Lost: writing willpower. I blame Warnie

I have the first draft of the first book I started in late 2010, just after we moved into our new house (yes the house we’ve now just sold – I get itchy feet easy). That draft needs a lot of work, but I thought that I’d find it easy to move into new versions of that book after I’d finished His Brand Of Beautiful.

Oh I wish it had all proved that simple.

I have really struggled to get invested again in this first book, called Fringe Benefits and I don’t know what the problem is. Everything I’ve read talks about starting your next book while the first one is in whatever stage it’s in, e.g. finished, on the query train, on a shelf (or computer folder), or in that hoped-for state called publication

I’m lucky that His Brand Of Beautiful has now been accepted by a publisher, but since I finished the book I’ve found myself in this dreadful limbo. I’m procrastinating my butt off when I feel like I should be working. Either writing the new story, or promoting HBOB (or myself, somehow).

I’m checking Facebook a zillion times a day. Every time I think I’ll just sit down to write… I make a coffee instead (Nespresso makes good coffee way too easy). I’m reading blogs. I watched just about every ball bowled in the South African/Australian cricket test series. I’m watching movies, including one piece of idiocy last night called “Kill List” that if you ever see in a store, do yourself a favor and pass it by. I didn’t get to the end but hubby did out of sheer bloody-mindedness because he was the one who picked it out. See – case in point – I’m even procrastinating and digressing within my own darn blog. Movie reviewer!? Please!

When the stories broke about Warnie returning to test cricket… I read every word, every comment. I’m stalking Warnie on Twitter. It would be SO great if he came out of retirement… for the rest of my life I will think he left the game too early.

Wise heads who I’ve met recently had this to say:

“The one thing I always say to ‘newbie’ authors and some ‘oldies’ that just don’t get it is the best promo you can do for your book is release the next one. Backlist is gold. The more books you have the more money you’ll earn.”

She is so very right and I’m trying. I want to keep writing…

There’s been a lot going on, (cue the excuses) we sold our house, we’re moving interstate etc. My youngest son is now 3. When I first started writing he used to have two-hour naps during the day, which he’s since thrown and so I’ve lost what used to be my most productive writing time. I don’t feel like waiting until the kids are in bed to write. I feel freshest during the day.

Still, I think there’s light at the end of my procrastination tunnel. In the end, I found that light by getting out the laptop, pulling up the old story, and making myself read it and write, even though I didn’t really feel in the mood. Wednesday night. Thursday (day and night) and this morning, I’ve been at it. And gradually the muse is returning along with the words.

I think part of my reason for procrastination, if I’m honest, is a return of that mother guilt I struggled (and struggle) so much with. I know now how much of my time His Brand Of Beautiful consumed for 18 months.

I know what that meant for my family, and I’ve been reluctant to ‘go there’ again, because that means a return to the feeling that I’m not giving enough or doing enough with the kids (and school holidays are coming up…)

Writing is such a selfish thing to choose to do. I think a psychologist would say I need to give myself permission to be selfish again… (but Freud, I ain’t. I’m not even Freud’s toe-nail.)

In the meantime, when I was procrastinating, I found these great quotes on the Goodreads site about procrastination and I thought I’d share.

“Never put off until tomorrow what you can do the day after tomorrow.” Mark Twain.

“You can’t just turn on creativity like a faucet. You have to be in the right mood. What mood is that? Last-minute panic.” Bill Watterson. (I like this one – I identify with it!)

“Only put off until tomorrow what you are willing to die having left undone.” Pablo Picasso. (Now that’s a little intense!)


4 thoughts on “Lost: writing willpower. I blame Warnie”

  1. Lily, you are too hard on yourself!! Bask in the glory! Enjoy your transition to an new house, a new life. You need to acknowledge your efforts, savor them before jumping in again. It might be a selfish career in some ways, but it is also a lonely one with very little feedback, so enjoy it! Give yourself till the school year starts off. Go on, you deserve it. Think of it as brainstorming time – writers can write in their own head too surely?? And isn’t having a life part of being a writer?

    Ps I am enjoying reading your experiences, living vicariously through your publishing experience! All the best with it!

    1. Hi Kylie
      Thanks for the encouragement! I actually feel like I’ve written this post having got ‘over’ the willpower hump… I mentioned that I had light at the end of the tunnel, and it feels true. I’ve had three good days in a row and I’m almost first chapter revision down. So I’m feeling brighter than I was.
      I’m glad you’re enjoying the posts, it’s great to get that feedback. I like having a blog which is a bit weird in a way. I was never the ‘diary’ type.

  2. You can’t just turn on creativity like a faucet. You have to be in the right mood. What mood is that? Last-minute panic.” Bill Watterson.

    ha – this is sooo me! I need a deadline to complete anything so I can do it at the last minute 🙂 I’ve done it ever since school!

    1. I liked that quote too, Kerrie! I always had this saying that ‘deadlines were like elastic bands’… I never quite knew if I meant you could stretch them out forever, or more like they’ll stretch and stretch and then one day, they just darn break.

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