Joanna Campbell Slan has moved, searching new blog...

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Am I on the Right (Write) Track?

With the new year, a lot of us are back to work. For many of my friends, that means back to writing.

I've been fielding questions about the process. One friend wrote me to say she's wondering, “Am I on the right track? Can you tell me whether I should write this or something else?”

No author ever knows if she/he is on the right track. We all feel “at sea.” In fact, as you get into the writing of your book, it will get worse before it gets better. Yep. My friends call it the “oh, crap” moment, and even New York Times bestselling authors report to me that they have it, too.

Which is a long way of saying, this is normal.

The trick is to believe in your project despite those internal voices which say, “Argh! Why did I ever think this was a good idea? I should give up and write something else! Anything else! This is dumb! It will never sell! No one will want to read it but me! I’m wasting my time!”

Sound familiar? You see, that nasty chorus is why most people never finish writing their book. Most people—USA Today says 85% of all Americans want to write a book—will give in to those voices. They’ll stop somewhere short of the finish line.

Which is the ultimate mistake because it is by seeing the project through, by writing an entire book start to finish, by typing in the words THE END that we learn the most about ourselves and about writing.

In another email, I will tackle the differences between giving up and choosing to self-publish. I will tackle them honestly because I think there’s a lot of bad information and misunderstandings about the two choices. Stay tuned!


RhondaL said...

I've got one major sidelined project, and my current WIP is taking me five years and counting.

One thing that's helping me is taking story craft classes, like from Mary Buckham and now Kris Neri. They help me move through the stall-outs better.

But it's too easy to just walk away.

Joanna Campbell Slan said...

Mary Buckham is terrific. A very, very dedicated and giving teacher, and a savvy, astute reader. Don't give up!