Please Choose One

What is the most difficult or challenging part
of the writing process for you?

You're kidding, right?  The most difficult or challenging?   This is a multiple answer type question, isn't it?  There has to be a "Please choose all that apply" option.  Because, well, 
let's get real.  There isn't just one answer to that question, because it depends on when it's asked.

I have a long list of what's been difficult and challenging in this on-going journey of writing and publishing.  At this moment in time, it's this moment in time.  Yes, I'm serious.  The lack of time for everything--especially writing--is a major thing for me right now.   Some days it's having so little sleep that by 9 p.m., my brain has shut down and putting words on paper is an effort in futility.  But that's now.  What about then?

A year ago what was difficult and challenging was getting a book proposal accepted (aka being offered a contract).  I had 3 two-book proposals turned down aka rejected.  Seven years ago it was wondering if I'd ever see another published book when, after five years of being a part of Silhouette Romance, the line closed.  Twelve years ago it was struggling with the revisions on my second book, while going through a divorce.  The year before that I was ready to put writing aside and pretend I was a normal person who didn't hear voices in my head.  (I'm glad I didn't, if only for the fact that it kept me sane during a very difficult time in my life.)

The writing process can be likened to the parenting process.  Once we think we've solved a problem or our child has mastered something, we discover there's more teaching (and learning!) that needs to be done.  Baby won't sleep at night?  Potty-training not going well?  Problems in school?  Boyfriend/girlfriend just dumped daughter/son?  And a lot of times we just wing it.  We don't always have time to get help.  We just do it.

Writing is an ongoing adventure in learning with steps we each take, although not at the same pace.   Some people talk of writing, others write.  Those who choose to do it discover there are pros and cons, just as there are with everything.  But if we stick with it and work our way through--learn knew things and grow some thick skin--we conquer the difficulties and win the challenges.

I have a long list of things that repeatedly are difficult or challenging:
  • I love to plot, but it can be terribly painful.  
  • Sometimes I don't know if something works or not.  
  • I don't feel like writing.  The words just won't come.
  • I can't think of a idea for a book.
  • My character is being stubbornly willful and I can't control him/her.
  • At various points in the writing of a story, I become bored with it.
  • Before I finish one book, the characters of a new book start talking in my head.
  • I fear rejection, not because it hurts, but because writing helps pay the bills.
  • I fear acceptance, because it means I have to (a) get to work, (b) pray I can do it again, (c) meet a whole new set of deadlines.
  • Setting goals is fun and easy, but meeting them is a battle, and sometimes I don't succeed.
  •  There is never, ever, ever enough time to do it all.  As my Twitter bio says, 'Sleep is highly under-rated.'  I need sleep to be able to function, and it's always in short supply.
Is any of that familiar to anyone?

How do I overcome those difficulties and challenges?  


Melissa Robbins said...

I hadn't thought about the timing of the question asked. That does make a difference.

Isn't it funny that listening to the voices in our heads MAKE us sane?

I love your "my character is being stubbornly willful and I can't control him/her." I can SO relate to that right now.

Anonymous said...

ALL of that is familiar. :) Fear is such a big thing for any writer I think. I can relate so much to everything in your post and it helped me see another hang up of mine as well. I fear no one liking what I write. Every step along the way I want to stop and have someone tell me it is good. I guess that is just a tiny bit sad. I need to work more on having confidence in myself and not being dependent on that affirmation from others. Nice post!

Rox Delaney said...

Melissa, I thought of that stubbornly willful character because of you, but it happens to all of us. I think I finally whipped mine into shape in the past few weeks, but that remains to be seen.

I've learned to enjoy being insane. It works well when used at the right time. ;)

Rox Delaney said...

Tammy, it's always good to know we're not alone. A friend and I were just discussing the incidence of depression in creative people. We do seem to have a little less faith in ourselves where our work is concerned and never completely overcome it. The bad thing is, it bleeds over into real life, beyond the writing, painting, acting, or whatever art. I guess we cope when we can and try to get through it somehow when we can't. That's why groups like WARA are important. :)