Do You Love Your Book?

My first book took the longest time to write because I spent a lot of time angsting over every tiny little detail of it, and backtracking all the time, although angst or not, I loved every step of the process. These days I write much faster. A couple of times though, I’ve started a story and it’s taken days just to get a paragraph down. I’m a stubborn old mule though so I generally used to try and persevere, and force myself on. Not anymore though. Even though I’m one of the write every day tribe whether you feel like it or not, and I do write every day, I don’t see any point in carrying on with writing something I don’t love just because I started it.

It got me wondering how many writers try to force themselves to write something that they really don’t want to write, thinking that their daily groan as they stare at the blank screen is simply some virulent form of writers block which will pass if they just keep on trying. These days with all of us scribblers floating around the world wide web, getting started on a new book is a lovely thing to share. We chat about when we think it will be published, and excitedly zoom on in, only to find after one chapter in, that the well has totally dried up. But now everyone knows about it, and if we don’t finish it and publish it they’ll think we’re losers, so we keep on slogging away, pushing any thought of failure out of the realm of possibility.

I don’t think that it’s failure to put aside something that you hate doing. I’ve written a couple of articles that I really didn’t enjoy doing, but I was being paid for those, so I gave them my very best. Books aren’t the same. Could it be that you decided to start writing a book because of a popular and lucrative genre you happened to notice? If you don’t actually enjoy reading that genre, you’re very unlikely to enjoy writing it. Maybe an idea you thought was fabulous a year ago doesn’t truly float your boat anymore, and you’re simply forcing yourself because you always finish what you start.

I think that if you always find it really difficult to add to any specific manuscript, and find yourself forcing yourself to find the words every day for months and months on end, it might be time to take a little break from it and try a bit of freeform writing. Just have at that keyboard and write something that makes you happy. Anything at all that brings on those scribbling joy bubbles. Maybe if you find your fingers flying across your keyboard then, you don’t have grade four hive-inducing writer’s block. Could be you just hate what you’re writing.

Obviously we can have weeks when the writing doesn’t always flow, and days when it just stops entirely. Writing on through even though the words are rubbish at times like these really does work, but if it goes on for months and months on end, then I for one would not endure the torture, and move on to another project. The beauty of being an Indie means that only you get to decide what you write and when. You can also allow yourself to shelve something for a while or forever if you choose to. You never know. Maybe finding it again after finishing something that you really did love to write could ignite a spark again. So be kind to yourself if you ever find yourself falling totally out of love with an idea, and allow yourself to move on.

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Image Credit: Pixabay

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70 thoughts on “Do You Love Your Book?”

    1. Olga, “There are so many stories…”- That is so true! I have ideas for about 20 novels. As far as articles go, I could write a couple hundred if I have the time and focus!
      I haven’t tried writing short stories yet, but I’m sure that as soon as I start, a few dozen ideas will pop into my head.
      The best thing I’ve found is to write it down and put it away. If in a month, or a year, or a decade, you feel the excitement and energy you originally felt, go for it! That’s what I hope to do.
      But some ideas are just momentary flirtations. Would you really try to get with every person you flirted with? I hope not! 😉 ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Reblogged this on Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life and commented:
    We become attached to some of our books particularly if there is a personal element. I know that my first book resulted in so many conflicting emotions that it will always be special to me. Sometimes thought it can be hard to proceed for some reason.How about you.. pop over to LitWorldInterviews and read Jo Robinson’s post

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I do love my book! My one debut novel that just came out 2 short months ago. I love it way too much! It’s like the way a parent films or photographs every move of their first baby, then bores the rest of us with it.
      Today, I finally accepted that not everyone is going to love my novel. Not everyone is even going to like it. And certainly, not everyone is going to consider reading it.
      So, today, I am letting my baby take it’s first step all on it’s own.
      And guess what? As soon as I decided to let that happen, I got the most amazing review from a 10 time author from Great Britain.
      So, the lesson is “Know when to let things go.”
      Sherrie
      P.S. Normally I would be posting a link to my book, but this is the first in 12 steps (Know what I mean?). I know I can. I know I can.
      P.P.S. I realize I am slightly off track with this post. Sorry . . . I just had to tell someone my revelation!

