I'm slowly, slowly, slowly making progress on the novel - last night I hit 69K, and I'll be lying if I say that it's been a breeze. It's been a slog, a hectic, exhausting slog.
I know why, though, and knowing is a step toward fixing the situation.
Most of you know that I run a SFF-review blog,too; at the moment I'm reading five novels and enjoying them all. There are plenty of books I still have to and want to read, and all these books have added to the slow writing pace:
Not because I feel pressured to read the books, but because I've realized that one day, when I'm a published author, I won't be able to read as much as I used to. You see, I really love reading. Books are my constant companion and have been for about twenty-one years (my first Stephen King at 9, Pet Sematary) and the realization that I'll be, in part, sacrificing, reading for writing, is a bitter pill to swallow. I know, I know, I'll never stop reading, nor will I be required to as a novelist, but picking and choosing what I want to read will be a thing of the past. I'll probably be reading more non-fiction for research purposes and selectively reading those authors who are considered the best in their genres, to study the craft. Not a bad trade, I know, but if you saw my collection of books you'd understand. Anyway, what I'm saying is I'm going to miss all the reading I've been doing, and perhaps that is translating into an unconscious reluctance to write at the pace I know I can.
Another problem is that old, old enemy of anyone doing what they really want to do - confidence. Sometimes I'm so damn impressed with myself and what I'm creating; other times I really can't believe that I'm wasting my time. It's the weirdest, most frustrating seesaw I've ever encountered! But I do have faith in my novel, even though I know it'll probably never be published and that I'll be glad that it'll never be published.
Another aspect of this that is weighing heavily on my mind is the fact that I'm working towards finishing my first novel. Sound weird? Hehehehe I don't really understand it myself, some weird kind of fear of success? Some kind of strange realization that I'll have to reach 'The End' some time? I don't know, really, but whatever it is it probably is playing a part.
And then there's that fear of 'Am I wasting my time?'. Am I putting in all these hours, sacrificing time with my girlfriend and friends, for something that I won't succeed at? Is this the most massive waste of time I've ever involved myself in? I actually get pissed off when I think like that. Pissed off at myself, because I'm doing nothing but cutting my own throat. I can't think like that and succeed at this. And I want to, desperately, because I'm pretty sure that I'm a good story-teller and a great writer and that one day, people will be recommending my work to their friends and colleagues and family and maybe, just maybe, what I've written will spark something and lead to something and change something, all for the better. Sure, I want to earn an income from writing and maybe be rich one day, too, but my main motivation is to keep story-telling alive. Soppy, I know, but there it is. Say what you want, but story-telling is the reason that the human race has succeeded and come to dominate the planet, for good or ill. Story-telling is our lifeblood, our sustenance. I want to kick ass at it.
So, even though I've got these fears and these problems to deal with, I'm now going to plug in my earphones and play my writing-music playlist and push for 70K at least. I have to, if only to prove to myself that I can. The glory will come when it comes, and even though I'm chasing this dream and, in turn, being hounded by it, it's still thrilling, frustrating, awesome and terrifying.
I'm off to write.