March & April in Writing: Motivation Struggles…

BEHIND THE WRITING DESK_optSitting down to write has been a little tough lately. I don’t get writers block, in the sense that I can’t think what to write–I plan too much–so I always know what I need to get down on the page. It’s just that writing relies on me wanting and being able to write. I’m just getting over a cold, which has dragged on for about a month. It left me feeling pretty wiped out, lacking concentration, and just wanting to sit and be. Prior to that there was some stuff going on around me which made me feel very set apart from everyone as I did not think or feel in the same way as everyone else seemed to, it kind of compounded some personal wider established thinking around this, so I was a bit distracted, in my own head and feeling a bit stressed and miserable. So, it hasn’t been the best time for writing for me. All that is heaped onto some struggles I have with writing in general.

I’ve always enjoyed writing, always wanted to write and have that as my main activity. As much as I want this, I lack the confidence in myself to drive myself and my work forward in the ways that I should. I know that few people are fortunate enough to have work that they are passionate and personally invested in, but having this big dream of wanting to write 9-5 and not doing it leaves me more and more frustrated with my day job. Because I haven’t promoted myself–and feel completely at a loss when I do look into how to promote my work–my titles aren’t selling like they used to. As a result of that I’m not getting the reviews, and I haven’t gained enough natural following through social media to feel encouraged to sit at the writing desk. As much as having finished projects and books out there feels and is an achievement, I can’t help thinking I’m writing just for me.

Writing for myself isn’t much of an issue. Most people do until they’ve been published, and I’ve always viewed writing as a hobby until it earns a profit–which it hasn’t yet–but for me to produce anything substantial and significant it usually takes a full day. I’m lucky that my full-time working week is condensed into four days, so I have three days off. Knock a full day off my weekend writing though, then trying to be involved with family, spend time with my partner, do my chores, and get some involvement in other hobbies, I don’t always want to be sat at a desk writing. Especially as my current work in progress is in writing a series which I love, but has been my least performing work. I’m also conscious that I should be on social media and doing things like this blog, but I often struggle with understanding what a potential reader would wants from the posts of a writer, and how much I should share without alienating people, and these blog posts take time and get very few readers. I guess there’s a lot of ‘what’s the point?’ going on for me right now.

Thankfully, I’ve been pushing through all this and I’ve been throwing fingers at my laptop and making words. I’m enjoying the story of ‘Slaves of the Underground’ as it’s very different to any of the other of ‘The Darkwood Mysteries’ so far. The quality isn’t always there, but I spend some time fixing that on better days. I just know as long as I get something down, then I’m getting there and everything can be improved. I’m enjoying the challenge of introducing an old friend of Jack Hobbs. Peter Doyle is not as nice or as reliable and as loyal as Jack, and trying to create a character who has been a good friend to him, but is also one to put himself and his survival first, and still be someone the reader I hope will care about–even if it’s just for Jack’s sake–has been quite a balancing act.

In my last updates I shared chapters one and two. I’m now on chapter fourteen and the page count is on about 85 now, so not too shabby even with the lack of motivation. I have two more short stories to write after this to finish up the next nine story run of the series. Maybe I’ll take a break before then, or just relax my routine around writing so I can feel I have more of a balance of what I enjoy doing. I tend to feel like I’m being too slow, and losing momentum for myself and the series, especially after taking the couple of years break I needed to focus on studies. Writing all this feels quite cathartic, just focusing my thoughts and writing this, so if you’re reading this you’ve basically been my shrink. Thanks for that. You were great.

I guess I need some of Darkwood’s pluck. She’s entering the story late, but she’s already made quite a change to the character dynamics and feel of the story, so maybe a little of her determination will rub off on me. Any way, that’s depressingly March and April. It can only get better.

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