One would think that someone who famously suffers from abandonment issues would never turn his back on anyone, Modern Philosophers.
However, I’ve done exactly that to the characters in my novel.
I have not written a single word of that story in months. Hell, I haven’t even opened up the file on the laptop, or given the project a moment of my time.
For those of you not familiar with this endeavor, a writer friend convinced me to turn the blog’s Halloween short story into a full length novel.
I really dove into the project when I was furloughed at the start of the pandemic, and even when I returned to work, I was on such a creative roll that I found the time to keep going.
Once I hit Chapter 15, though, I hit a wall.
I got about halfway through the chapter and just couldn’t go any further. At first, I blamed it on my bizarre writing process.
And by “bizarre writing process” I mean the fact that I write without an outline, rarely have any idea where a story is headed, and simply rely on the characters to take me on a journey that I agree to properly punctuate.
I might have written myself into a corner, but it wasn’t like I couldn’t work my way out of it. All it would normally take is my going for a long run, and allowing the story to marinade in my head as I pounded out the miles.
For some reason, though, it just wouldn’t come to me.
It was like the characters had abandoned me, and refused to tell me what happened next.
I considered deleting the chapter and starting from scratch, but I couldn’t bring myself to eliminate a part of the characters’ lives. Who was I to play god? What if the exchanges that took place in those pages meant something to the characters? How could I simply erase that moments from existence?
I know what you’re thinking. I’ve totally lost it. But when you’re a writer, you bond with your characters. They are a part of you. It’s difficult to slash entire sections of a story after allowing the characters to accept that they were a part of their lives.
But I think there was something going on beyond this little bit of writer’s block. After all, I can write my way out of any roadblock.
This was a deeper problem.
For one, they story is about two people who meet on Halloween, and then slowly fall for each other over the course of the holiday season.
This is exactly the sort of thing I’ve always wanted to happen to me, but I’m clearly cursed to be single for the rest of my life.
So as the holiday season unfolded, and I was once again, hopelessly alone, I couldn’t bring myself to write about two people falling in love during the very same time period.
Maybe more importantly, I think I became overwhelmed with thoughts of future failure. I know nothing about writing a novel or getting one published. Here I was, pouring my heart and soul into a project, and I had this gnawing thought at the back of my brain that all the effort would go for naught.
I’d finish a brilliant story, but then not be able to do anything with it. These characters, who thought they were just going to live in a blog post for the rest of their lives, suddenly believed they were going to exist in a novel where they would entertain a much larger audience.
I had gotten up my hopes based on feedback from the select few who were allowed to read the early chapters.
And I just didn’t want to deal with that disappointment. Not after all the near misses and heartbreak in my writing career.
So I think I’ve abandoned my characters out of fear that I’d only make them more miserable when I failed to figure out how to get their story out to the masses.
I’d like to go back to writing the novel. I never feel better than when I’m lost in my stories.
I just don’t want to waste my time creating something I want the world to read, and then not be able to get that story out to an audience.
Maybe self-publishing is an option, but I know nothing about that world. I’d love to have an agent or manager who could handle such things, but I have no representation.
I’ve always hoped a publisher or agent would stumble across my blog, and reach out to me, but that has never happened despite over a million views.
Writing has always been therapeutic, so I thought I’d put this jumbled mess of thoughts down on the blog, send them out into the internet, and see what happens.
I really don’t want to give up on this novel, but the logical part of my brain insists that it’s all a waste of time since it will never go any further than my laptop.
I miss the characters, I miss the story they’re trying to tell me, and I miss the escape I’ve found in the novel’s pages.
I’m open to your infinite wisdom, Modern Philosophers, so please share any deep thoughts or opinions on the matter. It would be greatly appreciated…
When the pandemic hit, I noticed I was stressed to the point of being frozen in my writing. But, once Biden was elected, I got back into my writing groove. One thing that really helped me is early in 2020, I started following the Writers Guild Foundation and watched all their video’s with famous talented writers. This gave me a ton of motivation and inspiration to begin writing again. You might really enjoy these informative and entertaining YouTube videos, since most of the people interviewed are in TV and movies. I subscribe to the channel, so I never miss a post.
Here’s one of my favorites with Caroline Thompson from September11, 2020:
Hope this helps.
Thanks for the suggestion. I will check them out…
You can get over this hurdle, Austin. If your local library is open again, muster up a masked visit and ask a librarian to help you research their self-publishing resources. That way you don’t feel like you’re out there on the first branch alone. If not, go to Google. There’s plenty out there! You can do it.
Thanks for the encouragement and ideas, Mark!
Just end the chapter where u left off and start a new chapter. U probably putting too much pressure on yourself to finish “that” chapter. Good luck
That seems simple enough. Thanks. 🙂