I’m weeks away from finishing the manuscript for Good Mourning. I’ve been pregnant with this baby for way longer than nine months. In a way it feels like nine years. These characters have been bugging me for years, begging me to get to know them and tell the whole world how crazy they are. Their voices keep me up at night, tempting me to fall asleep at my computer…with my contacts still in. I’m so close to the finish line I can taste it…yet I’m getting tired.
I came across this quote recently:
“…Writing a book is a horrible, exhausting struggle, like a long bout of some painful illness. One would never undertake such a thing if one were not driven on by some demon which one can neither resist nor understand.’–George Orwell
This is exactly how I feel. I ask myself, how in the hell I thought this would be my dream career, when this is by far the hardest thing I’ve ever done? (And I delivered two babies, naturally, with no pain medication thank you very much.) I realize I’m feeling the kind of exhaustion that runners probably feel when their on those last few laps, or a mile or two from finishing a marathon. You can see the finish line in the distance, your body has long since gone numb but you know you can’t give up.
In talking myself through reasons I need to keep going, here is some advice I’ve collected:
1. Take a break if you need to-
Sometimes during my three or four hour writing sessions, the computer screen gets fuzzy and all I can think of is resting my face on the ‘asdf’ keys. I give myself permission for power naps. I also give myself permission to take after work naps so that I can stay up ’till two a.m. if I need to.
2. Set aside distinct time for writing, researching, and randomness-
If I tell myself it’s time to write, then I log on to Facebook or Twitter, I get absolutely no writing done. When I’m writing, I keep my internet browser closed and I time myself in one hour intervals. If it’s researching time, I strategically surf blogs, I look up something useful for my characters, or about publishing. If I’m online doing absolutely nothing but killing time, I give myself a few minutes (or fifteen) to do so. Otherwise, not carving out this kind of time takes away from my actual writing, increasing the amount of time I’m stuck still writing.
3. Share your frustration-
Not many people understand what it’s like to write a book. Outsiders think you’re crazy and wonder what the big freaking deal is. When I get really exhausted, I check in with my writer’s groups and seek solace. There, I am not the only one struggling with protagonist problems or character arcs that don’t make sense. These groups remind me that I’m not alone in my madness.
And if I’m lucky, in just a few more month’s I’ll be holding my new bundle of joy in my arms. Then praying to God it sells on Amazon.
www.writersdigest.com If you’re looking for an online writing group
http://procrastinatingwritersblog.com/ If you need help getting started
www.musesland.com And if you need inspiration