      Liked by 2 people

    2. Thanks for saying that! That is what I am going through right now. There are days when I am flying high, then someone stranger says something and I am flat on my face.
      I am learning slow but sure and am considering starting a support group for myself and others in the same situation.
      Peace & blessings to you!
      Sherrie

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you Sherrie! It’s great to have the support of other scribblers who go through all the same things to give us a boost now and then. We can have some pretty mean inner critics sometimes that stop us in our tracks. Here’s to your fingers zooming across your keys now! Peace and blessings to you also. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I go through a love – hate – love again process with all of mine. I force myself to finish, even if it goes in a trunk later. I’m getting better at making a decent outline ahead of time to see if the story can hold up to the novel length and that’s helped.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’ve got one that I shelved that I doubt I’ll go back to. I thought a quirky murder mystery seemed like a good idea at the time, but I really didn’t love writing it so much. 😀 I’ve got a massive outline for my sci-fi series but for my other books they generally involve three sentences.

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      1. I always do better with a decent outline, but I don’t always have one. I wrote one with an outline in the beginning, seat of the pants middle, and an outline ending. I call it bookend outlining.

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  3. I’ve been lucky so far. I LOVE my characters so much that I can’t stop thinking about them (and I’m into book 5 of a series). I dread leaving them–even for a vacation). I don’t know what I’ll do once I’m done with them. Just today I was editing a very sad scene and feeling the kind of love that usually is reserved for real life mates. What a happy place to be in life. I should have started sooner. 🙂

    Liked by 4 people

  4. Great post! This very scenario is the reason I started blogging. In those times when I struggle with my book, I take a break and write a blog instead. Here, I can do a 180, and write something so totally off the grid of my normal writing. It keeps the creative juices flowing. Great advice…thanks Jo!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you Bill! I do the same. Sometimes you really need a couple of days to let a story brew in the background, and writing is writing I reckon. We all do it every day, even if it is blogging or other WIP’s. 🙂

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    1. Thanks Colleen! “New writer-itus” LOLOL! I think you’re actually right though. The first one is the most terrifying to let loose – also the best when it assumes a glowing halo of published-ness. 😀 ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Excellent advice, Jo. Sometimes it’s a fine line between just pushing through a difficult passage and continuing on with something you are no longer passionate about. But if you just keep going you figure it out. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Reblogged this on Tricia Drammeh and commented:
    I love this article! I often feel guilty about my unfinished projects. As children, we’re often taught to finish what we start. In general, I think that’s good advice, but part of being a ‘good’ writer means knowing when a story isn’t working and giving ourselves permission to put it aside. I’m not saying we should give up every time a story gets tough. But if a project is no longer giving you joy and you dread sitting down in front of the computer, maybe it’s time to put the story on the back burner, at least for a while. Wonderful post!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I stopped twice for about a year both times. I felt terrible about it and everyone kept telling me to work on other stuff. I was afraid if I did that, it would be like other things I have done in my life: I wouldn’t ever get back to it.
      In the end, that time was exactly what I needed to figure out how to tell all these people’s stories in a coherent way. I have no regrets – well, maybe the time I wasted arguing with people on-line – I could have found something better to do than try to convince people that my way is the right way. On the other hand, who knows? Maybe I will end up writing a story about one or many of these issues.
      My baby had a thirty-some year gestation period, but I needed that time to become more spiritual, to feel the pain of loss and to know what family love and the love of my soul mate felt like.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Wow this was a great post! I had writers block for two years. The thing is, I could write anything that wasn’t my novel. I think my problem was that the idea wasn’t right and it took me 2 years to find the right theme to the story I had in mind, because one day the right idea came into my head and I was capable of writing again! 😉

    Liked by 2 people

    1. That’s great! Those ideas are always being busy behind the scenes and thank goodness that they always eventually pop out. Two years must have be hard for you though – glad to hear you’re over the hump now. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  8. Gosh Jo how did you know? That’s exactly how I’ve been feeling about my bk3. I have to write it, because the trilogy needs closure, and although I have an ending I am happy with, I just havent fallen in love with it yet. Yesterday, Sacha Black got me thinking about it, and this boot up the jacksey you’ve just given was just what I needed! Thank you! I think I was taking it in totally the wrong direction, and that’s why it wasnt working. Cant wait to get back to it now!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Cool Ali – I’m chuffed to hear that! Series are funny old things. I finished the second book in my series and half of the third, when the whole story had a major wiggle and they became books four and five instead, 😀 So I had to backtrack and start two and three again – had a worry headache for about two weeks.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Reblogged this on A Shot and a Half Pint and commented:
    This is so true! When I first started my writing endeavor, I toiled away for 3 months outlining and writing endless first chapters for a story I was lukewarm about. Once I finally scrapped it and went for a story I was really excited about, I wrote the whole book in the same time period! Sometimes it is best to trust your instincts.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. LOLOL! I think it must be an awesome thing to have a 120,000 word novel holding open a door. I’ve heard a lot of the great authors say that they tossed their first books. Just as well most of us try and be our own gatekeepers, because so many would have published purely because of all the hard work that must have gone into it. Are you sure it stinks? 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks Tess! Most times I try and write around the walls and generally something pops up later to fill the hole I left, but working on something else is really great too – let the mind do the work behind the scenes. 🙂

