Writers. Who’d be a Writer?

So after all your hard work. After all the time invested in the writing, the re-writing, the self-editing; maybe the paying for an editor, The Book Cover ‘thing’. You’ve found it’s even harder to publicise the book than write it. You’ve done it all and what?

You are too intimidated to do anything else with it.

The book doesn’t register double figures in sales.

The book does well, only you can’t figure out how to write another.

The book does well but after all that effort…you can’t be bothered to write another one, and you cannot figure out why.

The book does well, the reviews are fine, until you get the ‘nasty’ one. And you naturally pay more attention to that one.

Who’d be a writer eh?

Suddenly all the drive has gone. All the perverse energy you got from writing under the Flag emblazoned with the motto ‘So What? I’ll write it ‘cas I want to!’ seems so far away now. Your flag lies forlorn in a puddle.

Who’d be a writer eh?

You swear the next cheerful pep-talk post(er) you come across is going to get real piece of your mind.

From now on, every time you see a post with a list if helpful hints, you are gonna ‘unfollow’ that blogger, faster than someone who blogs with political opinions you don’t agree with.

And you do not. No, you certainly do not, like ever again read about someone else’s book being published.

And then you think

‘Oh dear (or whatever else fits). How did I get here? What is going on?’

Yeh. Who in their right mind, looking for an easy uncomplicated life would be a writer?

(While we’re about it. Easy uncomplicated Life? Is there such a creature?)

Yeh, I ‘get it’ brothers and sisters.

Y’see the problem is, Writing comes with a price. All of the above. The effort, the energy spent, the ups, the downs, the desolations, the disappointments, the worry, the emptinesses. All the sly subtle draining. The folk who are seemingly successful, worrying about where the next book comes from, or what the public will think of it. We shouldn’t forget them either. If you are going to take up the pen, or tap out the keyboard, be ready with an allegorical pocket or two full of allegorical coins.

Yeh, I ‘get it’ fellow writers. You are feelings are nothing to be ashamed of, nor frightened of. This path is a rocky one. Even us Crazy ‘What-The -Hell’ ragged-style aficionados have tripped up over our own wild feet and fallen into a patch of Reality. Some of us have even wondered if it’s our weird nature or just us in Denial about our lack of talents which keeps us bouncing along with folk scratching or shaking their heads as we pass on by. Us on our faux-Captain Beefhart,/ ‘Pretend I’m a Frank Zappa of Writing’ trips.

I can do nothing for your pain, because it is yours and I would not pretend to have some long-distance answer, that would be insulting to you. Your despondency is a familiar feeling and easy to trace, origin so common in the writing world. I wish it were within my remit to incant something to take away as your fears and your woe.

Within my remit though is to understand the feelings, not to denigrate them or insult them with a Happy Mary Poppins approach. The dust, the dirt, the chill winds of doubt, I understand, borne witness to them, experienced them on my tongue, breathed them in and they settled on my heart.

The thing is.

You will shuffle, you will ease up your weary bones, feel about for your allegorical pen, hitch up your pack of ideas onto your back and belt, you will stare out across the battered landscape and move out. There does not have to be a squaring of the shoulders, nor some end of John Wayne War movie tough, determined quote (cue music & credits), nor my favoured style of ‘Mickey Mouse Club’ rendition out of full Metal Jacket. You will move on, because The Writing Calls, exactly why, for you will be personal. You will. Just because.

‘Not me! I’ve had enough! I’m tired through. Scared, scarred and scattered. Done all I could. It’s got me beat,’

To you I say. It didn’t beat you. You did as much as you could and found this was not for you. Well, who doesn’t do that? How do you know, if you don’t try? Don’t sell yourself down. You tried. End of chapter. Now go and do something else. It is for you to choose. No disgrace. You were there, you took a stand. Now move onto another place.

We are Human. We have weaknesses. We have strengths. We have pain. We have Humanity.

We are.

And you may write once more. Or never write again, turn your back on the whole thing.

In neither act is there is futility.

There is however in both Life.

Light your torch with it.

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When the Demon Comes A’ Callin’

Title: Quote from the very cool over the top Predator 2

Predator 2

Annddddd….

It happens to us all, OR if you want to be pedantic, it has, is and will happen to every writer…..

This I mean…..

‘Oh (exclamation of despair)! Who am I fooling. Why am I bothering. Who is gonna care what I write…right?’Unit2_Lesson2

Yep!  About three-quarters a way through the first draft of the Second Novel in a three (or maybe four) book series.

The words hadn’t stopped flowing, the plot miasma (I never write with an outline) was still there. And, yet there was one of those sneak attacks by the ‘What Is The Point Of It All?*’ demon. Yep, anyone who writes and doesn’t become a ‘name’ gets it. The feeling may be more tolerable the ones the ‘names’ get such as ‘Where’s My Next Plot?’ or ‘What Happens if The Critics Don’t Like It?’.

Every so often this blog is host to one of my rousing posts on the noble cause of writing Just Because and don’t let anyone stop you. And I still hold to these words and thoughts. It’s nice to read of a fellow writer getting a breakthrough or publishing another book. My fingers start twitching in concert with my brain when I read of someone having doubts or getting *WITPOIA (I wonder how is best to pronounce that anacronym? It does sound to be deserving of a solid pronunciation).

And yet, there I was 102,480 words. One Hundred and Two Thousand, Four Hundred and Eighty Words and…..

WALLOP!!!!!…..I am sitting there before the keyboard all deflated and dried up, to extent it even hurt a bit.

