Lately I’ve felt a bit overwhelmed and under motivated. I don’t know if it’s because I’m so sick of winter, which always gets me down anyway, or life in general or what. I know I’ve been procrastinating on my fantasy novel – I’m chopping slowly away at it but to be honest, lately I’d rather play Hogwarts Legacy than write, which is fine if it’s a short break, but it’s been waayyy longer than that now.
I was also been off work sick last week with a nasty cold/flu type thing. On Tuesday, I literally did nothing which was fantastic, but by Wednesday I was feeling really weird and restless and not in a good place. I started questioning my writing, my writing habits, what I wanted from my writing, as well as general anxiety over not being good enough etc. This is apparently what happens when I’m sick and my routine goes out the window – my anxiety goes into overdrive.
To get me out of this mindset and to do something different, I decided to read a new writing book in the hopes I’d get my passion for writing back again. I’ve read Stephen King’s On Writing. And I generally regard Roz Morris’ Nail Your Novel as my bible to get work done…but lately, that hadn’t been doing it for me. So, I wondered if maybe reading a fresh perspective on writing would be good for me.
With this in mind, I decided to read Gareth Powell’s new book, About Writing. I have to admit, I haven’t read any of his sci-fi, or any of his work to be honest, but I’ve been following him on Instagram for a while and he seemed like down-to-earth guy, so I thought I might as well try it (especially as the Kindle edition is currently 99p!). And holy shit, am I glad I did!
As I was reading it I thought, is this guy actually me?? Has he somehow been inside my head and pulled out every experience I’ve had so far of being a writer?? The shitty jobs in marketing for ten years? Starting to take yourself seriously when you turn 30? Going to conventions because you’ve finally decided it’s time to find your people??
Honestly, I devoured this book in one day. One, because it was so easy to read, but two, because I have never related so much to another writer’s experience. Yeah, I enjoyed Stephen King’s book and reading about his life, but it didn’t quite describe my own writing journey (not that I think for a second that every writer’s journey has to be the same!). Whereas with Gareth Powell’s book, it was like someone had opened a window into my own mind and splattered the contents across the page*.
It also forced me to confront some hard truths about myself and my mindset. My novel will never get written if I don’t put in the work. My short stories will never be published if I don’t try. And so, I’m now filled with a fresh resolve that I CAN get my novel finished, I WILL be published one day, and I just need to keep chipping away at that dream. Finish editing my horror short story collection. Submit my stories to magazines, anthologies and agents. Keep practicing, keep earning, and don’t give up.
Have you read any writing books that changed the way you saw your craft? Or that gave you the kick up the backside you needed to succeed?
*sorry, not sorry, for the vaguely graphic imagery. I’ve been editing my horror short stories this weekend and the writing style has lingered…