completed and a publisher will be found. I’m certain of that. It makes me feel good.