Book Writing Struggles


If you have ever attempted writing a book you will probably know these struggles:

  • Coming up with ONE idea that is simply brilliant. In the middle of the night.
  • Putting up motivational notes over your desk.
  • Telling everyone you are writing a book.
  • Working on the idea for a few weeks and realising that it is not that good after all.
  • Actually all you do is sit in front of a blank page.
  • Because you are scared.
  • Scared of yourself.
  • And your idea.
  • Feeling like you have lost all your motivation.
  • Feeling like you have lost your ability to write sentences.
  • To write words.
  • Realising that the structure of your book doesn’t make sense.
  • Deleting all pages you have written thus far.
  • Starting all over.
  • Having 25 different versions of your book on your computer.
  • Some of them dating back to five years ago.
  • Reading all texts you can get, related to your topic.
  • Never being able to stop doing research.
  • Still feeling like you know nothing.
  • Making a plan to wake up early to write.
  • Waking up at noon.
  • Writing until 4 at night.
  • Spilling a cup of tea in your bed when writing late at night.
  • Calling your friends and whining about not being able to write anymore.
  • In the middle of the night.
  • Doing anything else but writing your book.
  • Dusting your shelves.
  • Cleaning your windows.
  • Twice a day.
  • Falling into an existential crisis.
  • Sending your friends a chapter of your work.
  • Getting back a crying-laughter smiley.
  • Or a question mark.
  • Deciding to stop working on your project.
  • Deleting all evidence from your computer.
  • Letting it rest for a few months.
  • Forgetting about it.
  • Until one night… (Start from the top.)

A few days ago I had to review the entire structure of my book. It had too many cracks and wasn’t well thought through. Let’s hope that my motivation will last for a little while and I will finish a first draft. It’s always a race of me against my self-doubts.

Here’s a great quote from Annie Dillard’s book “The Writing Life” if you find yourself in a similar situation.

When you are stuck in a book; when you are well into writing it, and know what comes next, and yet cannot go on; when every morning for a week or a month you enter its room and turn your back on it; then the trouble is either of two things. Either the structure has forked, so the narrative, or the logic, has developed a hairline fracture that will shortly split it up the middle — or you are approaching a fatal mistake. What you had planned will not do. If you pursue your present course, the book will explode or collapse, and you do not know about it yet, quite.

[…]

What do you do? Acknowledge, first, that you cannot do nothing. Lay out the structure you already have, x-ray it for a hairline fracture, find it, and think about it for a week or a year; solve the insoluble problem. Or subject the next part, the part at which the worker balks, to harsh tests. It harbors an unexamined and wrong premise. Something completely necessary is false or fatal. Once you find it, and if you can accept the finding, of course it will mean starting again. This is why many experienced writers urge young men and women to learn a useful trade.

(https://www.brainpickings.org/2013/08/09/annie-dillard-on-writing/ )

How are your writing projects going? Any tips on overcoming writer’s block?

10 Most-Loved Books


…at the moment. I read around 40 books last year and I try to read more and more as I go so that quickly changes. These are my all-time favourite books that I always come back to and that never fail to amaze me.

1 Thriller? Angels and Demons by Dan Brown
He develops such a fascinating story and if you like conspiracy theories that is the one to go. Searching for symbols, looking for evidence in old documents – that’s what I love about it. Set in one of my favourite cities, Rome. (It was really hard for me to decide on this one, I love every single book he’s published…)

2 Political Thriller? The Millenium Trilogy by Stieg Larsson
If you see them on a bookshelf they look huge. But if you start them, you really can’t put them down. The most gripping books I’ve ever read. Full of action and wit, of characters with flaws and brilliancy that are created by a genius himself. Swedish thrillers really are the best. Maybe those winters are too dark and too long…

3 Crime? Gentlemen and Players by Joanne Harris
Such a witty and intelligent read to find the depths of human thoughts and motives in a rather dusty old English college where nothing ever changes. Or does it? Also a storyline that is developed brilliantly. (Perfect book for autumn…)

4 Political Fiction? A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini
Probably the most touching book I’ve read in years. It made me cry and sit in shock, it also made me smile. A heartbreaking story about two women, about family and love, about the horrors of the Afghan war. I’m not crying, you are… It’s just rain, you know?

5 Fiction? Nighttrain to Lissabon by Pascal Mercier
A journey of an old language professor discovering a book by a Portugues doctor. A trip back in time and also into the middle of our thougths, our minds. And as I really love to learn languages: A very interesting process of how learning new words can change your world and your life dramatically. (The author is a philosoph that may explain a lot)

6 Classics? The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien
I never quite liked the Lord of the Rings but recently discovered that I should have read them in original because the German translation was really bad. So I started with the Hobbit and I have to tell you that I absolutely loved it. It’s a fascinating world and he put so much effort, so much work into it, that you’d think it really didn’t only exist on the paper.

7 Comedy? The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson
It’s hilarious. Not only the title. There were times when I had to stop reading and just laughed for ages. Such a sweet old man one would think but really this story develops in an unusual way. Where he has been in those hundred years – the perfect read for those rainy days to make your family concerned if everything is alright because you can’t stop giggling.

8 Fantasy? Harry Potter by J. K. Rowling
Obviously. We need no words for that. Always coming back to them especially around Christmas, that’s seems to be the perfect time for it.

9 Young Adult? The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
A really touching, sweet and incredibly sad read with wonderful lines and awesome dialogues. Also, I really liked Amsterdam when I was there, it’s just a beautiful city. (Also I’m a bit biased because I’m a huge fan of John and his work on Youtube. But he really is a great writer…)

10 Poetry? The Complete Poetry of Emily Dickinson
Her poetry creates so many images in my head, from nature to love and death she wrote so many beautiful lines that sing on and on. And I always want to say them aloud, taste those rhythms, they are perfect.

 

There you have it, these are my absolute favourites. I hope you enjoyed this little journey and got to know them and me a bit better. Please tell me about you favourite books and what I should read this year! Did you like this little book talk?

lots of love and keep reading!

verena