Dangers and Pitfalls

Many dangers and pitfalls lurk unseen, which can stop you starting, and finishing, the writing of a book:

  • writer’s block
  • the curse of the soggy middle
  • the ‘I’m still editing’ excuse
  • the inability to edit a word count down to a manageable total
  • being self-conscious
  • becoming obsessed with details….
  • fear of success

In this next series of articles, I’ll be looking at some of the myths and legends of writing, starting with the one that we most often use to put ourselves off making that all-important beginning: Oh, I would love to write a book – and I’d be a good writer too – but I simply haven’t got the time. Once I started writing, I would never stop, and I have so much else to do, so many other (meaning, other more important) things to do.

What this excuse means is, simply, that the would-be brilliant author cannot spare the time to even contemplate beginning. I know – I took a crash course in procrastination and the art of putting things off. We will do anything, it seems – wash the curtains, take hubby’s jacket to the dry cleaners, groom the cat, shop for socks for hubby – rather than sit down and write. Even though writing is what we most want to do, and what our heart yearns for. Contrary, or what?

The fact is, no-one can write our books for us. Other people can wash the curtains, take their own jacket to the dry cleaners, buy their own socks, and rejoice in the knowledge that their well-meaning other half is not, this time, going to buy them horrible legwear creations in the wrong colours and sizes which they will have to pretend to like, and wear, for fear of otherwise causing offence.

The one, single, solitary thing that other people can’t do for us, is write our books. (Ghost writers’ excepted. They spend hours listening to conversations, recording and making notes, I assume.) I am surmising that in this commercially driven culture, it is held against writers that we cannot pick up the results of our three hour labours and wave them around saying, ‘See what I did today?’ The results of our time spent are often intangible. Artists have canvasses, singers can trill beautifully while hoovering the carpets, potters can sell their pots, or have them on display.

The only time an author gets to do that, when and if their book is finally published, the likely response from some will be, ‘Great!! Fabulous!! Well done. Er…. Is that it? One book? Is that all you’ve got to show for four year’s hard labour?’

It’s no wonder we put off making a start. But unless we do, our dreams will stay firmly in our heads, where no-one can discover them.




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