I've hit the chapter three blues. Technically I think I'm in chapter four but I've written myself into such a jumble that I'm not sure where that chapter break is going to go. Right about now I'm at that stage where I'm looking at the WIP in a new, less flattering light than the one that shines when it's all new and fun. Suddenly I'm asking myself, what the f*&^$ am I writing? No one's going to buy this premise. This couple hate each other. They'll never fall in love if they don't stop arguing. My heroine wants to hit my hero over the head with a skillet, my hero thinks she's a self-obsessed high maintenance girl and is too sure of his own righteousness to see he might be wrong. A reader would greatly dislike him at the moment, even as she might secretly agree with him about my heroine's emotional depth or lack thereof.
And me? I'm wondering again why I do this to myself and considering packing it all in and resigning myself to a life of mind-numbing work in the public service. What to do, what to do.
I'm going to write through it. That's the only answer. Taking a break only gives the doubts breathing space but writing through your reservations is an exercise in stubbornness, something which I have in spades. If I didn’t, I would never have finished the first book, or the second or third. I would never have gotten any of them published if I wasn't at least a little pig headed. Okay, a lot pig headed. So I turn to some great words of wisdom for support (see below), and refer to my board of inspiration (see below) to remind me that this impossible task of writing a book can be done. What's more it can be done by ME.
The process of writing books is somewhat akin to a very long police interrogation in which the detective leans over the table littered with the butt ends of cigarettes and cold coffee in Styrofoam cups and says for the 87th time, "Now let's go over this again."... What my days lack in being touched by the muse they make up for in the steady picking of the miner's ax, chipping out a tunnel that may well lead to nowhere.
Ann Patchett (the full article is excellent, you can read it here)
"My New Year's resolution is to focus on the book and forget all the crap that surrounds the writing business. To lose myself in a story, and not give a damn if it makes any lists, has a good sell-through, gets glowing reviews on Amazon, pleases my editors, hell, even pleases my readers. I want to love what I'm writing so much that none of the rest of it matters, and if I don't, I won't write it. Life's too short to abuse the muse."
Here's my inspiration board, a simple coark board I've stuck thing on, random things that inspire me to keep going when I feel like I cant. Pictures of my book covers, one of my business cards (to remind me of my commitment to be a professional), some pictures that remind me of the mood of my latest ms and some more inspirational quotes i.e. "Inspiration exists, but it must find us working." Pablo Picaso. Love that one. And I've paraphrased another snippet from Ann Patchett's article
"Writing a novel not only means I have a book to hold in my hands, it means I have the space in my brain to think a new one up, and there’s every reason to believe that that novel, the one I haven’t even started yet, that one may well be brilliant. Now there’s a beautiful thought." Ann Patchett
That's to remind me that even if after all my effort this book really does suck, the next one might not. But this one won't suck (I keep telling myself this).
How do you inspire yourself?