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  10. I think we write things that challenge us to see if we can pull it off. I’ve tried to write dark stories and can never get it right and I throw it in the box. I also do something that many writers don’t o. When at a low point I’ll go back and read my published works just to see the proof that I did something good. Wonderful post, Jo.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Great post and so very true. I would never confess in public as to how many started masterpieces I have lurking in notebooks, computer files and the filing cabinet to beat all filing cabinets – my head! But every once in a while I peruse the stock of old ideas and bang, something leaps out and the story re emerges, maybe as a short instead of a novel or more regularly for me as a novel idea instead of a short!! A lot lof the other stuff, well its just there to remind me not every good idea on a Monday is good idea on Tuesday. Thanks as ever Jo xxx

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you lovely Gill! I’ve got absolute piles of stories on my computer too, but I mostly forget about them. Definitely worth keeping though – you’re so right about them being something other than what they started out as. Maybe I should go have a squiz in my pile now. 🙂 XXX

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Ok now this is interesting. If I don’t like what I am writing, I stop, put it down, leave it alone and if I can’t find a way to write it so I like it I simply disregard it altogether. Everything I have published so far I love. That does not mean they are perfect or cannot be improved, but the stories, the ideas, the narrative techniques, the way the scenes are framed, the world the characters inhabit, I love it all. If I didn’t, I simply would not write. I don’t believe that the artist is above his or her own work, that they always have to stand back and cast a critical eye over every single detail, determined to see it as a stranger does, like a painting you’ve seen for the first time and you know nothing about until you see it. It’s simply not possible as the artist to disconnect yourself from your own work entirely. That’s what editors, proof readers, critics and publishers are for. The readers will either love it, like it or ignore it and say nothing. But when a perfect stranger buys your book and takes the time to write a wonderful review without asking for anything in return and then email you to tell you how much your book meant to them, well that is what it’s all about. You can love your book, for sure, but if it is good enough, someone else will love it even more than you do. (Same as the comment I posted on The Story Reading Ape) 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Me too! To be honest, I have trouble stepping back and reading other people’s work as a critic. Either I love it or I don’t and I stop reading (if I can!). The only time I can look critically at something is if I study it within a class setting. Even if I am the teacher, I learn a lot.
        But when someone asks me about structure or the use of adverbs and adjectives, I am completely at a loss as I just read and enjoy the characters (or hate the characters, occasionally).
        I couldn’t even figure out why all the characters in Jodi Picoult’s “My Sister’s Keeper” could speak, but all my characters speaking didn’t. Once I figured out that we had to be in the present and my characters had to be speaking to someone, I was able to do it. But I still don’t know why it worked for Picoult. I just know she had to do it that way as her protagonist dies in the story.
        Anyway, that’s just me. If I were able to step out and look at a story, it would mean FOR ME, that it isn’t a good story.
        I did it in a class for Richard Ford’s “Independence Day.” That was easy as I didn’t really like the book. When we read “All the Pretty Horses,” it was much harder to do because I loved that novel. And Cormac McCarthy is no easy read!
        Thanks for giving us a place to discuss this very interesting topic! 😉 ❤

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  13. Reblogged this on sherriemiranda1 and commented:
    I have to admit I love my book too much. Always have. It was in my mind for more than 30 years that I would write this story of the Salvadoran civil war. I had no idea though that it would end up looking like it does though. I am very proud of my first baby and looking forward to working on the prequel again, very soon. 😉 ❤

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  14. This has been reflagged about ten times already! Let’s all come back here and let Jo know how many times it gets reflagged from our site! I’m going to share it on my FB page too!
    Jo, I’d love to know what you write. Is there a link here to your work?

    Like

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