Why writing is so hard, and why I do it anyway

10383661_10204481819261556_458038920627797529_nWith only a few books under my belt, I guess you could say I’m fairly new at this writing gig. There are some things I’ve learned along the way ~ that I’m a morning writer, that I write best in an empty house, that getting up and switching to a new spot will loosen up almost every plot knot ~ but there’s far more I’m still figuring out. What is my process? Am I a pantser or a plotter? Why can’t I write faster? Do I have a muse, and where is she when I need her? Will writing a book ever get any easier?

Most authors will tell you the answer to that last one is a big, fat no. Writing doesn’t get easier, because you never write the same book twice. Plots get more complicated, characters become better developed, motivations and conflicts become more intertwined. These are all good things, because it means you’re pushing yourself, and becoming a better author. But believe me when I say they can also account for a lot of sleepless nights.

And now that I have real readers, people I don’t know but who buy my book anyway, I have a whole host of new worries. That they won’t relate to my characters, that the plot won’t resonate, that they won’t like my second book as much as the first, that they’ll get bored of me and stop buying. Strangers tell me all the time what they love about my books, but also what they hate. It’s hard to write the next one without them–the critics and the fans–sitting on your shoulder.

Sometimes, writing feels like punishment, like a 90,000-word mountain I can’t and don’t want to climb. But when a new story idea wakes me in the middle of the night, when I hear my characters’ voices as clearly as if they’re sitting in the room next to me, when the words flow and the imagery sings and the dialogue crackles off the page, those moments make all the hard times worth it. Getting words on the page is not easy, and it’s not always fun, but I love it anyway.

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About Kimberly S. Belle

Kimberly Belle grew up in Eastern Tennessee, in a small town nestled in the foothills of the Appalachians. A graduate of Agnes Scott College in Decatur, Georgia, Kimberly lived for over a decade in the Netherlands and has worked in marketing and fundraising for various nonprofits. She's the author of two novels, THE LAST BREATH and THE ONES WE TRUST (August 2015). She divides her time between Atlanta and Amsterdam. Keep up with Kimberly on Facebook (www.facebook.com/KimberlyBelleBooks), Twitter (@KimberlySBelle), or via her website at www.kimberlybellebooks.com.

Posted on June 19, 2015, in Blog Posts and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Dearest Kimberly,
    You are so right about writing best when the house is empty, or quiet for that matter. For me that is at the end of the day, when other chores got taken care of and my mind can fully focus on the subject.
    Always following your intuition is best and than letting it rest for some editing. While I’m ironing or working on other chores, thoughts always flow and often I have to write down a line for foundation.
    Good luck and I admire you for your achievements so far!
    Mariette

  2. I’m right there with ya. In any field, good practitioners continue to learn and expand their skills. And on top of that, fiction writing isn’t a field where you can excel by doing the same thing over and over until you master it. If you come up with a great image, you can use it once in your career. The phrase that was so apt in your last book will be stale if you use it in your next. It’s all creativity, all the time, and it’s exhausting. But it’s also work we love and are blessed to have the opportunity to do.

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