Monday, April 25, 2011

Writing is Hard, Let's Resort to a Life of Crime

Writing is hard. We've all heard it. We've probably said it ourselves. 

Let's step away from the landmine of trying to get the book published, and focus on the writing of the book. Writing is still hard. If you've ever written a book from start to finish you know what I am talking about. If you're still working your way through your first draft, be forewarned. I don't mean this in a doom and gloom and we should all hide under our desks sort of way.

I am thinking about this more like it's a simple truth. Writing is hard. If it was easy, everyone would be published (and chocolate would rain from the sky, and be the anchor food for diets). When you're riding the high of having a brand new idea, you forget this. But during the first draft of every single book I have ever written I've come against a wall. I know what happens next. The plot points are still engaging and exciting. Yet I am bored out of my skull.

I remember when I reached a rough patch in my first novel. I thought it was me. I thought it was my lack of experience. I thought experience would get rid of that pesky time during the first draft where every word feels like a battle. When every word felt old and stale and I thought squirrels dancing upon my keyboard to a jaunty tune would have better luck coming up with an interesting scene than I did.

Then I wrote a second book. The same problem, right after the middle of the book. Same with the third. I realized that it wasn't just me, that other writers hit difficult parts in their books as well. You consider ditching your book, even though you're half way through (or a two-thirds like I am). You think about writing something else.

But like a shady past, that rough patch will always find you. You might have a book or two come out without pain, but in my experience this is the exception that proves the rule. In order to finish my rough draft I have been employing some tricks. This week, I am going to talk about these tricks at length. Things like bribery and larceny. 

If you have any methods to get yourself through a first draft, feel free to mention it in the comments section, or email me and we can hook you up with a guest post.

Because we are writers and we will finish the book we started. We can't edit an unfinished draft. We will persevere. 

Even if we have to resort to a life of crime to do it.


  1. Bribery, larceny... that about covers it. Basically, you have to sit your butt down and get to doing.

  2. Ohhhh. Bribery works. Also just ignoring the problem entirely.

    I'm British, we are all tres fabsies at denying thing such as the heat and things that are not polite. We are also top notch at queueing and tea.

    Ummm, seriously though I do tend to ignore it. Firstly I pretend I am not YET halfway through the WIP and therefore CANNOT hit a slump. Then, when I can deny it no longer, I am generally well past halfway so I use similar logic to disallow slumping AFTER the midway point.


  3. Oh, you can edit an unfinished draft, but you will never finish it. This is my problem. My wall is thinking, "THIS BOOK SUCKS!" about halfway through and nearly talking myself into abandoning it.

    I don't have any tricks. I am SO excited to read yours. So... post them. Like, soon. I NEED THEM!


  4. Elizabeth: Yes Butt in Chair works like a charm so long as you don't allow yourself to be seduced.

    Mia: I LOVE this idea! I love pretending like the slump isn't there! That's great!

    Tara: Ouch. Yes, you can technically edit an unfinished draft, but it's nearly impossible to do meaningfully. :D Never fear, I will be posting away.