Tuesday, October 19, 2010

It's Always Impossible

I'm going to let you in on a little secret.

Every time I start a book--or even think about starting a book--it feels impossible.

How on earth am I ever going to take this character, this idea, and make it an entire book?

How on earth am I going to generate enough content?

How on earth am I going to capture all of these ephemeral, fickle threads and weave them together into a narrative that makes sense?

How on earth is this blank Word document ever going to turn into something with weight and substance, something that is real?

How on earth have I done this six times before, because writing books?

It's impossible.

Until I start.

And then we get to the stage I'm in--with a completed manuscript.  A hugely flawed, messy manuscript.  I know what I want it to be, what it should be.  I even know most of what needs to happen to get it there.  But sitting in front of this document of sixty-three-thousand-words, sixty-three-thousand-RUINED-AND-AWFUL-AND-TOTALLY-FLAWED-words, it feels impossible.

How will I ever pull it apart and stitch it back together?

How will I ever get this maddening story to be what I feel it is, what I know it can be?

How will I ever find the time to dig into it, to let it come alive in my brain again, to recreate those parts that need to be recreated and to save those parts that are worth saving, and to know the difference?

How will I ever make this pile of words into a book?

It's impossible.

Until I start.

Everything about writing feels impossible to me, all the time, until I am actually doing it.  I suppose that's part of the magic and miracle of books.  They're completely impossible, except for when they aren't.

38 comments:

Anita Saxena said...

Nothing is impossible. Although, I agree that it frequently feels that way with writing. Best of luck.

Leigh said...

You have just described exactly how I'm feeling. I've got 80K of a second book that needs re-writing due to extensive editing of the first and I've been sitting here looking at the words, not knowing where to start, but I know, as soon is I sink my teeth into it it will flow, it always does. But that begs the question... why do we panic in the first place?

Donna Gambale said...

I'm right there with you! Except I have about 5000 words, and I'm just beginning to write the incoherent draft that will eventually become my "oh my God how do I make this coherent?" draft. Good luck!

Abby Stevens said...

You have captured exactly how I feel about writing, so much so that I am inspired to write about this today (and link back to your post, of course).

Penelope said...

This is one of my favorite blog posts of yours.

Kristan said...

A hundred, a thousand, a million times yes!

Like Penelope said, this is one of my favorite posts of yours. It absolutely describes how I feel at every stage when I'm faced with it. Which is why I aim for "less think, more do." It's like a Nike slogan, but not.

Erica M. Chapman said...

Totally. This is a great post ;o) It seems like a monumental task, and sometimes it is, but it's so worth it... right? ;o)

Indigo said...

So glad I'm not the only one. Feeling the impossible right about now. The thing is I can't imagine doing anything else either...(Hugs)Indigo

Kathryn said...

"They're completely impossible, except for when they aren't."

I love necessarily true sentences.

Great post!

Jamie Grey said...

Wow - I so needed to read this today - I'm in the same boat with my revisions. It's impossible that I'll ever mold it into something people will want to read. I am glad to know I'm not the only one who feels this way. And someday, maybe I'll have something 1/2 as good as Paranormalcy!

Mandy said...

I get what you mean; I feel the same way. It's kind of scary, looking at a completed manuscript, and remembering that one day, that document was a blank page that seemed impossible, yet allurig at the same time. It's a tricky balance, and many times I know I don't write as much as I should - and could - daily, because I think it's impossible to do what I have to do with that piece of writing.
But when I finally sit down and work on it, I find it flows amazingly well :)

Alyson Greene said...

Thank you! This post is such a gift. I know exactly how you feel and it is so refreshing to hear that someone as successful as you feels this way.

heidikins said...

So, you're saying that I should just start already? Ok, that's what I thought. *Pulls out new notebook.

xox

Valerie Kemp said...

YES! OMG YES! SO true. Every time I sit down to write my hands shake a little and I have to psyche myself up to get started. No matter how excited I am with what I wrote the day before, or the brilliant new idea I had or anything else.

Great post! I really needed to hear this today.

Jessi E. (The Elliott Review) said...

Thanks for posting about this. I have recently been inspired to even THINK about starting to write again, and this just fuels the fire!

