Avoidance Tactics

Saturday morning dawned and I leapt out of bed, alert and eager to head to my study (aka the boxroom), switch on my computer, open up Scrivener and begin work on Book Three.

You see, this is why I write. My imagination knows no bounds. What actually happened on Saturday morning was that I lay in my cosy bed for simply ages, thinking that I really ought to get up and do some work because first thing in the morning is by far the best time for me to write and, goodness knows, I’ve not exactly written a great deal lately. Then I thought maybe I ought to make a cup of tea/feed the dog/let the dog out/check my emails/see what’s happening on Facebook/browse through the new book that’s just arrived in the post/read the next novel on my huge to-be-read pile…you get my drift.

I’ve had a break from the novel writing for a few weeks. I finished A Kiss from a Rose and sent it off to the NWS back in June. Early June. Then I set to work writing a short story for the forthcoming Write Romantics’ charity anthology (you can get a sneak peek here if you want to!) and then I did a tiny bit of editing on There Must Be An Angel and read it yet again. Then I did some blog posts, played around with the blog, and added lots of pictures to Pinterest. But Book Three? Nope.

I did make a few notes. I jotted some ideas down. I knew who my characters were, where they’ll start and where they’ll finish and roughly what sort of things will happen along the way, but I hadn’t made any detailed writing plan and, more importantly, I hadn’t started that first draft. Why?

As I lay there, clutching the duvet to me and trying to force myself to at least start the next instalment in The Kearton Bay Chronicles (my nickname for the series I’m writing) I wondered what it was that was making me so reluctant. And there it was, that little voice. The voice that bugs me constantly and never seems to have anything kind to say to me.

“What if you can’t do it again?”

Well, quite. It’s perfectly possible, I suppose. But then, if I’d listened to that voice I would never have signed up for NaNoWriMo or joined the RNA NWS or started this blog or opened a Facebook page or anything else that I’ve done in the last couple of years, because that voice has been in my ear the whole blooming time and, frankly, it’s getting on my nerves.

So I made that cup of tea, let the dog out, fed her and then headed to my room and switched on my computer and began to write. And I managed four scenes, so that’s not too bad for a first day.

Sunday morning dawned and I headed to my room, determined and eager to start the next scene. Except, I needed to check something out on Google, and before I knew it I’d opened my emails, which led to me sorting out my Google Plus account (which I’d apparently opened a while ago and can’t for the life of me remember anything about, which meant I had to research that, too!) Then I opened WordPress to add a Google widget and that led me to messing around with my blog again and then I kept checking back on Facebook and flicking backwards and forwards between all these open tabs and now I’m too tired to even think about writing. So…

I’ve written this blog post and – by the miracle of technology – it should, fingers crossed, appear on Monday morning, by which time I will be at work in the day job, putting in my ten hours and not thinking about writing at all (honest, boss!) *innocent whistle*. Then, on Tuesday morning I shall get up early and put in at least three hours on the novel before work, and I shall do that every single day until draft one is complete. And I’ve set myself a deadline. Draft one, book three will be finished by November 1st. Yes, of course I mean this year. I’m not that bad!

Here we go again then…

Have a great week xx

14 thoughts on “Avoidance Tactics

  1. Ha ha ha! As a master of avoidance, I can completely empathise with this post. Funnily enough, I’ve hardly written anything for the last month either. I’ve tinkered with book 2, I’ve written my anthology story, but I’ve written more on Facebook and blog posts than I have on any of my novels. And, guess what, your little voice has a twin and she’s living in my head!!! I’m racked with doubts that book 1 is good enough, my negative NWS report on book 2 (even though my beta readers loved it) has helped me believe that’s crap too and I’ve come up with a plot point I want to change on book 3 and, quite frankly, I’m not sure I have the talent to do it.

    One thing I will say to encourage you is don’t punish yourself too much on the delay. Everyone needs a break once in a while and the speed at which you’ve worked on the series is incredible. You’ve managed to sub a different novel in each of your 2 years on the NWS (I sub’d book 1 twice) and you’re already on book 3. So am I, but I started writing the series in 2003!!

