Yesterday I finished working on my book and did a word count.
Holy moly, I’ve written over 10,000 words!
Considering that a few years ago I was so creatively constipated, the mere thought of writing anything would make me break out in a cold sweat, this is a GARGANTUAN achievement.
I celebrated, as every self-respecting writers does; with a glass of red wine. And as I sipped my wine, I pondered this curious state of affairs.
I have entered a parallel universe in which I am a ‘serious writer’.
And as my children’s book will be around 25,000-30,000 words in total, I am already about a third of the way there! (I’ve had to stop myself from checking Word Count twenty billion times in case there has been some hideous mistake.)
So the question is, how the heck has this happened?! How have I managed to bang out 10,000+ words when in the past, even 100 words would have been unthinkable?
From the depths of my wine-fugged brain, there came an answer:
Writing is scary shit. It can be squirmy and nauseating and downright UNCOMFORTABLE.
Who wants to feel that?
What sort of idiot would subject themselves to these feelings on a daily basis?
People who finish writing books, that’s who.
Seriously, I can’t believe it has taken me several eons to figure this stuff out.
When I sit in front of a blank page and start to squirm, it means my subconscious is having a panic attack.
It doesn’t mean I can’t write, I shouldn’t write, or I’m not meant to be a writer. That’s a pile of crap. All it means is I’m feeling scared and I need to dig my heels in and get on with it.
Every time I do this, the clouds part and I have an epiphany: Guess what? If I feel the discomfort but stick with it… I don’t actually die!
The world keeps turning. The discomfort eases. And I inch a little further towards the end of my story.
So that’s what I’ve been doing over the past few weeks.
Step 1: Shit myself
Step 2: Acknowledge that I am shitting myself.
Step 3: Ignore said shit, and type.
“A writer is somebody for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people.”
“I write when the fear of not writing overcomes my fear of writing.”
“Being a writer is a very peculiar sort of job; it’s always you versus a blank sheet of paper (or a blank screen) and quite often the blank piece of paper wins.”
“I can say, I am terribly frightened and fear is terrible and awful and it makes me uncomfortable, so I won’t do that because it makes me uncomfortable. Or I could say, get used to being uncomfortable. It is uncomfortable doing something that’s risky. But so what? Do you want to stagnate and just be comfortable?”
3 thoughts on “Message to my subconscious: Writing a book is scary shit. Get over it.”
Hi, you are completely right. I was once told by an old English teacher that, even if you read a book that you absolutely hated, or felt was complete rubbish, at least the author had the tenacity to finish the book (which is more than 95% of all other writers do).
My biggest problem is the editor sitting on my shoulder that taps me on the head at the end of each sentence and says “You sure that reads ok? You don’t want to change it?”
That’s so true – I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve mucked about with what I’ve written, and then read it again later and thought, “Hmph, it was better the first time!”. I love what your English teacher said. Thanks for sharing that. It’s easy to forget how much work goes into writing a book when they’re so easy to pick up and read…
I laughed out loud at this Katherine. You are certainly in a no-nonsense, let’s get this s%*t done, kind of mood. I’m massively impressed that you’ve written 10,000 words and I just know you’re going to storm through to the 25-30k that you need. I’m sure you’ve got some ups and downs still to come, but there’s no stopping you now! xx