It’s the first day of spring. From here, there will be no vernal equinox to observe, except for a slight dimming of the light at the end of a dark and dreary day. But the sun’s always out behind the clouds, and even if I can’t see the sunset, it’s still the start of a new season.

And I’m at the start of something new too. I’m about 18k-words into the first draft of a new YA novel. The words are flying out of my fingers at record speed, but I’m still worried. Every novel kills a few worries, but the dead are replaced by new one’s. Cut off one head, and two spring back in their place. And that is the battle that’s what makes writing so difficult – not the words, but the battle of wills.

So here I throw my writing demons to the world, so that they may wither in the light of the brightening sun.

I worry…

That this is the most uninspired story in the history of stories. Utterly derivative. Nothing new.

That I will end up with a mess on my hands, a story that makes no sense and requires an ungodly amount of rewriting, or that after months of work, it will end up so broken that it’s not worth fixing.

That the characters are too similar to ones I’ve written about in the past.

That I will succeed with this story and be branded as a YA author, when groups of teens terrify me to this day.

That I don’t have the voice for adult fiction, which is what I prefer to write.

That no one wants to read what I like to write about.

That in twenty years I’ll still be here, working, without any measurable success.

That I’ve hit a ceiling and I can’t improve beyond this point. That I’m incapable of learning more.

That I don’t have enough time to do everything that I want to do in this life. And that some of it won’t happen because it’s not something I can control.

And perhaps I should write my worries on a piece of paper, and set that alight, scatter the ashes to the wind. All I can do is write to the best of my ability and try to keep learning.

What are some of your writing demons? How do you slay them?

11 Comments to “Exorcism”

  1. I share a lot of similar fears to you. I don’t worry about being branded a YA author. I’ll write what I write, and if it sells, I’ll be overjoyed, whoever is buying. (Within reason, of course.) But 1 and 2. (It sucks. It makes no sense and will require endless rewrites.) Yes. 6, 7, 8 and 9. Absolutely. Especially 7 and a particular version of 8.

    1. (My specific variation of 8: This is the best I’ll ever be, and my best will never be good enough… and even worse… that I’ve hit my peak and the natural aging process will leave me increasingly cognitively impaired and incapable of doing anything better.)

      1. T. S. Bazelli Author

        That is a worry of mine too, but there’s no telling how long you’ll have your health. I guess its one of those things that it doesn’t help to worry too much about (beyond trying to stay healthy).

  2. Ditto what Stephen said. I don’t worry about being “branded a YA author” because I love the YA community and audience (which is, btw, largely adult) AND because there are more and more crossover authors all the time.

    The rest, though? Oh yeah. Same demons. Vicious suckers.

    All I can say is, those demons won’t put words on the page. So push them away. Easier said than done, I know, but we still have to try.

  3. I definitely share a lot of those. The ‘twenty years’ one is especially difficult (and, I think, the result of the querying roller-coaster), but I’m learning to redefine what success is. I’m in a similar place as you, writing this first draft faster than I ever expected, and maybe that’s a kind of success in its own right. Being passionate about our new stories, wrapped up in them and in the characters … that’s important, so important. It’s hard, but I think we have to just enjoy the process for what it is!

  4. Well, I definitely don’t have the “twenty years” one, since I’ve been at it for longer than that and “measurable success” has been pretty rare. That’s fine, though. I’m having fun, and I’m a much better writer than I used to be.

    If I’m worried at all, I guess I’m a bit intimidated by my last story (Stevie One), which I think is the best thing I’ve ever done. I’m concerned that the next one won’t be quite as well put together.
    Oh, well, I’ll have to write it all and find out.

    1. T. S. Bazelli Author

      My idea of success is having people interested in reading my work, whatever format it’s in. So far these novels are still hanging around in my drawers.

      Yup, only way to find out. Good luck 🙂

  5. My biggest fear is that I’ll die before seeing my complete vision for E7 finished, lol. I’ve always envisioned two different trilogies in two different timelines…

    I don’t really worry what others will think of it because I believe in it. I’m not the fastest writer (never will be, lol) nor am I “career writer” material. All I can do is keep making progress when I can and see where it takes me…

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