Wednesday, May 6, 2020

The Insecure Writer and Slogging My Way Through a Sequel

Today is May's contribution to Alex Cavanaugh's Insecure Writers Support Group.

What makes me an Insecure Writer this month?

Staring blankly at the early stages of my second novel and remembering just how much work it was to write the first one. 

Don't get me wrong. I am making progress on the sequel to the novel I finished (mostly) at the end of last year. But every time I sit down in front of the computer to write these days, I'm daunted by the number of words I need to write before the first draft is finished.

Three hundred pages may not have seemed so overwhelming back when I wrote the first book, but that book was written over the course of four to five years. That's works out to about 5 pages a month, a nice leisurely pace that allowed me to write when the muse took me, work at my day job, and still enjoy life. I wasn't worried about how long it might be before I typed "The End."

Fast forward to the present, when I no longer have a full-time day job, the COVID virus is giving me an excuse to stay home and write, and my goal is to finish the sequel in a year. Suddenly, writing an entire book all over again seems like an impossible task. My rough draft currently stands at eighty pages, which means I'm only a quarter of the way through. How did I ever manage to write three hundred pages the first time? 

Optional May 6 question: Do you have any rituals that you use when you need help getting into the ZONE? 

I find that showers are a good way for me to get into the zone. Thinking about a scene while in the shower not only brings it more to life, but the words to tell that story seem to flow out of me, as if I'm dictating the story to someone. The trick is to rush out of the shower as soon as I can so I can write the words down before I forget them.

Unfortunately, I can only take so many showers in a day, so my second ritual is to spend half an hour reading a book whose voice or genre is similar to mine. It puts me into a writing mindset, and once again, the words flow out of me that much easier when I put the book down. 

COVID family update. The family is finding new ways to keep themselves entertained during our self-imposed isolation. My wife has gotten into jigsaw puzzles. Even our cats are doing their part to help out.
My wife and our cat Smokey, arguing over the positioning of a puzzle piece.

Don't forget to visit the other co-hosts for this month. Feather Stone, Beverly Stowe McClure, Mary Aalgaard, and Kim Lajevardi.

Take care everyone, and stay safe!