Eleven Eleven said...

I'm adding my vote to this being one of my favorite of your posts. Yes. That is exactly how it feels.

I needed to hear this, but doesn't every writer? Stopping doubting and start doing. It will happen.

Off to fix the broken (and previously avoided) pieces of my MS. Thanks for the inspiration.

Lale said...

You know, it's actually scientifically proven that once we start something, we have a mental itch that tells us to finish it.It's why it's so hard to break out of procrastination, and how you get 'in the zone' when in my case, tackling a huge amount of homework! Great post :)

Brodi Ashton said...

Oh man, this is so right. Just this morning, I was looking at my editor's revision letter going, "This is impossible. I'll never be able to address all the issues."

And then I remember I was feeling the same way when I revised with my agent 3 months ago, when I queried agents 6 months ago, when I started writing my second book a year ago...

It never ends. Until, of course, it does.

Love your blog!

ellen said...

The first four "How on earth" are the same questions I keep asking myself. Maybe I should just start writing...

Loved Hot Stuff's bloggings, but I love that you're back even more. Missed your bloggings. ^^

Katrina L. Lantz said...

See? This is why I <3 you, Kiersten. You always keep it real, which is super nice for aspiring writers like me. You totally get me. Thanks for reminding me that the fun part is actually in the writing, and not in the worrying about writing (which I do way too much). :)

lora96 said...

Wonderful. Thank you.
I'm staring at the rewrite mountain right now thinking I can't climb.

Because it's impossible.

Patti said...

I totally agree. There's lots of things that you think are impossible, but when you start doing them, it's not as bad as you thought.

Jamie Fox said...

I couldn't have said it better myself!

Natalie Aguirre said...

Great post. It's hard to believe you write messes from reading Paranormalcy but it's good to know our messes can be turned into something good.

Megs said...

Ha ha, so true. And I must say it is always exciting when something else comes out of your amazing brain and imagination. Congrats on finishing the first manuscript!

Meg K. said...

That's very inspiring!

Michelle said...

With faith, and lots of editing, all things are possible! I'm in the same boat, except I need to abracadabra 29,000 words into 50,000 or more.

Maya / מיה said...

Wow... super inspirational post! Just want I needed to hear today!

Jessica Rae said...

I wanted to let you know that I have read "A Visitor's Guide to Mystic Falls" (review forthcoming) and yours is possibly my favorite chapter. I'm so glad they provided so much author info because now I've found your blog and love your humor so much that I now want to check out "Paranormalcy."

Angela Felsted said...

Hey Kiersten,

I just read your book, and it rocks!

cinnamon said...

Thanks..about thirty times over...thanks.

I was really low last night and didn't write a word because of the weight of the impossible.

If it's this hard for everyone, then I need to quit whining and get to it!

Shannon O'Donnell said...

"Until I start." I love that, Kiersten...so wise! :-)

Sarah said...

Inspiring and comforting for a young, inexperienced author to hear this!

I know the impossible feeling, but for me, it doesn't go away when I start. It goes away when I finish.

KaelaQLC said...

Thank you thank you THANK you for saying that! This might seem obvious to more seasoned writers, but for us first-timers I think it's so good to hear that we're not alone in our overwhelmed-ness. And hearing it from someone who's actually been published is especially encouraging.

Thanks for ALL the amazing advice and experience that you share with us. If you ever find yourself wondering why you blog, remember how valuable you are to the writing community!

IsiF said...

I know how you feel...except for the being published and having six books under my belt part! But I tell myself one day and one word at time. You obviously know what you are doing...trust in that. :)

Claire Dawn said...

This might be weird to say, but this post reads like a poem.

Ishta Mercurio said...

This is exactly where I am. finishing the first draft of my WiP feels impossible, except when I sit down and actually write a chapter.

Great post!

CharmedLassie said...

Thank you! Sometimes we need the difficulty reiterating. The feeling of wanting to give up I have every time I undertake ANYTHING can be debilitating. I feel like there's a magic formula other writers are getting that I'm not allowed to know. Of course, there isn't, it's their perseverance as much as their talent that generates success!