Confessions of a Wannabe Writer

Guys, I have a confession to make.

I’ve been putting out inspirational posts like 10 Ways to Follow Your Passion Without Quitting Your Day Job and After the Vacation: A Conversation with the Inner Critic.

But the truth is, my baby writing career is stalled like you wouldn’t believe.

I get home from work and the last thing I want to do is write or edit…even though I’ve been dreaming all day about how productive I’ll be when I get home. So I chat with my family, putter around on the Internet, and maybe squeeze out half an hour some nights, an hour if I’m lucky. Too many nights I get nothing done at all. I’m not a morning person, so I don’t write before work, and lunch hours disappear awfully fast.

My priorities are all wrong. I spend more time blogging and working on Turtleduck Press stuff than I do writing or editing my own stories. More time reading blogs than reading novels. I think Chuck Wendig has something to say about that. (See what I mean about reading blogs?)

Now, it’s true that I’ve had a busy and distracting couple of years. I bought my first house, went through another major life event that was all-consuming for months, and planned and executed a massive trip.

But all those things are finished and I’ve been back at work for a month and a half now, long enough to have gotten over the hump and back into the groove. Except…I struggled with these same problems before all the distracting stuff happened. It’s no surprise that they’re back.

I’m tired of not writing. Of taking weeks to edit a chapter because I’m only devoting a handful of hours a week to the thing I want to do most in all the world. (Don’t I?) Of still not having even one edited, polished novel ready to go out on submission, or out on Amazon, or out into the world somehow.

I feel like a poser. A master of self-sabotage. A wannabe doomed to failure because I don’t want my dream enough to work for it.

I don’t have any answers.


Your turn! Am I the only one who feels this way?



17 responses to “Confessions of a Wannabe Writer

  1. To everything there is a season, baby. Which probably sounds trite, but I don’t mean it that way. I bet your creative mind is working below the surface, and when it’s ready, you’ll start to rock.
    Hang in there!

  2. I think I’m kinda there with you, as I definitely haven’t been making the progress I feel like I should. Sometimes I think I got more done back when I was in the video game industry and working 80-100 hours a week. I think the difference might be that now I have stuff to revise, which feels a lot more daunting than getting through a first draft, and I’m not sure how to go about doing it.

    I signed up for Holly Lisle’s “How to Revise Your Novel” course a while back and have all the lessons now, but working through her process for the first time is vastly work-intensive. But really I guess the only way to get it done is to buckle down harder and just do it, and learn from the experience so the next project I revise will be better.

    But it sounds like we both might be in a place that we need to make some choices if we want to focus more on our writing. That’s why I’ve been putting a time limit on my social media stuff, because otherwise I could spend loads of time everyone’s blogs 🙂

  3. I appreciate the honesty in this post. I’ve been in a little bit of a rut lately when it comes to working on my books, but in that time I’ve been doing a lot of cool blogging and I’ve really dived into painting, so its not that I’m not being creative, just that writing novels has taken the back seat. During this time, though, three ideas have come up like sprouts in my brain and I seem to want to write all three books at the same time. . .

    we’ll see where this leads me. All I know is that once I hit that groove with any one of these stories, I am going to try my earnest best to devote as much time as possible to my writing! So don’t get down on yourself, I don’t think that will help you be more productive–or maybe it will be, maybe one day you’ll have some kind of cathartic release and it will turn out that the disappointment becomes fuel for the greatest spurt of writing you’ve had to date! Either way, have an awesome day/night wherever/whenever you are 🙂

  4. Oh boy, do I hear you.

    i’ve been feeling like I’m in a rut myself; I even talked a bit about it in a blog post. Admittedly I’ve got a bit more freedom, and will probably exercise that freedom–but I’m working ever so slowly. Part of it is just sheer lack of motivation.

    Maybe we should become writing buddies and work together until we are moving smoothly!

  5. Yeah, I could have written this post actually. Especially the bit about feeling like a poser! I’ve said exactly that many times. However, I’m not in such a bad place right now, as I’ve embarked upon a self-employment endeavour that gives me some flexibility, and I’m scheduling in writing time. But I have been STRIVING to complete something publishable for far too many years…

  6. I’d recommend Jerry Cleaver’s method from his book, Immediate Fiction. You commit to spending 5 minutes a day on your writing for 30 days; anyone can find 5 minutes per day, and if inspiration doesn’t strike, you sit and do nothing for 5 minutes, and that’s okay.

    What I like about this is it’s totally non-threatening – and it worked for me. Within two or three weeks, I was well away with the novel I’d found so hard to start.

  7. I’m right there with you, Siri. While I finished the first crappy draft of my first novel (way back in March), I’ve only edited the first three chapters since then. A major life change, family crises, buying and renovating a house – all of those things have zapped my creative energy and the drive I had to work on my writing career. All of those things add up to not much writing/editing and feeling like a total poser.

    I’m not a morning person, either, so my writing time is squeezed into the hours after kids go to bed and my own bedtime (which tends to get pushed back more and more lately). I don’t think there are any simple solutions other than keep doing your best to write as much as you can whenever you can. That, and don’t get too down on yourself when you don’t meet a writing goal.

  8. Thanks for all the wonderful commiseration and advice, everyone! It’s reassuring to hear that I’m not alone, either in struggling to move forward or in feeling frustrated with the struggle.

    Mike, I signed up for HTRYN a few years ago, strove mightily to get through it, but eventually fizzled out because of the sheer amount of work involved. I’m thinking I should pull it out again, read over the lessons I didn’t get to, and apply them in my own way *without* doing all the worksheets. There’s lots of good stuff in the lessons; I think it was just the application that didn’t work for me.

    “But it sounds like we both might be in a place that we need to make some choices if we want to focus more on our writing.” — This. Yes.


  9. Oh, yeah…I really struggle with how vastly work-intensive HTRYN is, especially with my 120k word novel. Supposedly the process condenses down to a more manageable time-frame after working through a revision or two, but it’s tough to work through the first time. There does seem to be an astonishing amount of good information in there, so I’d really like to get through the course. I’m actually going to try it out on a short story and see how that goes.

  10. Mike that sounds like a good idea…keep me posted!

  11. I hear you, too, Siri. Sometimes I feel that way, too. And I’ve had health issues and family drama and all kinds of fun stuff distracting me. I just try to do as much as I can every day, no matter how much or how little that happens to be. And I try not to beat myself up too badly.

    Mike and Siri – I started with HTRYN in 2008 on a novella and I’m STILL not done. I’m over halfway done, though. The worksheets get less the further you get into it, and it gets easier IMO. Definitely worth it, though.

  12. Erin, you usually look like the queen of productivity from where I’m sitting. 🙂 Wish I had your self-discipline or stick-to-it-iveness or whatever your secret is!

    As for HTRYN…good grief. Much as I find her stuff useful, there must be an easier way….

  13. …I STILL haven’t worked through HTTS. *sigh*

  14. Siri – Thanks. I *do* have my moments, though.
    Dianna – I haven’t either, not technically. Read through all the material, have used some of it, but never took a novel through it.

  15. Pingback: Overflowing and Directionless: Another Wanna-be Writer | David Paul

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