I had the pleasure of reaching the end of a work in progress today. Writers like me (so people with quite clear issues) can occasionally suffer from the opposite of writers block. The result of this is an outporing of blathering fiction that leaves us with a nasty tangled mess of loose ends, plot holes, and inconsistent character actions. Sadly, in this instance, I really quite like what I’ve produced for the simple reason that it makes me laugh. It’s not the most coherent thing I’ve ever written, in fairness it’s only slightly more coherent than Door Number Four (which if you ever want to feel better about what you’re spouting is a good place to start), but it is a fun read.
The issue I have here, and I’d hope is true for other people is that the fun part is over now. I will go back and I’ll pick at the story like a scavenger picking on a corpse pulling shreds of intelligble work from the ninety-thousand and odd words I’ve produced. I’ll delete, reorder, search for the insoncistencies and repair errors. Streamlining will take place. I’ll strike down on the text with the molijnor of delete buttons destroying the abundance of -ly words that shouldn’t ever have made themselves available.
To the point of this post however. I have been told many times that if you’ve written something stick it in a drawer (or in a folder on a cloud so you don’t lose it) for at least six months and return to it later to see how you feel about it. When I have managed to do this, and I have a number of times, I’ve lost interest in the hard work involved in getting back into my own work. I don’t have a great memory and despite the considerable time I spend procrastinating, telling myself I am planning, or building character death, sketching locations, musing time away, my notes will prove to be completely useless. I will now, upon reassessing the work become impatient and end up making a bigger mess of it before I can get anywhere near finishing and tidying up.
As evidence to my own failings a friend recently commented on how long it has been since I actually published Dead Heads and wether or not anything else is ever going to arrive. Actually in the last fortnight this has happened twice. These are people who actually liked Dead Heads and are asking because they want to read a sequel, or something at least, written by me. Flattering certainly, but also pretty devastating to think how bad things have got. I don’t have writers block, I have publishing block. I turn upon my own work, my characters, their story, and I decide that they do not deserve to be told.
It is a lack of confidence. I’m not going to fool myself here. I have never used my own person Facebook page to promote my writing. I know lots of lovely people who are very supportive and I’m sure they would want to help me and be interested in my work. The majority of people I know in person don’t even know I write. I haven’t told them. I’m concerned that it will effect how those I work with see me professionally or that for some unknown reason it will come back to haunt me.
I released Dead Head’s over 2 years ago and I only told about ten people at the time!
So my writing is permanently shrouded by the fact that I am not biting the bullet and going for it. Is it a lack of faith in my own work? Is that way things sit gathering proverbial digital dust on the harddrive of computers long since discarded? Why when it comes to a finished, or near-finished WIP I let it wallow until I am no longer interested in taking it any further?