I Thought Maybe I'd Feel Like an Idiot a Little Less Often

I knew the world wasn't going to change when I sold my first book. I knew angels weren't going to sing and I wasn't going to magically put bad writing days behind me, but, well...see title of post.

I ended the year with a bunch of leftover vacation days so I thought I'd take the majority of this week off and use that time to write. For the last week or so I have been seriously close to finishing the 1st draft of Magisterium (Book # 2) and I was sure that with a few uninterrupted days of writing I'd be able to type "the end" sooner rather than later.

So my first day off came and I leapt out of bed. I had my coffee. I spent the absolute minimum amount of time on Twitter and then I opened up my Word doc and...

I choked.

I completely freaking choked.

For 7 1/2 hours I stared at my computer screen like it was on the far side of a deep fog bank. My characters were complete strangers. The story I've been writing for months felt like some dim, half remembered thing without logic or urgency or tension. I typed listlessly. I deleted. I typed again.  I was sure I could read the cat's mind from across the couch. "Hey there Mr. Professional Writer Man," she seemed to taunt. "Aren't people like, paying you for this stuff now? Don't you think you better, you know, Get. On. It."

Like I said, I didn't expect angels wings when I sold a book but maybe I thought, I don't know, that somehow the validation would open up a well of confidence I could draw on in times like these. Maybe I thought that given all this time writing, and all that I've learned from editing my last book, I would have solidified some kind of instinctive story sense, some batch of first narrative principals, that could guide me through the rough days.

But that's not how it works, is it?

Just like a marriage license doesn't make you married, a book contract doesn't make you a writer. It does not make you immune to sitting on a couch under the withering glare of an American short hair, feeling like a complete noob. It does not stop you from thinking, despite whatever evidence to the contrary, "I can not do this."

At least this is true for me. Maybe, horror of horrors, there are some writers out there who really do "go pro." Writers who sit down at the computer and see the path in front of them clear as a cobblestone drive.  Maybe.

As for me, all I can do is sit down at the computer each day and hope for the best.

How about you guys?