Thus puzzled with myself I set to doing some back-checking on possible causes.

OK there was the weirdness. Other people get SAD in in the winter, I get it in the summer (unless in woods, near rivers and away from crowds). So, possible cause.

And there was the lack of action on my published works….Well be fair mate, you aren’t paying attention to the marketing…are you now? I mean the writing is the easy bit…Yeh I know, I know..Ohh I suppose you are right (I often have these conversations with myself- do you?)

Then there was that mix of day-to-day ‘things’ which are like grit in the machine or mud on the wheels and drag you down a bit. You never know when they are going to pile up.

Check reveals it was the usual suspects which this time had all coalesced to form a Perfect Block. Situation filed as NOT UNUSUAL. Ride it out.

I set myself to cutting up small pieces of wood in the garden. Those arising from trees which had to cut down on account of them assailing walls and depriving other plant life of growth. Rather than throw the wood out I was busily doing ‘things’ with the bits.

I, also, set myself to cutting up small pieces of cardboard….no don’t run off…Let me explain…..Print and Play board games, cheaper than buying the whole boxed thing but they do require some time, cutting and gluing.

Well after a couple of days (and daze) of doing this to listening to an audio book of a fantasy author, the Good Ol’ Smidge  Just a Smidge came back and a small grumblin’ voice began to whisper ‘Y’ know you can do as good as this don’tcha?. Get on with that lousy first draft, finish the blessed thing! Then have fun re-writing, y’ know you like that bit’.

And back I went to the work.

Y’see dear readers this can and does indeed happen to any writer. Have no fear. Keep faith in yourself. The doubt and the pain will pass and the urge to put words to paper will return.

OH the joys of being an author!!

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Now Here is a Thought About Writer’s Block (aka Log-Jam)

Let’s be open about this. Being a writer is not easy.

There will now be a pause for readers’ varied reactions, the politest of which might be

YA DON’T SAY!!!

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Ok?

Right let’s carry on.

I hit this log-jam recently on Vol II of this fantasy project. Words just would not…. Not the usual problem of getting them from thoughts into intelligent or at least legible and semi-coherent statements on paper or screen. This was serious, a vague, fog across the fen lands of my mind, the characters and the motivations were out there but I could not get out to reach them and ask them what they had planned. This was a worry, after all when you go on record saying this work might be a trilogy or even a pentalogy, well you can’t just fade away after Vol I. It looks, sad. About to Rant

What was exacerbating the situation was I had these ‘bits’ of blog posts hanging about in one form or another which were nowhere nearing completion, and they and the book narrative were simply slopping about in allegorical stagnant water.

By happenstance the solution came along in the most curious of ways.

I’ll keep the actual details out, not wanting to turn this post into a platform for arguments over the subject matters, those are being rummaged over with glorious glee on FaceBook by those who like to rummage on FaceBook and compete in one of the many Who Is Most Outraged competitions which make it such a vibrant place (sarcasm).Daffy duck

Anyway suffice it to say two items on the news or social media. One new, another a very old saw which has been going on since frib’ knows how long….Now two of the arguments put forth really irritate me. You’ll just have to accept this statement and put yourself in a similar situation, in your own experience.

By another goodly happenstance I had come by a brand new efficient laptop, which enabled swift and efficient access to FaceBook. (Previous machine did not like typing directly onto social media, I’m sure I don’t know why !). So I weighed in putting in my objections in long balanced posts about reality and the quality of communication when stating one’s view OR using history as a foundation for why my view point made more sense. Then a few side-swipes at folk using obscenities. And telling those who hurled facile judgements like they were in food-fights that they’d lost the argument. These by the way were folk who in theory share the same political views as me….civil wars are always the bitterest.

Now once I had got those opinions off of the chest, and the lyrical flows were set free, well everything became easier! Firstly the blog posts popped up in swift succession and seeing them there made me feel a whole lot better. Nextly the fog lifted, the characters said ‘That where you’ve been is it! Get over here, have we got things to tell you!!’ and the book starts to rattle along.

Of course, in retrospect, all made sense. I had been annoyed with these FB warrior folk and their opinions for ages and I had not cleared my head of the simmering thoughts. There was no intention of winning an argument. No one wins anything on Social Media,Andronicus1_2572537b I just wanted to bust into these little self-congratulatory groups and scare the horses a bit. Done. And I am feeling better….muttley_laughing_by_sektor8bit-d7fv6shThey had it coming.

The morale dear reader? If the words are not reaching daylight, maybe there is something outside of your book/story/poem which is getting in the way. I would not go so far as to suggest you fire off polemics at the nearest target or throw well passed use-by-date sticky buns at people or buildings which cause offense. Nor would I advise taking a picture or model of whatever distresses you and jumping up and down on it, neighbours notice things like that. Anyway whatever ‘it’ is, such treatments may not be applicable. Suffice to say ponder on the possible exterior reasons for the log-jam, then mull over any ways you might rectify the business, even this exercise may kick-start the writing.

Just a thought.

PS…..

This is the First Vol of the fantasy project; it’s on Kindle.

Patchwork

Of Patchwork Warriors….. By R J Llewellyn

This is me marketing.

Social Graces

Sad isn’t it?

My giggling as I write this part is not appropriate, I really must get Mature Me Marketing, some day.

Interludes with Cortana

An Interlude on Stage

Sleeping Beauty. One Foot Soldier’s Account (A Tale in II Parts)

Sleeping Beauty. The Foot-Soldiers’ Side (All Tale in II Parts) (Part II)