Writing a Book

 

I am – heaven help me – writing a book about Shaw. I finally caved in and decided it was easier to start writing than to put up with visits from the ghost of Shaw at all hours of the night.

Today I’m going to talk about what it’s like to tackle a project like this one. Of course every writer has different issues! What I’m hoping is that you’ll get a glimpse of the quirks that authors have to deal with – and you’ll be patient and forgiving with your own odd habits.

One unexpected difficulty has been deciding how much my Interior Writer can reasonably demand from me. It’s hard to describe what this means, but it is a very real problem.

I’m going to make an analogy with dancing. I am a serious (that’s an understatement!) ballroom dancer. I go to dance classes and show up for lessons even when I’m broke, I’m tired, don’t feel like it, don’t have time, or come up with some other excuse. There are exceptions, but not many.

My Interior Dancer is a hard taskmaster, but there’s one thing about my dancing life that I really appreciate: the requirements are predictable. When I get home and put away my dance togs, I’m done (until the next class or lesson rolls around).

But how do I convince Interior Writer that I really am trying hard, and I’ve done enough for the day, and can I please stretch out on the bed and read a novel? Later, when the book is well underway, Interior Writer will decide that everything is under control, and she’ll leave me alone. But so far she has been relentless and annoying.

Problem number two is that Interior Writer doesn’t think I can write a book about Shaw. It doesn’t matter that I’ve already written one book about Shaw, and it was a success.

So when I sit down to write – heck, before I sit down to write – there’s this unpleasant chatter in my head about how stupid I am, my ideas aren’t going to work, I don’t know what I’m talking about, I’m a lousy writer…you get the idea.

I have a secret theory that Interior Writer is like a hypercritical parent or coach who keeps yelling at you in order to make you try harder and do better. I wish I could convince her that I don’t need that kind of help – thank you very much – and I’d appreciate it if she’d find someone else to annoy. But I haven’t had any luck with that so far.

Hey! Do you want to write a book? It’s fun!

 

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