Marking time

“The time has come, the walrus said, to talk of many things.

Of ships and shoes and sealing wax,

And cabbages and kings.

“And why the sea is boiling hot

And whether pigs have wings.

“Calloo, Callay, No work today,

“We’re cabbages and kings!”

Have you ever noticed that as writers we measure our time not in minutes but in word count?  Or when we think about time at all, it’s to count the number of days that have passed since we pressed “send” on that submission?

Yeah, writers are a strange bunch of people.  An eclectic group of folks from all walks of life with a common thread that binds us together:  the love of writing.

Maybe you’ve wondered how I’ve been coping since the bout of writer’s block that took over my February.  Maybe you haven’t.  I’ll tell you anyway.  Why?  Because I’m excited about this WIP.

I’ve come out of the slump and am now happily working on Chapter 6 of my dragon book.  It’s currently sitting at 22K words.  I’ve also plotted out a bit of a new novella I want to write.

Life’s good—mostly.

I often wonder if other writers ever feel on top of the world one moment then like you’re eating dirt the next.  That’s how I’m feeling at the moment.  Yes, I love the book I’m writing.  I’m excited to be writing it.  Yet all around me people are announcing on the social networking sites about where they’re located on various best seller lists, how many book sales they had last month, what new multiple book deal they just inked—for print books, no less.

Don’t get me wrong.  I’m happy for these folks.  I’m just wondering when (or if) these wonderful things will happen to me.  When will it be my turn so that all of this hard work will suddenly make sense?  I try really hard not to think about stuff like this and let it distract me from my goals.  Some days I’m more successful than others. 🙂

So, writers out there, please weigh in on this subject.  How do you beat back the blues and chuck the niggling threads of jealousy to continue on your own walk along the path to publication?  What tricks of the trade do you employ so you don’t go crazy thinking about this stuff?  How do you not let self-doubt try to destroy your love of writing?

Because that’s why I really do it.  For the love of the story.  Until then, I’ll just put my head down and continue to write this book.  That’s all I can do while I mark the time with words.

4 Responses to “Marking time”
  1. Tuning everything but my stories out is a constant battle for me. I find what works is to surround myself with things that I love and things that inspire me–favorite books, movies, posters of my covers, “scrap book” style clippings and photographs that caught my eye. Okay, yes, I am a Magpie. Oddly enough, this is how I also made it through the teen years! I’ve been doing this my whole life. I think a lot of artistically sensative people do the same thing.

    I do have highs and lows. I’m happiest when I’m tuned into the creative process and unplugged from what I consider static. I try to turn the static into white noise…and then the story takes me away.

  2. Cora Zane says:

    We all have highs and lows, but try not to let the success of others be part of the lows. That others are selling steadily, and that multi-book contracts are being inked, that’s a sign that the industry we all want to work in is still healthy.

    (And a sign that people are actually BUYING books. What a relief, eh? Not everyone is out pirating someone’s hard work – how awesome to know that enough honest people are out there to get someone on a best seller list. I’d give them all a high five if I could! Know what I mean?)

    Everything in it’s own time. Persistence is key. It’s true, all those things we were told when we first started writing, so hang in there. The “emotions” behind writing are cyclic. They come and go. You’ll be back in the high zone again before you know it.

    As for tuning everything out to get your work done, I’m an old fashioned girl. I’m usually pretty frustrated with myself before I actually get to this point, but still… I park myself in front of the computer and tell myself “just do it!” Nike was seriously onto something when they came up with that. :0)

  3. Thanks Barbara and Cora. I just keep writing the next book. 🙂

  4. Suzanne Rock says:

    Hi Sandi! I agree with the others. Try to look at it this way: publishing is not dead. People are selling and people are buying. There is always room in the market for a good book.

    It’s hard sometimes not to get jealous – believe me, I know. There is so much out there that you can’t control. There is one thing that you can control, though, and that is your own work. Try focusing on your own project and making it the best story you possibly can. The rest will come in time.

    Now, how to do that? But-in-chair-hands-on-keyboard. When you wake up in the morning, get your writing done first, then go online. That way, the tweets and comments of others won’t suck the energy right out of you. Also realize that writing a good book — especially a single title — takes time. Print moves slower than ebook and authors very rarely tell you how long they have worked on the novel that just sold to a big New York publisher. A lot of times it takes years to perfect a story before it sells.

    Good luck! Hope that helps.

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