I used to have this idea that writing would get easier, that somehow, each subsequent novel would flow a little faster, and I’d know exactly what to do. Imagine my disappointment when that fantasy got demolished.

I’m drafting a new novel, my fifth to date, and while I have no doubt that my writing has improved a great deal since my first attempts, the process, apparently, does get any easier. In fact, in some ways it’s more frustrating, if only because I feel it should be easier, and also because I’ve forgotten the struggles I went through with my earlier novels. I’ve forgotten how I felt when I didn’t know what was to come next, or when I discovered a flaw that seemed beyond fixing, and I’ve forgotten how I overcame those struggles and made it all work.

Now when I get stuck I think, I don’t remember this. I didn’t get stuck like this before. And then I start to hyperventilate because, oh $#*!, I’ve caught a disease. I’ve lost my touch. Writer’s block is real!

And then my husband rolls his eyes and says, “I really should have recorded all your whine session when you were writing all those other books.” And I calm down a little, because I know he is right. I do remember that I had complete meltdowns.

Maybe the struggle is different with each book. Maybe some books, like some children, really are more difficult/complicated than other, but if I’ve gained anything writing the past four novels, it’s faith in the creative process. Something will come. You don’t always have control over when or what, but something always comes.

So basically, it doesn’t get easier, but at least I know what to expect, at least in terms of my emotional roller-coaster. And so does my husband. He’s getting really good at those pep talks.


6 comments

    • Suzi

    • August 21, 2012

    • 1:33 pm

    I think another part of that is because you always keep learning–at least I am. I thought I had a good handle on editing. But then discover something new.

    And that happens again and again. But I shouldn’t complain because at least I’m growing in the process.

  1. Jillian Anderson Coats shared some of the most profound writing advice I’ve heard yet (she had heard it from another author): Learn to write THIS book. This one sentence has freed me up so much from the expectations that come with having written before.

    Do your thing. Do what this book asks of you. That’s all you can do. xo

  2. It’s true that every story is a new challenge. Wouldn’t it be nice if things did get easier? Thank goodness for husbands who are good at pep talks!

    • Anonymous

    • August 21, 2012

    • 11:47 pm

    Hi Liesel,
    What a great post. I’m really only a beginner, so I guess I can’t say much yet about how the next stories will be. But I’m fairly sure their going to be hard 🙂

    I found your site via Write On Con…I think you had a quote on one of the presentations posted. I clicked over because I like the advice you gave + I was SUPER intrigued by the story and concept of your novel RUMP and can’t wait for it to come out. The cover art looks AWESOME by the way!! I’m in my 30’s and so so new to this it is embarrassing, but right now MG intrigues me most.

    I’d love to chat with you more to know more about your writing journey! I guess you get those questions a lot though. But if you are ever open to chatting with a person like me (have no idea what she’s doing), then if I ever see a contact here on your site, I might be brave enough to email you 🙂

    Congrats on the HUGE news that you are going to be published. Again, I can’t wait to read RUMP, looks like something I’d love!

    — Andie

  3. Hi Andie,

    I totally remember being in those beginning stages of writing, trying to figure it all out. I’d love to help, and for now what I’ll do is dedicate my next post to some advice for the beginning writer. That can get a conversation going, help spur some thoughts, and then if you have more questions and want to discuss, I’d be more than happy to chat with you through email. Sound good?

    Thanks for your comments. I’m so glad my Write On Con advice was helpful!

    • Anonymous

    • August 23, 2012

    • 7:45 pm

    Thanks so much!

    I’d also love to know just a blurb about your journey (when did you write and revise your first novel, and hoow many more did you complete before finding your agent, how long did this process take, etc)
    – daily schedule?
    – did you look for CP’s immediately with your first novel or wait to get to a “better” story and better idea , etc

    Thoughts for those of us who work jobs (that they hate, ugh) for like 10 hours per day…can this still be done? I feel I’m making excuses, but the day job exhausts me to the bone and my mind goes “dead” 🙁
    I’m in my 30’s and have no writing classes or workshops in my background and haven’t the finances for it.
    Rather than complain about all the crap in my life, I’m trying to do what I can, but still feel I’m missing the boat on all of this.

    Would also love to know how you found your CP’s?
    I have so many writers(published or not published) that I like their work or their personality and style, etc…but not sure how to jump into the mix or whatever when I’m so new to everything and intimidated (also I lack social media tools).

    Anyway, I could ask a ton of questions. I’ll stop before I get really irritating (because I”m in that territory, sorry !)

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