I sat there, fingers poised over my keyboard ready to create a masterpiece and… I just couldn’t start. Discouraged, I closed my laptop, pushed my chair back from my desk and got up, yet again, to work on something else.
The life of a writer is a confusing one at best, overwhelming at its worst. Writing a book presents a battle of conflicting emotions to wade through from the moment we tentatively entertain the notion throughout the selling and marketing process. When I share this truth with friends and other would-be writers I often hear “Why would anyone write a book? It seems so hard!”
While this is absolutely true, it saddens my heart to think someone might not be willing to share their stories because the emotional cacophony surrounding their writing endeavors overwhelmed them.
That got me thinking.
Looking back on my own writing journey I have come to understand that there are a myriad of emotions surrounding any type of writing. Having the ability to look back (and having the perspective of many other writers) I can now see that the emotional turmoil of writing is not only completely normal, but also an essential part of the writing process as a whole.
So, what if there was a way to recognize the emotional struggles involved in the writer’s life so that when they occurred we could address them knowing that A) we aren’t alone in experiencing them, and B) there was a way to face them and move through them to a finished manuscript? Would that help would-be writers succeed?
One can only hope, right? So, here is my list of The (most common) Emotions of Book-Writing:
LONELINESS. Writers have to work alone in order to flesh out characters, concepts, plot-lines and organizational structures of our books. While at first this may seem wonderful (you mama writers and part-time writers with additional careers know what I’m talking about), the continued isolation leads to loneliness because we must often choose to use our free time away from others in order to write.
FRUSTRATION. Writer’s block, deadlines, computer malfunctions, interruptions, illness…life has a way of getting into the middle of our writing space. It’s understandable really. Just because we are writing a book does not preclude the rest of our world from needing us to be present. And, unless you have the luxury of being able to hunker down in an isolated cabin somewhere until you are finished, interruptions will be the norm rather than the exception in your writing journey.
EXHAUSTION. Once the writing is finished and the final manuscript is out of your hands and on its way to publication the real work of selling your book begins. Interior layouts need to be reviewed and modified. Cover designs need to be finessed and updated to match the final product. Launch teams need to be notified. Sales sites need to be contacted. Social media marketing campaigns need to be mapped out and pre-sale ordering mobilized (just to name a few actions). But, moving another finger to do anything for that book is enough to make you want to run and hide. Believe me, I so know how this feels!
What emotions have you experienced as a writer? How did you overcome them?