Writing a book isn’t an easy task. Finishing it, selling it, pitching it, or submitting it, feels just as insurmountable some days.
There are writers who never achieve such a milestone. Not because they didn’t want to—or try to—but because everything about writing is hard.
You’ve got to think of a story. Write it. Re-write it. Edit it. Re-write it. Allow someone you trust to read it. Re-write it. Send it to beta readers. Re-write it. Edit it again. Re-write it. Learn how to write. Re-write it. Have it assessed by a professional. Re-write it. Become an expert in plot structure. Re-write it. Learn deep POV. Re-write it. Send it on submission. Re-write it. Leave it to rest. Re-write it. Type “The End” for what you swear is the last time. Re-write it. Receive a rejection. Re-write it.
You would think all of that and the millionth re-write would keep your brain occupied. But no. A writer’s brain is always firing, creating plot points, character traits, and zingy dialogue. It’s also working through a multitude of questions, most of which go a little something like this…
- Did you blog this week? Should you start a blog?
- Did you write 1,000 words? Should you cut 500?
- Do you listen to the self-doubt. Do you agree with it?
- Do you take bad feedback to heart? Can you prove them wrong?
- Are you a writer? Are you a wannabe?
- Are you reading? Are you reviewing?
- Are you helping other writers? Are they helping you?
- Are you filling your days? Are you wasting your time?
- Do you give in? Do you keep moving forward?
- Do you put it in a drawer? Do you put it on a pedestal?
- Do you celebrate every little win? Do you punish yourself for every failure?
- Do you get a break? Will you ever get your big break?
- Are you doing all you can? Are you maximizing your time?
- Are these edits making your prose better? Are they making things worse?
- Is it worth it? Is it what you thought it would be?
- Are you skilled enough? Will you ever be skilled enough?
- Can you stick it out when the words won’t come? Is there a limit to how much rejection you can take?
- Does it make you happy? Will it always make you happy?
- Do you give up? Do you keep going?
- Are you doing enough? Will it ever be enough?
These questions you may ask yourself daily, or only once and then never again. They take up space with everything else you have to do and squeeze themselves in around the re-writes.
Some days they’re asked loud. Other times in a whisper. Will they ever be answered? Will they be replaced with new ones as you upgrade as a writer? That’s just more questions to add to a list that’s already past full.
Are you doing enough? Probably not. Are you doing what you can? If the answer is yes, then that’s good enough. It has to be because there’s no more room in your brain for anything else.
— K.M. Allan