You know, it occured to me yesterday, while I was gadding about reading emails, playing games, and generally avoiding writing a big fight scene, that maybe the reason the muse is refusing the buckle down is because I’m writing the fourth book of a series no one has seen yet. The first three books are untested–I have no idea whether people are going to love or hate these books and these characters, and the muse is reacting to this.
Of course, being unsure about your writing and your books is a normal state for most writers (tho I’m sure the stars of the various genres–Stephen King, Nora Roberts, Laurell K Hamilton, Clive Cussler, Dick Francis etc, don’t spend a whole lot of their writing time worrying about whether their audience is going to love or hate their next book). But most of us never get to those stellar heights, and most of us do worry. Let’s be honest–most writers write not just because they love it, but because they want to make a living out of it, and to do that, writers have to sell books. But if ever there is one thing that can stop a muse in its tracks, it’s fear. And it comes in all different forms. Fear of rejections stops some from ever submitting, as does fear of becoming a success and not being able to keep up with the pace. Then there’s the fear of never being good enough–something I’ve struggled with my whole writing life. Of course, this particular fear wasn’t helped by the fact that I was writing paranormal romance and urban fantasy well before Christine Feehan or Laurell K Hamilton proved there was a market for such books. And in some ways, it also wasn’t helped by the fact that I’m in a crit group that has some bloody brilliant writers. Writers who have struggled, just like me, to get published. And the little demon of doubt was always there on my shoulder, always prodding me and reminding me that if those brilliant people couldn’t get published, why the hell should I?
Of course, actually getting published didn’t shut the little doubter up. She just found new avenues to exploit. Which is where I’m at now. Worrying that I’m writing a book no one will ever see. Which hasn’t actually stopped me from writing it. Despite all the attempts of avoidence yesterday, I did actually write–and finish–the big fight scene. I ended up completing ten pages overall, which helped make up for the pages I didn’t write the day before. I also got a clearer idea of how this book is going to get to the ending, and it should be a humdinger. I’m learning, however slowly, that I simply can’t allow fear to get the better of me anymore. No writer who wants to make a living out of this gig can. And it is a wonderful gig. Despite all the fears and doubts, there’s nothing else I’d rather be doing right now.
Although if I could make a living eating chocolate and not put on weight while doing so, I might just consider a career jump 😀