Writing keeps interfering with my writing!

Writing keeps interfering with my writing!

Writing keeps interfering with my writing!

by: Terri Rich
I’m serious. I want to write a novel – okay, another novel, but I want to write one that I’ll be proud of and that is worthy of being self-published. Not that I’m not proud of the other novels I’ve written, it’s just that I’ve never seen one all the way through the edit stage. It’s more fun to complete a first draft, call it ‘done’ and move on to the next project.

Back in September, 2014 I decided – what the heck – I’m 3/4th finished with the first draft of the current work-in-progress. I can have it ready to publish by February 14, 2015 – easy peassy. Well, turns out – not so much. We’re coming up on February 14, 2016 and I’m still working on the same novel that I was so sure I could have ready to publish a year ago.

THE HONEST PARAGRAPH: (what the hell, why not?) I actually said I could have that book ready by the end of the year 2014, but my fellow ice-bucket-bikini-babes convinced me Valentine’s Day was a better target. An extra six weeks – damn, even easier to accomplish the publish goal! Now, here we are over a year later and I am still working on the same book and editing Chapter one? Why, why, why? I’ll tell you why? Because I am princess who has a cushy life-style, writing is hard work, and I’m basically a lazy … writer (not a lazy person, just writer – go with me on this – this is the HONEST paragraph, don’t destroy all of my self-illusions!)

THE EXCUSES PARAGRAPH: Okay, sure – in the 16 or so months since I said I could finish THE FACE UNDER WATER, I’ve moved, I’ve started spending lots more time with my grandsons, I’ve written close to 20 articles (some of which have been published internationally – Canada, but hey, that’s international enough for me) and a dozen or so blog posts. I’ve worked on a non-fiction project with my critique partners. There have also been some significant health issues I’ve had to deal with for both me and my husband, not to mention my mother’s stroke and the myriad of issues that has created, although honestly my sisters are handling 99% of those (does that confession need to go to the honest paragraph?). Oh yeah, and I also did some genealogy research and started chronicling some family history. See – there are tons of ‘important reasons’ that can be stuffed into this paragraph!

THE POOR-ME PARAGRAPH: When I missed that first deadline – well, I just lost heart, I guess. Then, I went down a totally wrong-headed path with the second draft of the book – more re-writing than editing. Now, I’m into the third draft and I just deleted the first 3 chapters, which means not only did my page count take a significant hit, I’m still editing chapter freaking one! And, I have another ice-bucket dunking deadline looming!

THE WHAT THE HELL AM I DOING PARAGRAPH: So, this morning, I cleared my to-do list and planned to devote the day to writing. Which I am – right? This counts as writing, doesn’t it? Only, it isn’t making any progress towards achieving my goal for the novel. And, let’s face it – I’m consumed with doubt about the whole novel project thing. My novel ‘voice’ is totally different than say … my voice in this article. The novel is much more … formal? Less of ‘me’? So, every time I work on it – I find myself thinking I should put more of ‘me’ on the pages and less of the heroine, who is nothing like me – only this is her story, so why would I show up on these pages?

THE PUTTING IT ALL IN PERSPECTIVE PARAGRAPH: Damn, it! I know no one ever said writing was easy – but is it supposed to be this hard? Or, (more likely) I’m so damned afraid of really exposing my ‘writing’ and discovering no one likes it – that I find a gazillion ways to write without writing. In fact, if I spend long enough on this piece, I can say I wrote today, and never even open the novel.

THE WRAP-UP PARAGRAPH: Okay, honestly, I’m just writing a wrap-up paragraph, because when I finish this, I have nothing to do except fold a load of laundry or work on the novel. I have no profound insights into my lack of writing productivity, but I am certain that I am my own worst enemy regarding establishing myself as a published author. Guess I’d better go fold some clothes.

Terri Rich

Terri Richison (writing as Terri Rich) lives in Clear Lake City, TX with her husband and a giant Great Dane (giant even by Great Dane standards). She is working on self-publishing women’s fiction and avoiding getting a pie in the face if she doesn’t produce pages for every critique session! PIES OR PAGES! Terri started telling stories almost as soon as she could talk – she learned everything she needed to know about storytelling at her grandmother’s knee. Craft however, is something she is still learning – those damn commas give me nightmares!

