My writing. *cue horrified gasp*
I have to say that this is probably the worst case of middle of the book blues I’ve had in my (almost) four years of writing. It was so bad that I, well…
I almost quit writing.
I’m sure you all understand middle of the book blues and how one gets so stuck and unmotivated. I mean, why do I really hide behind my computer every Saturday evening and spend hours trying to drag my weekly quota out of my fingers, only to hate it when I’m done? I could be doing something else, like reading or watching a movie with my family. Why do I bother when the writing fire’s gone and I have to struggle to write the book that – at the beginning – flowed off my fingers?
And then the lies come. I’m sure our inner editor* has told them to us all before. You can’t do this. This stinks. You’ll never make anything good out of this drivel. Why did you ever think you could do this? You were never cut out for this. And that’s when it’s time to take a step back and evaluate things.
Why do I do this?
I found I had a number of reasons. Firstly, because the ideas won’t leave me alone if I don’t. I’m sure you’re thinking, “But if you didn’t write, you wouldn’t have ideas.” Nope. I’ve been having ideas since I was a child. Maybe I wouldn’t have one every second Thursday, but they’d always be there. Bothering me. Poking me.
Secondly, and most importantly, those ideas aren’t clever things my brain made up. God gave them to me for a reason. He’s given me stories that need to be told, themes that need to be addressed. If He’s given these to me, how can I shove them aside and refuse to do anything about them?
Thirdly, I do enjoy it, regardless of what I tell myself when I’m the throes of middle of the book blues. There’s nothing quite like the thrill of seeing characters come to life under your fingertips, nothing quite like typing out the climax you’ve been waiting so long to write. There’s nothing quite like expressing yourself in this art, in making pictures, scenes, tales with your words.
And so I write.
But I have a different perspective now.
I’m sure you know how it is when you think, “Okay, God. I’ve learned this lesson now.” It sometimes seems like He raises his eyebrows and replies, “Oh, really?” And then something else happens, and you see you haven’t learned it at all. For me, this was the lesson of surrendering my writing to him. Sure, I gave him The Masked Bird. And I thought that was that. But then I look at my other novels and novel seeds, and I have to ask myself, have I given Him that too? And He holds out His hand, waiting for The King’s Bluff and all the others. They’re His ideas, His books, not mine. I need to write them for Him. Not for me, not for my readers, but for Him.
The other area where my perspective has changed is publishing. You may have noticed it didn’t appear on my list of why I write. I’ve always wanted to be published. No matter what I was writing, I wanted to publish it someday. But you know, now I really don’t care. I don’t plan to look for publishing, at this point. I’m going to write what God has given me, make it as lovely as I can, but I don’t plan to publish. Not traditional, not self-publishing, not anything. If the time comes in which it seems to be God’s will for me to publish, then I won’t say no. But for now – for now I write. I want to focus on just doing the best I can, crafting the greatest story that I am capable of, rather than constantly looking at what I’ve written and seeing how not publishing-worthy it really is.
And so I write.
*Some people name their inner editors. I do not. I cannot name plants, computers, cameras, or the like, let alone inner editors. So, you’ll have to put up with my lack of imagination.
Stock photo by Elisa XYZ