To write or not to write

With just two weeks remaining in 2018, I’m taking stock of my life. I’m at a crossroads of sorts. I feel like I’ve floundered much of this year. I’ve lost sight of my purpose. I haven’t worked on my historical novel manuscript since June.

I’ve been a bit of a caregiver for my sister for the last six weeks since she had surgery. As she daily regains energy and feels more like herself, it becomes acutely clear to me the difference between a typical illness or surgery and a chronic illness.

I heard someone 20 years my senior recently lament her lack of energy after having surgery. Such comments as, “I just want my energy back” stuck in me like a dagger. A chronic illness robbed me of my energy in 1987. It never came back. Chances are it never will.

I’m taking stock this month. Do I have what it takes to write a novel? The desire is there, but it takes hundreds of hours of mental work to write a novel. I have worked on it off and on for more than a decade.

The pressure I’m putting on myself about writing that novel is just that – pressure that I’m putting on myself. I want something to show for my life. I want to see that book on the shelf, my name on the spine. But that’s not enough. That’s not the reason one should try to write a novel.

 In order to write a novel, a person has to have a fire in his or her soul, a passion for the story, the realization that they can’t not write the book. Pardon the double negative, but I’ve heard it expressed in those terms so many times. “I have to write because I can’t not write.”

There is a story in me that’s been trying to see the light of day for more than 10 years. Only time will tell if I have what it takes to put the words on paper and push it out the door.

Until my next blog post

I hope you have a good book to read.I just finished reading The Dream Daughter, by Diane Chamberlain. Unlike any of Ms. Chamberlain’s earlier novels, this one has to do with time travel. That came as a surprise to me. I like the idea of time travel, and Ms. Chamberlain did a great job with this story.

I was eager to start reading Jodi Picoult’s latest novel, A Spark of Light. The premise held promise and I thought if any writer could write a soul-searching novel about abortion, it would be Ms. Picoult. I was disappointed in the book. I think I would have liked it if it had been written in chronological order; however, it covers 11 hours, begins with hour number 10, and works its way backwards to hour number one, which is followed by hour number 11. The way the material was presented did not appeal to me. I was tempted to read the chapters in reverse order, but I wasn’t in the mood to do that after having started with the first chapter.

If you’re a writer, I hope you have quality writing time and the physical energy to reach your goals.

Thank you for reading my blog. You could have spent the last few minutes doing something else, but you chose to read my blog. I appreciate it! I welcome your comments.

I’ll try to write a more upbeat blog next week. When I started blogging more than seven years ago, the purpose of my blog was to share my journey as a writer. The journey has stalled recently, but maybe I’ll get my second wind in 2019.

Let’s continue the conversation.

Have you read A Spark of Light, by Jodi Picoult? What did you think of it? Did you find its being written “backwards” appealing or confusing? I have enjoyed every other Jodi Picoult book I’ve read, so I was surprised when I had no desire to read beyond the second chapter of this one. The book has gotten mixed reviews online.

If you’re a writer, what pulls you out of the pit of self-doubt when discouragement tries to overwhelm you?

Janet

27 thoughts on “To write or not to write

  1. Janet, you will find the energy to complete the book. I think the last quarter of every year is a complete write-off. January will light you anew. I haven’t read the book you’ve mentioned. I’m afraid I’ve started Proust’s “À la Recherche..” and I am not enamored. But as we’ve discussed before, I can’t not finish a book once I’ve started. My Proust might be like your novel. I might take a decade but I’ll finish. Happy holidays and bless you for caring for your sis. 💙

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  2. Hi Janet, I’ve felt like this many times in my life, usually when other events intrude and I’m feeling exhausted. I think the ‘fire in the belly’ saying is on the right track, but a little off centre. I think it’s more along the lines of what you want to say about a topic you really care about. It’s your perspective, and only you can say it. It’s satire, it’s insight, it’s a need to teach and/or be heard. It’s bigger than the topic – its your interpretation, something others need to hear, and only you can offer that. I’d love to offer you a magic pill to restore your desire to write, but hopefully that helps.

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  3. Thank you, Chris. I appreciate your insight from experience. I agree with what you’re saying. The desire is still there on some level. I just hope I can muster up the energy to get the writing done before I’m 110 years old.

