Confession: I’ve Been Struggling

I’ve Been Struggling

For the last two months, you’ve probably noticed a theme in my blog posts: finding momentum.

I’ve been dragging-tail, binge watching TV, my lofty goals have all fallen by the wayside, discarded like empty candy wrappers.

I knew writing was hard, I knew it takes skill, timing, and luck to get anywhere in this business, but I just knew if I got my story just-right, it would be fine. Someone, somewhere would like it.

My vague plans when I first started this journey were: query for a year, if I had no takers, just self-publish. I never realized how much one could edit. I didn’t realize that every rejection would have me look at my novel with a more critical eye, and find things to fix, to polish, to shine.

It’s a learning process, I’ve been telling myself.

I never looked at my book and thought: This Is Shit.

I’ve thought mine was a decent ‘popcorn’ book and I wanted it to be stronger. I knew I could make it better and I wasn’t afraid to ask for help.

But last week?

Last week, I had the thought: what happens if I just stop.

No one’s making me write, or edit, or revise. No one would be mad at me. They might be disappointed, but more disappointed FOR me, than IN me.

What would happen if I let the dream die?

The thought crept in, like the story of the monster on the roof of the car, scratching his way in, one scrape of his nails at a time. I’d felt the doubt pressing in, but I wasn’t ready for this thought.

The thought hit me like a punch to the gut–I felt queasy. I wanted to slam the door shut and pretend I never saw the thought.

What if just thinking it jinxed me?

The thought of just walking away bothered me. If I walked away, all of my work would have been for nothing.

No matter how many times I try, I haven’t failed unless I give up.

The stars themselves fought and aligned and gave me a empty weekend: free of friends, family, or obligations.

I wasn’t ready to give up. I shoved my way through “reading” my own manuscript. In 3 days, I read over 150 pages and made notes, unlike any I’d given myself before–notes of Morgan: the reader, not Morgan: the writer. (I even read a book or 2 for fun, in the middle of that.)

Sunday afternoon? I wandered over to the Panera where my local CampNano group was writing, opened up my draft, and started making changes.

I’m making progress again, and it’s very good for my writing emotional-state.

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17 thoughts on “Confession: I’ve Been Struggling

  1. Wow. I actually had thoughts like these last night. What if I just stopped? What if I decided to do something else other than write? I’ve been working on this novel for so long and can’t seem to finish it. Maybe I’m actually not a writer after all. The morning has brought happier thoughts to me, but it’s comforting to know I’m not alone!

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  2. I think we’ve all been here. I really struggled deciding to self-publish because, just like you, every time I got a rejection on my manuscript, or someone else read, it, or I re-read, I found more to change. I wondered if it was even worth it if I didn’t go the traditional route, because I didn’t want to put out a book that wasn’t ‘good enough’ for the traditional industry. How was I supposed to know when it was really good enough without an agent and a fancy New York editor, right?

    I guess the point is, there’ll always be something to change (I just finished my fourth draft), and you’ll know when it’s good enough—when you’ve made it the best it can be. Then an agent will snatch it up, or you’ll work with a freelance editor who will polish it and make it shine even brighter. The struggle for writers is real, and the important thing is for us to keep working, and continue supporting each other. I’m glad to hear you’re making progress.

    Good luck with your forward momentum!

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  3. Takes a lot of courage and bravery to be an artist! But that’s was makes it worthwhile. Anytime I’m in existential doubt like that, I remember that line from the movie Field of Dreams, “if you built it, they will come.” You can do it.

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  4. Don’t give up, Morgan. We’ve all been there where that ugly monster stares at us, wanting to make us stop. Yet we can’t: we’re writers. We’ll write even if we think we’ve stopped: writing is living. So when you need it, take a break (the spiders have moved in since you’ve last dusted) and get back to writing when you’re ready.

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  5. I have been self-publishing for years. That doesn’t mean I’ve been able to turn a profit or get much in the way of royalties. I just do it because I can’t not do it, if that makes sense. If you’re a writer, it’s just who you are and what you do. Making money off of it though is the challenge. However, I’m a poet at heart, so I imagine that fiction writers can turn a better profit.

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  6. I go through this about once a week. I’ve been writing with the intention of professional publication since I was about 13, but my impetus to write doesn’t actually support the supposition that I could actually ever make a living doing it like I originally intended to.

    The primary reason that I never entirely give up on the dream is that I’ve put nearly 30 years into this endeavor and frankly the waste of time, effort and money in abandoning my efforts just will not stand. At least if I keep writing, even if I’m never actually published, I know that I kept trying; not giving up holds more weight than not succeeding.

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  7. Good for you. I know how you feel, the moment of clarity when you think ‘why would anyone care if I never wrote another word’, but I think you have to remember why you probably started writing in the first place and why you love it – it’s for you. And if it’s for you and it’s true, other people will want to read it too. Good luck with it all 🙂

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