Writing struggles + sharing = writing solution?

problemIt’s been no secret that I’ve been struggling with my writing of late. Motivation has been low, enthusiasm weak and my faith in my abilities has been questioned on a routine basis. Yet, being able to share my difficulties and write about them here has transformed my problem into a solution. After realising I needed a break from my current Work In Progress and being able to admit that to myself in my ‘When writing your novel is like trying to coerce a cat into a bath…‘ post, something changed. I began to allow myself to simply write the story as it occurred to me, not concerning myself with the previous version and just let the words flow.

As a result, I’ve now written the next three chapters – bringing me to the end of the first section in my novel. They’re not the best of chapters, but they are certainly better than the ones I had originally. My writing has improved over the last three years, I do understand my characters and their motivations in more detail and, surprisingly, I feel able to deal with the new material with a little bit more objectivity than I thought I might.

Whilst writing, I discovered that two characters I had previously thought would not seen one another for twenty years were actually in more regular contact. This interferes with my original plot. However, I now have enough distance and experience to know that I need to make this newer version work: the reasoning behind their contact makes much more sense than being estranged for twenty years. It also creates a lot more tension and will provide a stronger climax moment when a big secret is revealed.

Without knowing it, my muse is taking control of the plot and guiding me in the right direction – a direction I can now appreciate adds additional flair and intrigue to my original novel concept. My mind is taking what I have learnt over the past three years and is putting it into practice. Outwardly, I just haven’t caught up yet.

Having a place where I can confess my fears, analyse my feelings and logically arrive at conclusions regarding my writing life helps with this process. Just by admitting I was struggling and acknowledging I needed a break – that I understood my enthusiasm was flagging because of external factors and an element of repetitive strain – gave me the mental freedom to put those frustrations aside and move forward. And now I feel that I’m back on track; capable of completing those first five chapters that I wanted to finish before April to a standard I’ll be happy with.


What helps you refocus and move on when you’ve been having a tough time with your writing? Do you think that airing out your thoughts is a useful process to help us move past that which might be bothering us?
Let me know in comments, or (as usual) Tweet me.


7 responses to “Writing struggles + sharing = writing solution?

  1. Delighted to see that your Muse has benefited from being allowed to find their own route. They seem to like it that way. I absolutely definitely agree that having a place to ponder, theorise, engage and rant has been a massive help to me in moving on past the challenges of writing. The support of the writer/blogger community is such an important element for us all.

  2. Another interesting post, Cat. I’m pleased to hear that you are back on track and I’m sure that identifying your problem, voicing your doubts and sharing them in your post has contributed to that. Good luck!

  3. Sometimes it’s hard to admit that you need to re-work something, as you want it to flow out and be perfect the first time around, and re-writing or editing scenes can be really difficult. I’ve been doing that this week as I drive on towards finishing the editing of the first of my new trilogy (yes, trilogy) From the Sky. It feels like a right mess when you’re plodding through, but when you look back at it you can see the improvements and put the final tidying bits in. I put it off so long that I spent months thinking about the characters, their lives and pasts, and their motivations. It was a good thing too, because I had a chance to research things and fully form the characters in my mind. Which, in turn, benefits the plot and the reader immeasurably. I hope 😉

    Keep plugging away…the end will come eventually!

    • Thank you!
      Mostly I’m just sharing my own experience, but it’s always great to know that others might benefit from it! 🙂

      • I think sharing our experiences can be extremely beneficial, because it often turns out that the feelings and doubts that sometimes affect us are universal. And I find it useful seeing how others deal with these issues.

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