by Katy Evans
Since REAL debuted last year and found its way into many of your loving eyes and hands, I’ve gotten so many emails from all of you. I read every single one I also try (though sometimes fail) to answer to every single one. Many of these emails are about Mental Health, because as you know, my hero from REAL, Remington Tate, battles with a real, devastating, and misunderstood condition that it still incurable today. He is bipolar, and he is the most special, heart-wrenching and heart-robbing hero I have ever written.
Some of your other emails also wander into the writing territory. I think ALL writers begin as writers, so many of you have books in your hearts and in your heads that you want to write, but you might feel completely overwhelmed by where to start? Or you start but have no idea how to get yourself unstuck from a plot problem….
So, let me tell you, writing requires patience and persistence. There is no other way to write a book. Some books are easier than others. I wrote REAL in 21 days! But I had to write the book twice, from page one to the last, when I wrote ROGUE – so that book took about five months because my hero, Greyson King, did not like my first story at all! Both REAL and ROGUE are stories that I just completely resonate with. It’s sometimes about luck, labor, outside influences (either helping or disturbing you). Writing is just not about the story you are going to write but about also about you.
Every writer I have ever known has their tussle with Writer’s Block. Some of us more than others. I think the first time I remember having Writers Block, I was only starting to write, full of ideas and ambition. Probably too much ambition. In my mind, I thought I’d sit down at fourteen, without any experience, and write the greatest book ever. Little did I know to write a book I would love enough to want to share, I’d have to write lots of shitty ones. And plenty of incomplete ones too. I could say that it wasn’t fun, but actually, it was. Kind of. Writing has always been fun. It’s frustrating to hit a wall and not go where you want to, but writing in itself has always been like playtime, a land of make believe, where everything goes and you’re boss. So why do we sometimes get these dreaded blocks? A lot of writers agree that Writers Block is nothing more than fears. Fears holding you back. Fear of success. Fear of failure. Fear of what people will think. Fear of being vulnerable.
I think that when I started writing, I was at that stage where you have no idea what the stakes are – wait, what stakes? There were no stakes. Writing was just for me. But when you put something out for the world to see, in a way, that initial “just for me” changes to “just for us”. Because you become aware of the impact your words can have on people – on your readers. You become aware of an invisible, powerful connection between you (author) and you (reader). You worry, like with a new, budding relationship, whether this is “true” love and lasting. You worry if your new relationship will break if you take the wrong step. And you start to wonder if maybe you need to play it safe with your writing? And that moment when you’re setting all these walls around your muse – ‘no! Don’t go there, that’s too risky! What if our new love affair will break if I do this?!’ – that is the moment when she – the lovely muse who used to play with you all day – stops talking to you.
So how to deal with it?
One of the things that has most stuck with me (when reading books on the topic, because, yep! I’ve had to read them too!) has been to be true to yourself. You’re never going to please everybody, and you’ll never be happy if you change yourself to try to please someone else, and the truth of the matter is: if you’re not happy and if you’re not yourself, your art will suffer. By staying true to who you are, what you believe in, the stories in your head and the characters talking to you, you ensure that the relationship you form from author to reader and reader to author will be real. Not based on a fake you or who you think you need to be. Somehow a marvelous thing has happened already, and though both authors and readers are strangers in different cities and countries, we established bonds. We ‘get’ each other. Do your readers justice and don’t hold back from who you are and what you love and how, exactly, you lived that story.
I’ve read three amazing books that have always gotten me out of my Writer’s Block. I highly suggest that, for those of you who write and are struggling to get past your first chapters, or back to your original idea, or just tend to find yourself procrastinating, check these wonderful books out.
There’s nothing more frustrating than having a story that wants to come out just come out and slam against our own walls of doubts and insecurities. Writers are meant to be writers. So, write! 🙂