    The plotting and thinking you describe is part of the process and I personally find that the space helps ideas and plot points to brew more.

    Sounds like we may need to give each other a confidence boost on Saturday 🙂

    Jessica xxx

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    • Aw thanks, Jessica. Those naughty twins are a real pain aren’t they? Part of the problem is I found Book Two so easy to write and loved writing it so much that I can’t imagine it being so easy this time round. I know Book One certainly wasn’t!
      I know that a few thousand words in I’ll relax and start to enjoy it. I think I’ll settle more when I get my report back. Until then I’m still thinking too much about Rose and Flynn to give my new couple enough attention. Tea and sympathy on Saturday! 🙂 x

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  2. Ooh, this is all so familiar, Sharon!
    But – you have a life, and life feeds your writing. I recently read about a successful Japanese author who regularly spends a day just thinking, nothing else. But of course, he was a man!

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    • Wowsers! A whole day just to think?? Lol. I’m glad you found it familiar, June. It’s reassuring to know that even published and successful authors have the same problems. X

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  3. I suspect most of us recognise this! Don’t beat yourself up, you’re only human. We all the the best we can, well – almost!

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    • Always good to hear you’re not alone! Writing can be a lonely business and it’s easy to think that everyone else simply whizzes through their first draft. That’s why it’s so lovely to get feedback and encouragement from people like you. Thank you!

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  4. Oh Sharon I can definitely related to the avoidance tactics! And it’s so easy isn’t it once you log on to the computer to find yourself doing anything but writing.
    I know exactly what you mean about wondering if you can do it again. I had a real panic attack about it when I was away at the Writing Retreat. And what really helped was to know that all the other writers there felt exactly the same. My sister, who is not known for her pep talks or tact, said to me ages ago ‘what if you’re like Margaret Mitchell?’ And that’s the little voice at the back of my head. Although if you’d written Gone with the Wind then maybe you’re entitled to take the rest of your life off!
    I’m sure you can do it again. You’ve written a second book already and I’m sure that when they’re ready the characters for the third book will start telling you their stories. Just be gentle on yourself (and them) and it’ll come.
    Alys xx

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  5. You’re quite right, Alys. Now that you mention it I do remember feeling this way about Book Two. I had awful trouble getting into the story. It’s so funny how I’d forgotten that. Maybe I should re-read my blog posts from that time! 🙂 I keep thinking it was easy but of course it wasn’t. It will come to me eventually. I’m definitely no Margaret Mitchell but I’d be proud to have written just one novel if it was Gone with the Wind! *sigh* x

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  6. This is me!!! I find actually starting a novel so scary. Exactly as you said… what if I can’t do it again? I faff around for ages rather than bite the bullet and get stuck in. Why do you think I’m on here at 1130 in the morning, still in my jammies? – I’m a coward of the highest order! Good luck!

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  7. Aw thanks, Wendy! I’m in my pyjamas too and I’m at work at one! The good news is I’ve made a good start, in spite of losing 3000 words yesterday when Scrivener stopped working…:-( Have now written first five scenes and am feeling a little better. It’s a terrifying thing isn’t it? Thanks for dropping by and good luck with your writing x

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  8. You know what you need to do, don’t you? Just change your hero’s name to Benedict and you’ll be sorted! You’ll fall in love instantly and it will all suddenly be so easy 😉 There’s an annoying proverb which says “That which is written without effort is read without pleasure” or something and I know your book will be a delight when all is said and done – hence the hard work now xx

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    • Lol thanks Jay. Good idea! But then, Benedict is so firmly entrenched in my mind as my hero in Angel and I know who I’ve “cast” in book 3 and really like him and it’s still not working. I have to find the chink in his armour that will make me fall for him. I’ll do it somehow. Let’s face it, there are worse jobs! 😉

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