My starter motor


Writers block copy

Those of you who are regular followers of my blog may have noticed a paucity of posts over recent weeks. I could say it’s because I’ve been focussing on my latest book, and while this is partly true, it’s not the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

I’m still awaiting feedback from one of my beta readers for the last instalment of the Transcendence Trilogy before I can crack on with the next round of edits. While it’s frustrating is some respects I also completely understand the amount of time and commitment it takes to give quality feedback. Also, a part of me is happy to put off finishing the Transcendence Trilogy. It’s been a part of my life for over three years and while I know how the story ends, I’m not yet ready to hand my characters over to the world. I’m like a parent adjusting a child’s hair and correcting imaginary issues with their collar before they go into class for their first-day at school. I don’t want to let go. In the meantime I’m in the process of getting the cover developed as well as writing the promotional blurb ready for launch, but this hasn’t taken up all my time. I’ve also developed the outline of the book I plan to write next, which I’m very excited about, but this too has been finished for a while.

Then there is the fact I’m currently living on a building site. As a typical optimist I thought having a major extension to my house built would have little impact on my writing.

I was wrong.

It’s fair to say I’ve been distracted. It’s hard to write when the drilling downstairs is so loud that vibrations send your keyboard skittering across your desk. Then there are the times when I’d prefer not to be at my desk at all. While I appreciate the reassurances from my builders, I’d rather not be sat above a wall that’s being removed until somebody else proves there are enough acrow props in the right place to support my weight. Then there are the bills to pay, the daily conversations around progress, the ongoing worry about whether when the unusually warm weather will change to winter’s bite. And let’s not forget the ever-present dust.

Yet even though I’ve been distracted, if I’m totally honest the real reason you haven’t heard anything for a while is because that monster procrastination has sunk its teeth into me. With all the disruption I’ve lost the writing habit and found other things to fill the gap. Most of what I’ve already mentioned are excuses on why I can’t write, and in the classic self-hating way I know they’re just that, excuses, but have carried on wasting my time regardless.

I was asked the other day how an aspiring writer can move on to become a writer. The person in question said they’d loads of ideas for stories that they’d developed for years and had always wanted to write. How had I turned that into actually writing a book. I talked a bit about how some writers were plotters and some pantsers, I talked about the three-act structure, about developing your characters and knowing the world they live in. I talked about motivations and overcoming challenges to meet goals. But at the end I gave the blunt truth. The difference between aspiring writers and writers is that writers put in the work and aspiring writers don’t. It’s all about bum on seat time.

Exactly what I’ve not been doing.

So this post is my starter motor, the push I need to get me back into the writing habit so I can finish my novel and start another. It is the first step on the next stage of my journey, the slight glance I need to fall back in love. Wish me luck!


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30 thoughts on “My starter motor

  1. Good to hear from you, Dylan – I wondered where you’d been. And I sympathise completely; I’ve lost the writing habit recently, too. Hope this post is the starter motor you need. Good luck!

  2. I had a ‘day off’ yesterday… where my working day was over before I would normally leave for work. I came home with plans to get through so much writing… really getting a push on. And didn’t. I could blame being distracted by the events unfolding elsewhere… or the 3am alarm clock… Truth is, I just dawdled. Sometimes that’s not a bad thing.

  3. I’m avoiding getting my day started by reading your blog. So you are not only subject to the disease–you are also a carrier. You are the Typhoid Mary of procrastination. I hope you are proud. (Totally blaming this on anyone but myself! Because, why not?)

  4. Oh my, do I know what you’re going through! We had some remodeling done on our old house a few years ago and it just about got me thrown into the loony bin. Noise, dust, constant interruptions, anxiety, budget busting, change orders — it’s enough to make you wish you lived in a cardboard box.

    But this too shall pass. Things’ll get back to normal, and then you can hit your edits running!

    • I think having your house remodelled is what the Chinese call ‘interesting times.’ I can mostly cope without a problem but at the end of last week I had to get out, go somewhere else for the day and recalibrate my sense of perspective. The good news is it worked, at least for now. 🙂

  5. Wow. Going through the same stuff, except for adding an extension, I’ve got my daughter’s wedding happening.
    I’m waiting on beta readers, finishing my ninth novel (formatting, tweaking) approving a cover, trying to write the next book ahead of the thundering critique group, and wondering what the blog is going to be about that will amaze the readers. (Hyperventilating) And let’s not forget marketing…as much as we would like to forget it.

    I’m glad you’re back and totally get what’s happening. I skipped a week last week and the world kept turning. Just keep putting the bum in the seat and typing one word at a time. We’ll get there.

    • Ha! And to think I had it tough. I’d rather go through having an extension than organise a wedding any day. Good luck with all your challenges, Sheron, and if the worst comes to the worst we can always set up our own little support group. 🙂

  6. Sometimes we need to step back to recharge our batteries, so maybe this has been a good ‘break’ for you. I put ‘break’ in quotes because you still have your finger in several writing pies, so even in your less productive times you’re still more productive than many. And I imagine the house renovations are indeed distracting. Always difficult to have people in our house. Good luck getting your mojo back. I have no doubt you will!

  7. Welcome back! 😀 Nice to have you back I love your blog posts, so I’m looking forward to seeing them drop into my inbox :). Exciting to hear about the final instalment too. 😀

  8. I wouldn’t bother with beta readers in the future, Dylan. Or builders. Anyone who knows what to do with an acrow prop must be pretty close to superman in my books. Going by your writing I’m sure you could build a lovely extension . . .

    • I’m afraid to say that my practical talents stretch as far as being able to assemble flat pack furniture but not much further. I can also hang shelves as long as they don’t have to be level …

  9. Good luck, Dylan! Sometimes time away is necessary – the key thing is to get back to it, and it looks as though you’re doing just that. Nothing wrong with taking a break and recharging once in a while, as long as you don’t lose sight of where you want to be. Looking forward to more posts 🙂

    • Thanks, Sue. It’s funny how the desire to write or blog ebbs and flows. I find it always dips when I have a natural break in my process (book with beta readers, publishing the book etc.).
      I’m not sure how active I’ll be with the blogging for the next couple of weeks as I’m doing some major edits but I’ll try my best. I look forward to reading your blogs too!

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