On frustration and lack of progress

Have a rare double post today, because this is how I’m currently feeling (and have been for a week or so) and I just want to get it out. Being a writer is most definitely not all happiness and wonderfulness. I’m struggling, badly: specifically with writing the GreenSky series.

I haven’t written in the world for a year. It’s my own fault; I finished Books 8 and 9 last November and then moved on to other things while my alpha read them. Then I had to finish rewriting Book 6 before my editor would read the next ones, and I put the rewrites off, put it all off…

I was finding it hard then. It’s even harder now. And I’m hating it.

I’m struggling to rewrite Book 6; I’m struggling to get into the story again to understand what needs to change. I’m hating editing Book 7; I’m shouting at the screen and only able to get through two pages of editing notes at a time. It doesn’t help that my editor doesn’t like the book; it shows in every edit note, and because I’m digging my heels in and trying to keep it as it is, I’m frustrated already before I try to edit. And Book 10 is half-finished, roughly plotted but barely written. I just ran out of steam with it.

It’s got no life. It’s not got the joy it had; I’ve been writing darker fiction, and I wonder if that’s a reflection of my current mood. No Man’s Land is dark and sarcastic. GreenSky is delightful. I don’t feel delightful.

I was seriously considering throwing the entire series in the bin. Four books are already published; fine, that’ll do. It doesn’t matter if the rest don’t get published. There’s no big conclusion and no cliffhangers. They’re just nice stories in the same world. No one cares enough about them to be hanging on for the next one, so it’s not like I’m disappointing anyone by not releasing them.

I re-read Book 9 last week when I edited that, and it made me cry. I love that story. I love the writing. That reminded me of the joy that I did feel, writing them. But I loved Book 7, and…I just feel like it’s awful and not worth anything. I re-read Book 6, trying to get back into the story, and just feel lost. The words aren’t coming out. The phrases don’t work. I can’t remember details of the world, the names, the timings, the feelings. They’re only novellas but every word feels like a chore.

I hoped that writing something else (and getting No Man’s out of my head) would help, and then I could go back to GreenSky with a better mindset. I hoped that I would be able to step back into the world. But right now, I can’t. I’m just feeling lost.

Book 5 is done, at least, and that’s the next one due to be published; Books 8 and 9 are mostly fine. So it’s just a rewrite of 6, whatever’s happening with 7, and writing Book 10.

I don’t know if I can do this.

I’m going to find a book to read now anyway, and chocolate; and hope that maybe tomorrow the words come more easily than they have this morning.

Author: kate

Kate Coe is an editor, book reviewer and writer of fiction & fantasy. She writes the sparkpunk GreenSky series and blogs at writingandcoe.co.uk. When she's not working, she fills her spare time in between writing with web design, gaming, geeky cross-stitch and DIY (which may or may not involve destroying things). She also reads far fewer books that she would like to, but possibly more than she really has time for.

2 thoughts on “On frustration and lack of progress”

  1. I’m hanging on for the next one, so I really hope you get through this slump. I think it’s probably natural when you’re writing a long series for you to get bored with it or feel like it’s running out of steam. I’ve felt like that with every book I’ve written! Did your editor say why she thinks it isn’t working?

    1. Thank you! I do have some feedback on Book 7 but it’s just a clash of expectations, I think. I’ve sent it off to The Highest Authority for a second opinion 😉 and everything else, just waiting until I get some steam back!

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