Ever get a book from the library, try to start it, but you are just bored and can’t seem to want to read it? Even if it is a book you’ve been looking forward to, sometimes books can be hard to get into, through no fault of the story or the author.
Ever get a plot bunny, try to start a story, but you are just bored and can’t seem to want to write it? Even if it is a wonderful, awesome story, sometimes stories can be hard to start, through no fault of the story or the author.
Both of these things have happened to me recently.
When my laptop died, I suddenly found myself with a lot more reading time (imagine that!). In the last three weeks, I read The Last Dragonslayer by Jasper Fforde, Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater, The Secret War by Matt Myklusch, made headway in The Count of Monte Cristo, and alpha-read for Lily J. The Last Dragonslayer, Shiver, and The Secret War are all books I had tried to read before but hadn’t been interested enough to finish.
All three of those books received at least 4-star-ratings from me.
When I was on vacation last month, I decided to try to start a new story. Because first drafting had to be easier than editing while on vacation, right?
I laugh at myself.
I have tried to start four different stories since then. FOUR. The last one shows promise of becoming a full draft
then again, so did the others but only after I restarted and went in a different direction.
Four new stories and none of them taking off right away is a little concerning. It inspires doubts of “What if I never have another good idea again?” and “What if I’m only stuck writing about the characters from my last book forever?” and “What if I’m not a good writer?”
All of which are internal-heckler getting at you. And to all those worries I say “It doesn’t matter. I’m going to keep writing, anyway.” Or at least, I try to think that. It’s hard to think positive during writer-doubts.
But I have had so many marvelous plot bunnies in the ten years I’ve been writing. So many stories I want to write.
Maybe I’m just not ready to write those stories.
Or they aren’t ready for me.
With this mindset, I can relax a bit. It doesn’t matter how many times I need to restart a story before I get a beginning that works for me. It doesn’t matter that I’ve only finished three novels (first drafts) in the last four years, when everyone else has finished more.
And that right there, that “everyone else” is a problem. Comparing yourself and your writing process with others is almost never a good thing. (By the way, go read this post about that.)
If I am not enjoying what I write, there is no reason for me to write. End of story (pun totally intended).
The same thing goes for reading. Reading is meant to entertain. If I am not enjoying a book, I do not have to keep reading. I may pick it up again in a few months and love it or never touch it again. And I am okay with this.
So, yeah. I may pick up a Charles Dickens book months from now and actually enjoy it.