Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Days off and Doubts

I think this whole internet thing is fantastic, really I do.  Finding a community of hundreds of other writers - both aspiring and published - is such an amazing thing, and sometimes I wonder how writers like Jane Austen or J. D. Salinger survived without it.

However, having immediate access to this whole community has its drawbacks.  First of all, there is a lot of pressure to not only finish your manuscript, but also to get your name out there before even attempting to publish it, whether via blogging, tweeting, facebooking, foruming, texting, emailing, youtubing, head-against-the-computer-screen-bashing, and what have you.  A lot of pressure...lot of pressure.

whew!  So, what's the other drawback?  It might sound a bit contradictory, but the other drawback is:

Finding a community of hundreds of other writers - both aspiring and published.  Oh. My. God.  There's millions of us out there.  Writing is so easy it's not easy at all.  That's the problem.  There are so many people out there who write, and write WELL, that it's a bit of a gong show trying to get noticed.  This whole thing about queries is terrifying.  It's worse than a resume.  "Please summarize your whole novel, your accomplishments, your writing style, and your personality in 200 words or less."  No problem.

This is what happens on my days off.  I have more time to stare at my manuscript and pick out flaws, more time to read about other writers' amazing achievements, more time look over sample queries that are way better than mine, more time to over analyze all of my critiquers' comments, more time to tell myself that this whole idea of being a writer was bad in the first place.

Of course, as you can imagine, even though I have more free time on my days off, I write less.  Here is how I spend my time instead:

  • checking my email every 2-5 minutes
  • drinking way too much coffee until I can't see straight and people start to avoid passing me on the sidewalk.
  • reading everyone else's blogs ... not so bad in itself, until you add the *comparison* part of it
  • listening to Britney Spears on repeat.  Yeah.  I'm totally serious.
  • checking my twitter and facebook in between email checks
  • realizing I've had too much coffee to even give good critiques on a friend's manuscript
  • trying, as a last ditch effort to do something productive, to write an outline for my next book in pen and paper (to escape the internet threat of course)
  • waking up hours later, covered in ink, in a bed of crumpled papers.  No semblance of an outline in sight.
So anyway, the internet is great!  Now, wonderful readers, behold the one thing I've actually accomplished today: a rambling blog entry.  

Onward and Upward.



  1. I know what you mean, I spend all day at work imagining all the story lines I want to create and then when I finally get the time to sit and write something I spend half my time reading other people's success story's or blogs! When really I need to be using that time to crack on.

    I'm not sure if the internet is a help or a hinderance sometimes. But your right it's fantastic their is such a writing community here, and it's great that you don't feel so alone.

    Good luck with your writing,


  2. Not to add to your internet issues, but a while ago I seriously almost gave up on London Calling for the same reason's you describe... I wished I never even started because I had such a mess on my hands and I was reading all these things about how 'time travel was so over' or 'time travel was such a hard sell, no agent will take it as a first book' .. (and um, I told you about my first critique experience...triple ouch).

    Then I came across this about 'Battling the Voices of Doom' post by Mandy Hubbard (who I love!)...her road to publication was insane. She re-wrote her book NINE times and got rejected by twenty-six publishers before somebody finally liked it enough to buy, and then she had to re-write again before they would publish it! She just really believed in her story, and stuck with it!


    Laura :-)

  3. Please just keep writing! Tell the critics that live inside your brain to go take care of your digestion or a bunyon or something, so that you can use your brain to WRITE!

  4. Laura: Thanks for (more!) kind words! :) What would I do without critique partners like you! Btw, I am SOO glad you didn't give up on London Calling. I'm ordering the first 5 copies when it hits my Chapters. ;) I checked out Mandy Hubbard's blog. Thanks for the tip! Definitely applicable.

    Mum: haha. Thanks. :) You know I'll keep writing, but you also know the critics inside my brain have nowhere else to go! We'll have to work out some kind of truce. ;)

  5. I really like your writing style - hence the follow. I also had a look at the 15 year old writer and wow, amazing stuff (coincedentally I am now following him too!)

    The internet can be a wonderful thing, but for me sometimes not so much, when I have an endless list to get done! We must learn to use it correctly as a tool I guess - and our own worst critic is undoubtidly ourselves, whether our interests are art, writing or whatever takes our fancy. However, you must keep going as you have a talent. :D

    Thank you for the good reads.

    p.s. I hope the laser eye surgery went well :)


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