Squirrel!

A good friend asked me not long ago how I stay focused on finishing my book. The short answer? I don’t.

Writing is hard. It’s hard to find the right words. It’s hard to pull the plot together neatly. It’s hard to get characters out of the scrapes I’ve so lovingly put them into. And honestly, there are days when I just want to write my characters right to the bottom of the ocean and leave them there.

I’ve learned that, for me, the best way to handle those frustrations is not to write through them, but to give them space. Sometimes it’s an hour, sometimes it’s a day, sometimes it’s a week. I don’t push it. I’ve tried pushing through it before, and in the end, that story got shelved for half a year before I could bear to even think about it again.

Some authors can stick with one book from beginning to end, but I always need a couple of back-burner projects for when I hit a wall. Working on something else for a while gets me excited about writing again, and eventually, I work up enough momentum to break through the obstacles in my main project.

How do you make it through your manuscript?

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4 Comments

  1. I used to be awful, moving from one project to the next. But something in me clicked last year and now I will see a story through to the end. No explanation for it, it just kind of happened šŸ˜€

  2. My problem is I can’t stay focussed. I’m a fulltime student and most of my life is spent worrying about things like homework, tests, essays, work experience, and planning out the rest of my life so my parents can feel safe about letting me go (lol). It’s hard to keep track of what really “matters,” yenno? I love writing, but writing is always pushed to the back of the shelf as something low-priority.

    I know what you mean by back-burner projects. I have a few stories or stubs of them that probably won’t get too far (for the time being) but I revert to when I’m bored or out of inspiration. And then I have a main project that I’m procrastinating. And then I have short stories/poetry that I want to send to literary mags but am too scared to because rejection hurts šŸ˜›

    Is your book self-published or published traditionally? Either way, I would love to hear more about your process of actually reaching the end of your project. Congratulations!

    • Ah yes, it’s a huge challenge to work writing into student life. Especially when you’ve written five papers in a week and read textbooks until your eyes are on fire–I feel for you.

      My book is being traditionally published through Cedar Fort Publishing. I totally understand that fear of rejection, but I think you should try sending out some of your stuff! Rejections do hurt, but I felt like my rejections were sort of a band of honor. I had joined the ranks of writers who had been rejected, and I was more determined to make myself better.

      Thanks for your comment! I love hearing from my readers, and I especially love getting suggestions on what people are interested in hearing about. I’ll be sure to post some more about my road to getting published.

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