Thursday, July 10, 2014

Neil Gaiman's Thoughts on The Writer vs. The Blank Sheet of Paper

I've been fighting this week. And it hasn't been pleasant. Fights never are---at least not for me.

Who have I been fighting with? My story.

I'm currently at around 107K. I'm shooting for 160K. And I'm stuck. I'm in a battle with this story in my head. I know what needs to happen, yet for the past several days, every time I sit down, I've got nothing. No fire. No steam. No words. Emptiness.

The blank sheet of paper is winning.

But it won't win forever. I will continue to fight. I will find my muse again. And Neil Gaiman's prediction about the blank paper winning will fly out the window as I cover those pages with another 53K. I will be triumphant. I must. Because I am a writer.

Have you ever had days, weeks, or even months where the blank sheet of paper won?


15 comments:

  1. Oh, yes. There are some days when i can think of absolutely NOTHING. (Sadly, lots of those days have been happening lately)

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    1. To me too, Emily. I had to sit myself down yesterday and force myself to write. And I did it. If I do that every day, I'll find my stride again.

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  2. Sometimes it gets so bad that by the time I'm ready to write again there is no fire left inside of me to finish my book and I have to start over. It is a horrible habit, but this time, I'm NOT going to let that happen.

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    1. Gah! Fight that one! Getting to the end of a book--even if the draft is terrible--is one of the best things ever! You can do it!

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  3. Yes. I'm sure every single one of us has. But the question is, does it win for good? I, for one, am not going to let the page win forever. We will conquer!

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    1. Hooray! *charges the paper with fists raised*

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  4. Oh yes, the blank screen has beaten me down more times than I'd like to remember. Lately, it's been partly because life has been overwhelming which made it hard to scrape together any writing time. Plus, I've been waffling between which story to jump back into. But -- I've made my decision and am ready to pick up again. The blankness has won some battles, but I will win the war! :-)

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    1. Yes! You go, Leigh! Way to get back to it. :-)

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  5. Right now actually. I know exactly what I want to happen but I can't seem to write it right. I've been at the same point for months now but I'm determined that it's not going to beat me! I will finish this book if it kills me! :) :) :)

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    1. You can do it! It took me a week to finish one scene, but things are starting to move along again. I just had to set my mind to it and not make one more excuse.

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  6. Unfortunately. (Ånd they seem to be the days I have time, too. Grr.) But I will conquer that dead tree! I will keep fighting that smothering page until I suffocate! I will go at it with scissors and multitudes of atrocious metaphors...

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  7. I'm finding it hard to concentrate on the project I should be working on. I'm in the middle of edits for a book I finished six months ago and realizing how much I've learned in that time. In the meantime, ideas for new books are constantly popping up and I really want to work on them instead of filing them away for another day.

    160k is a big goal. I was at 115k but have edited down about 8000 words. I read that anything over 110k is considered an epic but according to the editor I read, most books aren't true epics, just badly edited books. Mine definitely comes under the latter.

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    1. I know how that feels. The current WIP is so temperamental and troublesome. But the new idea is all fun and new and isn't causing any problems yet. But if you started writing the new idea, at some point it would start causing problems too. So stick with that trouble book until you finish! You can do it!

      Yes, 160K is big. These book are bigger than anything I've ever done. They are true epic fantasy. And, sadly, book one is on track to be even longer than 160K, which means I will have to edit and cut A LOT! It kind of scares me. But at least I have a long time to finish it. No rushing the deadline this time. I find that the more time I have to work on a project, the better. So don't rush yourself. Take your time and it will get there!

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  8. I find that when I can't even sit and write it's because I'm, burn out. so normally I take some days off writing (sometimes has been more than one month). Then, the will - no, I'd say the need - to write comes back by itself and it's fantastic :-)

    The book I'm revising now used to be 130k long, but I'm editing a lot out of it. I find that revising gives me a lot of reasons to cut little parts, sometimes entire scenes, and the story always comes out of it stronger.

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