When the going gets tough… the tough get going!
Last year, I had my bathroom redone. (Bear with me!) We ripped out of the bath and installed a huge shower along one wall. Instead of using wall tiles, I wanted to do something different. I’d seen penny floors and back splashes and loved the look of it. But could I really do that in my bathroom? My (fabulous!) plumber helped me put together an idea of how we could do it. And over the course of three and a half solid days, morning to night, I patiently and not-so-patiently, used a caulk gun to individually stick £210 of 2 pennies in rows along the three walls of the unit.
After about the first hour that I thought, oh my god, what on earth was a I thinking? I feared that I was never going to get it done, and that even if I did, I’d hate it when it was finally up. That… or they’d find my dead body collapsed under mouldy 2p coins!
There’s a point of no return with projects like this and I’d reached it the first penny I stuck to the wall. All the little fears morphed into bigger ones – how was I going to clean them? Would they discolour and disintegrate after one month? Would the grouting stick to pennies and take me years to chip off? Would I have to rip them all off one day? Was I mad???
I realised recently that writing is a little like this. With every book I’ve written, there’s a moment – whether it’s the first chapter, second, third, or eighth, that I’ve had this very same moment. When I think… this isn’t going to work. This is going to be awful. Did I really think I could do this?
Every single writer – published or otherwise – will tell you that writing is hard. Absolutely 100% worth it, but hard. It takes grit and determination to push through the moment when you find yourself staring at your computer, thinking what on earth is this? How did I think that was any good? It’s a fairly dark and lonely time when this happens. The characters are misbehaving and you’re losing the threads of your plot and that no one else can help you. Those doubts and that frustration… they can overwhelm you if you let them.
If you’ve had that moment, then I want to tell you that you’re not alone. We’re here. We’ve been through it. And we’ve come out the other side of it.
Because this is the moment that defines you as a writer. This is the moment when you must push on through those painful doubts, when you find the way to fix the plot hole, arm wrestle your characters into submission… You may have to walk away for a bit – spend some time in the garden, go for a walk, let your imagination run wild! Writing doesn’t just take place in front of the computer putting words on a page. It takes place in the spaces where you’re thinking about the whys and wherefores, it’s the silent conversations you have with your characters, it’s the moment you zone out of the dinner table conversation and realise that’s what’s not working. It’s in the shower, when you’ve left the conditioner on your hair for ten minutes too long as you realise that’s how to fix it.
There’s always a moment in every project when you think what have I done? But that panic, that fear… it’s up to you how you handle it. Please don’t let it overwhelm you. Allowing yourself to be curious, to question why and what if, that makes you the writer you are. So give yourself the time to consider it, the kindness to accept and move on from the doubts, and the power, once you come through the other side, to see just how far and how fabulous that journey has been.
In the spirit of positivity, I’d love to hear about how you felt when you’d overcome a difficult writing moment! And if you feel like sharing the how – I’m sure that all readers would love to hear it!
P.S. the finished bathroom looked amazing! And the books I’ve had the greatest wrestle with? On the shelves!***
Mills & Boon author Pippa Roscoe lives in Norfolk near her family and makes daily promises that this will be the day she will leave the computer and take a long walk in the countryside. She can’t remember a time when she wasn’t dreaming of gorgeous alpha males and misunderstood heroines. Totally her mother’s fault of course—she gave Pippa her first romance to read at the age of seven! She is inconceivably happy that she gets to share those
Pippa Roscoe on the web:
A Ring to Take His Revenge (The Winners' Circle)
He’ll do anything to settle the score…
…even fake an engagement!
To secure his revenge against his cruel father, billionaire Antonio Arcuri needs a fake fiancée—fast! He demands his shy PA, Emma Guilham, wear his diamond. In return, he’ll help fulfill her dreams—starting with a jet-set trip to Buenos Aires! It’s a simple charade, until the burning tension between them erupts into irresistible desire. Now Antonio must decide between vengeance and Emma…
A powerfully intense revenge romance!.
I know I've hit a few of those dark moments - and am maybe in the middle of one right now! - but digging in with hard work always makes it better.
What about you? How do you power through?