Having Problems With Words

I've been going back and forth about this blog post, trying to come up with interesting topics for readers and writers, all full of insightful sayings and learned wisdom.

Ten Ways Writers Are Like Fish.

The Best Way To Write A Query Letter Using Rhyme And Interpretive Dance. 

Web 2.0 For Left Handed Writers Living In Asia. 

Reasons I Hate Writing And Love Rum

But actually I thought I’d try to write something more honest, less contrived, and less aimed at a particular group of people.

Writing's not going so well right now, and I can't work out if it's the story, the words, or me. Fresh off the high of the book deal, I launched into a new novel. High hopes flourished and in my mind's eye I saw the appreciative, fawning looks of thankfulness as I allowed my agent and publisher to read the first draft.

OK, that last bit's made up. But I did - in common with a lot of writers, I hope - kind of want to write the book, and have people like it.

Writing Eren took a long time but I don't think I'd say it was incredibly hard. It was a story I knew and I wrote it down, then chiseled at those words till they looked pretty.

This book, though - I don't know. Maybe I've just been too busy lately - I had two stories out in anthologies in the last few months, and started a new job that means writing 9 - 5. It's not a lack of writing, for me. Things are getting written. It's just that I've convinced myself, as I tend to do with every book I write, and always around chapter five, that this book is probably the worst thing that's ever been attempted. I can't give it to my agent because I quite want her to like me, and I can't give it to my publisher because they'll find a way out of the contract, oh yes they will, and then they'll probably sue me for crimes against art.

OK - I'm being facetious. Again.

But things aren't always sunshine and roses when you're writing a book (are they ever, in fact? Who are these people?), and other writers and the community around us are the best way to get on track.

This post is essentially a kick up the backside to myself, to help me organize my thoughts - and the best way to do that has always been to write. I write to work out what's going on and how I’m feeling about it all.

Maybe the book isn't bad at all, and I'm just looking for excuses not to commit. Maybe it's actually kind of OK? Maybe.

I'm not special, I realize. Every writer has this happen with a new book. I know that, in my head. Now all I have to do is get this book under control and make sure I finish it, dash it all, whether it's pants or not.

Finishing a book is what separates writers from fakers. Right?

Maybe I'll stop complaining, then.

I will write words tonight.


  1. I feel for you. I am writing my second novel too (well, my "second" novel - you know what I mean), having scored an agent for the first. But so far my agent has not found a publisher for that first one, so I'm struggling to get over that worst-thing-ever-written block with this second one. "If nobody even wants the first one what's the point nobody's ever going to buy my book and if this second one is bad that just gives my agent an excuse to drop me when the first doesn't sell and then I might as well never write again and why did I even think I could write books in the first place...". But sometimes I think my book might be OK too. Sometimes I want to find out what happens at the end.

    And hey, the absolute minimum comfort we can take from this post is that we can't both be right about our books being the worst books in the world, right? :)

    1. They can be bad book buddies, and sit hunched on the shelves of abandoned and forgotten stores...

      Finding out what happens is important. Agreed.

  2. Wow - this is so spot on. I feel the same self/book loathing with nearly every book I start. I'm glad to hear (at least on twitter) that you're moving on this book still and I've found that the process, even if forced, takes care of itself.

    Best of luck and - WORDS!!!

    1. "WORDS" is a good battle cry and / or t-shirt slogan.

  3. I am absolutely not there yet, but I've HEARD that the second-published-novel thing is often a doozy. Best of luck. I think there's probably a lot more awesome in that story just waiting to be discovered.

    Also, I second this: WORDS!