Only a Few More Decades to Go

For those of you that have been following my blog for a while, you know that I am working on my Epic Novel.

I am embarrassed to say that this Epic Novel very rarely gets worked on.  I go through stages where I’ll write a page or two in earnest, and then it gets left behind for a few months.  I guess I just don’t have the energy to continuously pour my work onto these sheets of paper.  I admire people who can write short stories in an hour – it’s a gift, it really is.  When I think of stories, they are never something short, they are always…EPIC.

They are a masterpiece (in my head) that spans a lot of time and usually has a strong female character that is on some sort of quest.  The quest can be internally, externally, or a combination of both.

I made up a story in my head about a fairy that goes on a magical quest to free her fairy village of the evil magic that was closing in on it.  I’ve written about this before in a different post on bullying.  But I made up this story when I was in 5th grade, began writing it when I was in 6th grade, and finished it in 9th grade.  This was ages 10-14.  And guess what?  I finished that novel.  Yup.  It was 62 pages long, NOT double spaced.  Oh, I was so proud when it was done.  My sister later revealed to me that she was insanely jealous that I had finished a novel before I had even graduated high school since she was always “the reader” in our family.  (My sister is now getting her PhD in English, has focused on Creative Writing, and is working on her first novel)

I think I had more time back then.  Actually, I know I had more time back then.  But I feel like I also had a lot more ambition.  I wanted to finish that novel and I did it.

Now, for this Epic Sci-Fi Novel:

I made up the story two years ago.  I started writing it one year ago.  I have gotten five pages and two lines on the sixth page done.

There.  I said it.  My Epic Novel is pitiful!  It’s been two years and I’m only on my sixth page!  I’m totally beating myself up about this because I don’t even have the motivation to sit down and say, “This month I will write at least three pages.”  How hard is that?  Three pages??  HOW HARD IS THAT?  But I can’t because I’m ridden with guilt.  I feel guilty that I see all these bloggers spitting out short story after short story, guilty that I can’t find motivation to sit down and right, guilty that when I was younger I was able to spit out a novel so easily, and finally guilty that I really, really do think this is a great story but I’m not giving it the time of day.  And the guiltier I feel, the harder it is to sit down and work on it.

Writing takes a lot of time and takes a lot of work.  I’m sure every author has had moments of complete discouragement like I’m having right now.  But I’m sure they also got more than five pages done in two years.


To make myself feel better, I leave with a quote:

“People on the outside think there’s something magical about writing, that you go up in the attic at midnight and cast the bones and come down in the morning with a story, but it isn’t like that. You sit in back of the typewriter and you work, and that’s all there is to it.” -Harlan Ellison

writing a novel

6 thoughts on “Only a Few More Decades to Go

  1. Every few months or so, I sit down with my girlfriend outside in our backyard and I tell her the outline of the entire nine novel epic series I’m attempting to write from beginning to end … I do this as if she hasn’t heard it ten times before. It takes hours, but in the end, I’ve got that spark. The whole picture is fresh, it has life just in the partial telling, and it helps me realize that regardless of whether it ever gets written down, the story has been told and it exists complete somewhere in the multiverse.

    By the time I get to “The End” in my story to her, I NEED to write it. I MUST write it. To give something I’ve created life like that and not get part of it down on paper as soon as possible is like trying to disable a bengal tiger by covering it with a bed sheet.

    Not saying it would work for you. Just sharing. And suggesting that every creative person has that switch they spend most of their life trying to figure out how to flip to “on”.

    I think most of the time I’m afraid to turn it on.

    1. You know, whenever I talk to my husband about it, he’s always supportive and wants to see it done too. Even though I found out the other day that his reasoning was he wants it to turn into a movie and make us lots of money….sigh. Still, I could look at that as a semi-compliment in that he thinks its that good of a plot!
      I’m glad you talk to your girlfriend about it and it triggers your motivation. I think I need to just find something to flip the switch.

  2. Well, now I feel stupid. I wanted to respond to your comment on the other post, so I just rushed over there without reading this first, but I can definitely understand where you are coming from here. Definitely. I’ve been saying I want to be a writer since… forever? What do I have to show for it… a few scraps of partially started short stories and composition notebooks filled with random novel/movie/comic/story ideas and character sketches. After YEARS of saying I was going to do this.

    So, yeah, I know that feeling. And so… I’m trying to start a writing group. And I don’t even know if this will work for myself let alone anybody else, but I’m hoping. I’m hoping that having a group of people who are accountable to each other is enough. That together we can spur each other onwards toward our aspirations. That if I have a group who are looking forward to reading my progress regularly I can manage to churn something decent out for them once or twice a month.

    Again, I have no idea if this will work. You don’t have to join my group, there are dozens of ways to find like minded aspiring writers, is a good place to start, but you’re certainly welcome if you like.

    I’ll leave with this quote…

    “There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.”
    – Ernest Hemingway

    1. Your other comment about the writing group actually is what spun me into this self pitying post. Haha. But it’s great to hear that other people also have problems finding motivation and just sitting down to write.
      I have way more respect for JK Rowling and how she was working full time, had a child, and was not making a lot of money… yet stuck with the Boy Who Lived and got it done. That’s the hardest part. She finished the novel.

  3. Sometimes you just need a fallow period for your creative juices to rejuvenate.
    I find the key is to have multiple projects going – to maintain focus on the main project, but also dally in short vignettes or ideas, to let the mind play in other sandboxes for a day or two. It seems to loosen up my juices, and I’m ready to return to the Great Novel.
    To be honest, over the past ten years I’ve acquired many first five pages of great and epic stories. They currently sit in limbo on my hard drive.

    Also, it took me a long time to become comfortable to writing terribly into the next plot point. Once there, it’s easier to look back and smooth out the storyline.

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