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  4. Thank you so much, Alison. I am encouraged by your words. Maybe January will be the perfect time for me to “get back in the saddle” and get back on track with my novel — while I can still remember what it’s about. You’re braver than I am to tackle Proust. Happy holidays to you, too. And as far as caring for my sister, I am sure you would do the same for one of yours. Thanks again for commenting.

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  5. Laleh, my sister has taken care of me in many ways my entire life, so I was happy to get to take care of her. In addition to being sisters, we’re best friends. I am so blessed to have her in my life! I wish you the best in the new year as well. Perhaps the start of a new year is what I need to spark my energy for writing my novel. I’m doing some soul searching. I think I need to either commit myself to it or put it aside and go in another direction.

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  6. Thank you for your prayers and your encouraging words, Beverley. I believe that if it is God’s will for me to write that book, then He will give me the strength to do it. I will keep working on it.

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  7. I get the chronic only too well and have been forced to keep going anyway. Then I stumbled into writing. Yes you need energy, yes its hard when other things steal the little you have but writing gives such a sense of achievement. I am probably more tired than I have ever been in my entire life but I now have three books to show for it, the it being my ability to achieve. Would you like my book? I don’t know, will anyone, I don’t know that either but I do know I did the best I could and finished something I dreamed of. It makes a difference to how I view my life. I hope you have the opportunity to do the same.

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  8. Thank you so much for taking the time to write such a thoughtful comment. I take encouragement from your words and your experience. This desire to write that novel weighs on my mind every day. As long as that is true, I have no option but to write it. If it’s God’s will, He will give me the energy, etc. that I need to write it. I’m impatient to see the finished product, but I know I need to just take it a day at a time and take advantage of writing time any time I have it. Thank you again for your comments, and congratulations on getting three books written and published! Thank you for your well wishes.

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  9. Dear Janet, I certainly hope that your energy somehow returns or that you find some other way to solve your sad problem. I think perchance it’s possible to focus on your purpose so intently and hopefully that a miracle happens and the solution to one’s problems appears.

    Merry Christmas,
    David

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  10. That is odd as I too got ill in 1987.I struggled on and eventually after eye trouble I had to leave my job.I had undiagnosed thyroid disease.But it was 2002 before I got it treated.I used to knit wall hangings and plan journeys on maps.
    I find prose very tiring so poetrt suits me betterI like the music of it.Even if you never finish keep on writing as the process alters you.Many people waste their older years but you have something to do… keep writing 15 minutes a day.But caring takes energy so be patient and kind.Process not finishing is important
    I wish you the very best for the coming year.Follow your instinct and if you can get more blood tests etc
    I knitted for 12 years before I began writing…. so you never know! With love,Katherine

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  11. I’m so sorry you went so long without a diagnosis, Katherine. Diagnosed- and undiagnosed-maladies can change the course of our lives. It certainly altered my career path.

    I’ve never had any success or self-satisfaction in writing poetry. I admire those of you who have that talent and skill. I suppose I’m too long-winded (on paper, at least) to write verse. Also, I enjoy writing dialogue — lends itself more to prose.

    Thank you for your encouragement and suggestions. Perhaps if I can discipline myself to 15 minutes a day, I can gradually increase that time and get this novel finished. I fear my blog readers and friends are growing tired of hearing about it. Thanks so much! Love, Janet

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  12. I stumbled across this blog post today. I hope you have been able to pick up your manuscript again. Was going to suggest joining a local writing group (if you haven’t already) to share writing space with. I have found that to be very helpful for staying motivated, and other writers have given me the encouragement to stay with it. Best of luck!

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  13. Thanks for visiting my blog. I’m getting there. I’ve been working on it mentally and made some plot notes. Haven’t added any to the word count yet. I like your suggestion. I was in a great writing group for a number of years, but it disbanded when the founder died. The other two writing groups in my area meet at a time I cannot. Thank you for your words of encouragement and for taking the time to leave a comment. I feel better about my writing now than I did when I wrote that blog post.

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  14. Thank you, Vicki! It surely will because I cannot get the book idea out of my head. Thank you for your encouragement and for taking the time to read and comment on my blog post.

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