In Which Jackie Waves a Big Stick

It’s always the way. You come back from holiday and life kind of descends on you like the 1000 tonne ACME weight descends on the coyote from Roadrunner. Actually, I shouldn’t complain (though I am, obviously), because spending four days down in Queenstown, in a beautiful hotel, isn’t something to complain about. It’s just the coming back that sucks. Especially when motivation to write is thin on the ground.

It’s not that I’m not liking my story. I am. I’m loving writing it. I’m just having a ‘what’s the freaking point?’ moment. The moment all unpublished authors get when there is no prospect of your story being accepted today, or tommorrow, or even at any point in the near future. When, in all probability, it will be rejected just like all the rest of your submissions. When no one cares if you finish it or not because you have no deadlines. No slavering readers desperate for your next title. You have no one except your CPs (if you have CPS) and though you love them dearly some days even they are not enough.Β 


So, any of you having the same problem as me? Are you feeling like there’s no point finishing your story? Because if you are, if you need some motivation, if you need Jackie to wave a big stick and tell you to get off your butt and finish the damn book, let me know. Give me a deadline. And I’ll write a blog post expressly designed to make you get those words down.

Why? Because I care. Because I want you to finish your book. I want you to edit it. I want you to submit it. Because after all, I am you. And if you don’t, why the hell should I? πŸ™‚

13 thoughts on “In Which Jackie Waves a Big Stick”

  1. Sometimes I wonder what the heck I’m doing… especially around 3 a.m. on some random Wednesday when I know that I have to be up and ready to deal with the real world just a few hours later. 3 a.m. may be considered the witching hour, but that’s also when the “I’m not good enoughs” creep in. *sigh*
    But, I love to write, and I guess I just figure if I don’t, then I’m not going to get published.
    So I try to keep it this simple: Writing is better than not writing.
    For now, that works for me. : )

  2. I’m having motivation issues too. My problem is not the writing. I love the writing. I find myself endlessly delightful and clever. Yep, I crack me up.

    It’s the craft that gives me fits. The structure of a story. The knowing enough about everything story-wise to know whether or not my conflicts work together in the way they should, or if what I’ve written is realistic, or when X, Y and Z should happen in a story. Craft gives me fits. I’m eternally reading and rereading books on scenes and arcs and GMC, the job of dialogue, and the pitfalls of beginning writers, the things you must know to sell a manuscript.

    I tell myself that if I know these things, I won’t worry about the box and whether I fit it well enough. I tell myself that if the structure is there, it will be compelling enough that my deviations from pattern won’t matter.

    Other times I just sit and stare at my outline and change the plot beats over and over again, and long for the stage where I feel I can actually get back to the writing.

    Having a cranky day.

  3. Tina – I gotta ask, what are you doing up at 3am?? And I thought I’m an insomniac. Anyway, yeah, I’m with you on the writing vs not writing. I’ve tried not writing and that sucked. Guess I’m stuck with writing eh?

    Amalie – Lol! Well, you just cracked me up too. And I’m totally with you on the craft. Learning craft totally bollocksed up writing for at least a year. Because yeah, you’re writing away and suddenly you think ‘uh oh. Does my hero have a character arc? Does he have learning moments? Where is his goal? What’s his motivation???’ and then the writing becomes like wading through concrete.

    Honestly, my best advice for that is to forget the craft. Forget plots and structure. Write the way you want to write. Enjoy writing it. And you’ll find that all that craft stuff WILL work it’s way in there. At least, I’m getting to the point where, if I let myself stop angsting and worrying about it, the writing flows and everything works itself out. Including plot and structure, etc. etc.

    Don’t let it get in the way of your story in other words. *she says helpfully, making Amalie want to shoot her*

    Hugs on the cranky day. Me too. πŸ™‚

  4. *Holds hand up in air like a naughty schoolgirl* – I’m failing BIG time on the writing at the mo – so that means NaNo is failing too. (((sigh))). Help please Dr Jackie if you don’t mind! Ta v much. Caroline x

  5. Caroline – Right. *gets out stick* What are you writing? And when do you want to finish it? End of November? When would you like a big kick – ahem – I mean a nice motivational push? Let me know and I’ll slot you in!

  6. Jackie – I’m so pleased you keep at it despite the doubts, because I’m going to be first in the queue to buy your first published book. Although I’m aware I’ll have to elbow your family, Sassy Sisters, other Minxes and countless others out of the way to make sure I’m first. Lots of people out here dying to buy all your books – and that’s why you have to keep going. :0)


  7. Jackie: But if I don’t think craft, I’mma do it WRONG πŸ™‚

    I agree with Suzanne, we’ll see your words in print before long. And you already have that manner about your posts anyway, even when they lament the process and the obstacles (like everyone does!), you have a way of inspiring folks to keep at it. It’s appreciated, lady.

  8. Amalie – I think that’s one of the nicest things anyone has said to me all week. Thank you! I have to admit to feeling like a big fraud though. I’m so unmotivated at the moment, it’s amazing I can inspire anyone! But well, have to say, right back at you. Sometimes the only thing that keeps me here, writing and submitting is you guys.

    Oh and Jackie Ashenden AKA Yoda says, ‘Write or do not write. There is no wrong’. πŸ˜‰

  9. Just don’t pull back too quickly and hit yourself with the stick πŸ˜‰ I love that you battle on regardless of the crows. I think your publication day will be coming along very soon and I’ll be there with Suzanne buying the first copies.

  10. Gosh, you’ve just spelt out how I’m feeling. And like you, it’s not the muse having a vacation or the words just not flowing. It’s more, I know exactly where my story is going…but I can’t be bothered!

    Although I get the feeling my problem may have something to do with the impending 3-week single parenthood. Yep, I blame stupid business trips in exotic places!

    *passes Jackie the martini and chocs*

  11. Lacey – Thanks m’dear. Who knows when publication will come – if ever. But guess I have to keep battling right? πŸ™‚

    Maya – I hate business trips too. And 3 weeks of single-parenthood would do that to anyone. Hugs. Oh and you’d better be bothered cos there’s people here who want to read your writing!

  12. Ummm would now be a good time to point out that I have already put in my notice, informing my boss that I will (at any moment now) be taking up my official role as your book pimp?

    Just kidding – it’s all cool but *whispers* I do have my Book Pimp outfit all picked out πŸ˜‰

    Sad to say that I’m feelin’ a bit stumped myself. I think it’s a natural afteraffect of NV. Such a long time sustaining so much nervous tension, well it make sense to me that it would deplete a person’s resevoir of “go get ’em girl”. I’ve given myself until the end of the month and then I’m determined to fire up and jump back into the concrete wading.

    I will have thighs like Arnie’s! heh heh heh……errr wait a minute….ewwww not pretty at all.

    Anyway you’re awesomesauce and I’ll kick your butt if you kick mine, deal?

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