Never going to write a book

Writer’s life is full of setbacks, self-doubt and almost giving up. Especially when we haven’t yet published anything or when no one has yet given us the appreciation we wait so keenly. Maybe I’m not good enough? Heck, I can’t even finish one book so how could this work? I’m never going to write that book inside my brains. My words just aren’t coming out.

Life as a writer seems like a dream impossible to achieve. Even after you earn money full time from writing, it won’t get better. At least not right away. I made money from my writings for first a little over a year ago. Right now I’m starting my own business for my writing work. Soon I will be a full-time writer who earns enough money to maintain writer’s lifestyle. Dream. At any moment I will wake up, realize it won’t work out and then I just give up. No writing for me.

I can’t even finish one book so how could writing be my thing.

A few hundred pages, an average of ten to twenty important characters and the story that is already in your mind. The words just won’t come out. My white paper doesn’t stay white but that doesn’t mean you could see any words. The lines are empty while colorful patterns appear from my pen to the corners of the paper. For me, doodling is the way not to write. For others, it’s cleaning, working in office, sleeping, reading, anything. Anything if we don’t have to start writing the book we have always wanted to write.

Just one book. I want to write just one amazingly interesting book that will change the world. Something for others to read. Something to leave behind me in this world. Just one story written in my doodled papers.

“Being a writer all boils down to this: It’s you, in a chair, staring at a page. And you’re either going to stay in that chair until words are written, or you’re going to give up and walk away.”
– Alessandra Torre

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And I write about love

I think I have been in love once in my life. You know when your heart beats too fast in their company, every thought just comes back to that one person and nothing can stop you from writing a million love poems for no one to read. I have been in love but the two of us never dated. I was too shy to share my feelings and nothing never came out of it. Later on, I have been asked on dates for a few occasions but nothing has never come out of it.

Can you see my problem?

How can one write about love, romance and the difficulties of dating without any prior experience? Could someone maybe write authors’ guide to love and dating for those who suck at the feelings and the cliches? Just saying that guides like that would be really useful for us who have gotten all their proper dating knowledge from books, movies, and TV series.

It’s hard to write about love. And not only for the big elephant in this room aka me not having any experience. It’s difficult because I always return to the feelings I have had, romances that might have happened and stories that I wish were my own. At first, this may sound okay. If the feelings are my own, the stories will seem more authentic. There are two reasons why I struggle with this.

My stories are repeating again and again. Liking your friend, snarky comments between the two protagonists, hidden feelings, and either super sad or overly sappy ending. The characters I write and who fall in love follow always the same pattern. I write perfect fairytale love interests who are badass, look cool, have a heart bigger than most people and are ready to change their life for the protagonist. It sounds good but after you have drawers full of similar perfect boys it gets boring.

The second problem has more to do with the fact that I don’t have enough experience of a real-world dating. Do you know how hard it’s to write a movie theater date knowing you have never done it yourself? I can do the writing part – mostly because I’m a romantic soul who has read too many romance novels – but at the same time I feel like a fraud. You could compare it to being a lawyer without ever studying law. Or at least in my head, you can.

I’m struggling and still, the worst thing is that this all is just in my head. Yep. The first (or hundredth) rule of trying to be a full-time writer: It’s all in your head. My mind is stuck to the memories I have. If I just got over them, writing anything else would be possible. Being fraud is just one of the clever ways my mind tries to make me stop writing. After starting my studies towards a creative writing university degree I have met a lot of writers. One thing seems to be common with most of us. We all feel like frauds who just try to write.

Someday I’m going to write a real romance but before that happens… Could anyone share with me how it feels to kiss in rain? No? Okay, what about fighting about missing toothbrushes or disappearing chocolate bars? Even as single I don’t exactly grave for romance but having real knowledge of these things would be really helpful while writing!

“It’s still two human beings trying to get along, so it’s going to be complicated. And love is always complicated. But humans must try to love each other, darling. We must get our hearts broken sometimes. This is a good sign, having a broken heart. It means we have tried for something.”
– Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat, Pray, Love

Deceitful writing inspiration

We’re all looking for inspiration. We listen to the conversations strangers have behind us in a bus and we keep glancing longingly the couple living in their own world next to us in that small cafe we escape to write. Inspiration. So many ways to find it, so many ways to use it. And still, during the most radical moment, there is nothing. No inspiration, no ideas, no memories of those soothing moments of collecting new stories. 

When you open my computer, it’s easy to identify me as a writer (or crazy delusional collector). My bookmarks are like an endless maze of folders after folders. Some named reasonably like “romance”, “scary” and “villains” while some just won’t make sense for anyone else expect me “umbrellas”, “kill my heart”, “flower field boys” and “cats with wings”. I keep saving new tabs every day because the idea has been for years to print some of the photos and texts saved in my maze of writing inspiration. After that, I could easily make stories using them. Guess how often I do this printing… Never.

Inspiration.

The word alone sounds something magical. If you have the inspiration to write, you will have all the possibilities ahead of you. I dare to claim this as a lie. Inspiration is a good tool for everyone who wants to write but it’s also one of the biggest traps set for us. Those who cling to inspiration for their dear life will never get anything done. They will never finish any written work. Inspiration is intoxicating and perfect. It keeps your head in the clouds but won’t let your feet touch the ground and that’s the problem.

Writing is a hard work. It takes time, willpower and everything you are ready to give for it. If you are not careful (or if you are ready to lose yourself), writing can take your whole life from you. And so keeping your feet on the ground is essential for being a writer. If you start daydreaming about new stories or someday publishing your own book while staring the white paper and pen waiting for you on the table, you never get anywhere. You will never start writing.

Inspiration is like a shovel in writer’s hand. You can build amazing castles, cities and fantasy lands with it. If you keep shoveling to the same pile over and over again, these worlds will keep growing towards a full-length story. But without a plan and determination to build that one amazing fantasy land, this shovel of writing inspiration will be your curse. You can shovel quicker than when throwing every idea into the same pile but in the end, you won’t build anything. You will just dig deeper and deeper hole for yourself trying to find new ideas all the time. Pick one idea, give your everything for it.

I’m too familiar with the curse called inspiration. I love searching for new photos and quotes to add my collection of inspiration. Then I start a new project so excitedly and thinking “This is it! I have finally found my story.”  just to give up writing it after a few pages. I find something more exciting, more interesting and above all more inspiring.

One of the most popular reasons people don’t write is because they don’t have the inspiration right now. They can’t write because they aren’t inspired to do it. If you wait for the right moment and that never-ending inspiration, you will never write more than a few pages. You have to force yourself. It will suck. You will be in pain staring that white paper screaming at you to just give up, just to continue tomorrow, next week or maybe never. The inspiration will never strike at the right time. You will be on the busy morning bus going to work or having fun with your friends on movies.

“I will write this down when I get back to home. Tonight I will keep writing because I finally have inspiration.” And then you go home hours later but like always your mind is as blank as the paper.

This has been the hardest lesson for me to learn about writing and being a writer. I’m still trying to find the right way to beat this. The right way to tame my inspiration. But telling everyone to just pick that one story is a lot easier said than done. My inspiration is fighting back and trying to lure me into the wrong paths.

Is your inspiration as badass, distracting and evil as mine? Or am I the only writer who struggles to live with this thing called too huge imagination. Shouldn’t it be my biggest asset as a writer not that never-ending barrier between me and my dreams? 

“I dream my painting and I paint my dream.”
– Vincent van Gogh