12 thoughts on “Writing keeps interfering with my writing!

  1. I believe fear is a writer’s worst enemy. I’ve decided to embrace the fear. I’ve started following Heinlein’s Rules, and writing has become so much more fun. I’ve also started following Dean Wesley Smith’s philosophy about not making any one novel, novella or short story so IMPORTANT. Dare to be bad. Write the story, trust your voice, trust your process, publish that sucker and move on to the next project. Writing is supposed to fun, something you look forward to, not something you dread. Embrace the fear. It’s changed my writing life. ~AMN

    P.S. I hope my link works. If not, go to DWS’s site and Heinlein’s Rules are up at the top.

      1. Hey AnneMarie – Thanks for stopping by! And thanks for the Heinline’s Rules link (and thanks Sandra for sorting it out, because it worked just fine for me!) Just 5 simple little rules – I’m going to print them out and post them above my desk!

  2. Thanks for your honesty, Terri. I think it helps a lot to hear about writing struggles so we know we aren’t alone!

    In a lot of ways, I think we writers work against our natures. We’re highly creative people and are excited to write new pages or edit old ones, but when it comes to being disciplined, finishing a project completely, then doing the business and marketing work to get that puppy out, we tend to struggle.

    There’s a reason for that, and it’s not laziness. It’s that we aren’t built that way. It’s why some successful authors have coaches, researchers, editors, publicists, agents, financial managers and accountants, and personal assistants.

    Where we bump up against finishing a manuscript or doing the formatting or creating an Amazon KDP account? That’s where our creative side overwhelms our organizational side. Statistically, very few authors have both the creative and the organizational. Or the creative and the follow-through. Or the creative and the entrepreneurial.

    And that’s before we even consider things like perfectionism (a known productivity-killer), work habits, and General Life Issues.

    So I love that you’re owning where you are, Terri. Do some of your activities run counter to finishing your self-publishing goal? Sure! But you’re bigger than your goal — or your ability to reach it.

    Because the way I see it, you’re actually owning your nature — your strengths, your joys, and your intentions. And I don’t think that’s failure.

    1. Thanks, Sandra! Too bad just owning my nature isn’t enough to change my nature! Because, no matter how you look at, I’ve got an ice-bucket dunking looming in just 76 days! Right now, I’m feeling ‘okay’ about that deadline – not great, but okay.

  3. Big fat hugs! Been there, not written that! I do know where you are coming from– those days when scratching out 100 words on the work in progress is almost more than I can do, and those words stink like a skunk caught out on the highway. (Not just my opinion but my agent’s as well, which sucks big time.) It does pass, but honestly, I can’t tell you how to make it pass faster or what makes it go away. All I can say is that it does, so hang in there. By your toenails if you have to.

  4. I think there’s a TON of truth in what Sandra’s saying. Sometimes, I feel that we delay our progress (read: self-sabotage) because we know at the end of the creating phase, we’ll have to face the business phase. My hope is that once we reach THE END and push PUBLISH that first time, we’ll be more like AMN and see that the business end isn’t so daunting if we’re doing it together.

    Like Gail says, we just have to keep writing.

    1. Dawn, OMG I hope your hope is right – that we fill reach THE END and push PUBLISH and see that the business end isn’t so daunting – I’m so glad I’m navigating these waters alone! Together we are ALL going to get there!

  5. Me too. Life especiallly is intruding on my time and my desire to wrote. I know this temporary but it weighs on me. Thanks for your insightful blog post. One of your best.

    1. Lorinda – LIFE in your case is called Charlie! And its absolutely OKAY to let him dominate your time for a while! Do NOT feel guilty EVER EVER NEVER about spending time with your grandson! GOT THAT – IT IS AN ORDER! He’ll be 4 1/2 before you know it. Every second is precious so don’t let that joy be shadowed by guilt! Life will get back to a ‘normal’ routine and writing will fit back into that routine. IT WILL. I promise!

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