how do you do it?

Are you stuck in the doldrums and cannot finish your book? Welcome to the club. I don’t know a novelist who doesn’t get bored, fed up, finds the energy is gone, etc. in the middle of a novel, not to mention sick to death of the thing after going over it repeatedly in the rewrite process. In a way, I never “finished” any of mine, no artist finishes a work, you just have to stop when you cannot stand it another second and it’s as good as you can make it for now – which is just another way of saying it cannot be perfect because there’s no such thing.

I keep going by keeping going and sometimes I fail and other artists (often painters, sculptors, not to mention fellow writers in weekly check-ins) get me going again either through inspiration or pep talks … and sometimes I have to go for a drive by myself and scream at the top of my lungs. Another thing that helps is word or page count races with other writers or some other kind of accountability. Make a contract for yourself, sign it and give it to someone who will hold you to it.

Exercise helps too. I don’t ask about why I write or whether makes me happy because what makes me happy is having done the work, which is not that different from exercise. If I thought about how I feel about exercising in the morning, I’d never do it. I just start and feel better after. Take good care of yourself, but don’t fall into self indulgence. I’d argue you cannot be creative and sleep-deprived. Get some rest, but don’t get lazy.

Writing, painting, sculpting, music, etc – it’s all about communication. There are ways to get your work out even if you do it yourself. That’s what Smashwords is for. You have an audience. Someone is waiting for your book. Hopefully many someones. You may never know about it, but you owe it to them to get that book done and out into the world because somewhere – and maybe not even in your lifetime – there is someone who will read something you wrote and it will have an effect on their life. Maybe it will make them angry or happy or inspired or less alone or feel understood or maybe they will swear they can do it better and get of their butt to write their own damn book. Who knows?

Do your part. Finish your novel.

1 thought on “how do you do it?”

  1. Yup, anyone can start a novel but it takes real courage and diligence to FINISH one. Seventy or eighty thousand words that fit together like an intricate puzzle, nary a syllable out of place. That requires more energy and stamina than non-writers will ever understand. Just the physical act of typing takes its toll, never mind the hundreds of hours of revisions.

    I’d better stop, I’m depressing myself…

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