Sunday, March 28, 2010

The TopTen Reasons Why I Can’t Finish the Damn Book!

When I saw this program title on my chapter website this month, I knew if I never went to another meeting, I HAD to go to this one. After all, I have been fussing about my current wip for so long, I’m even slicing my own cheese to go along with my whine.

So, I dragged my sorry butt out of bed last Saturday and drove fifty miles in the pouring rain because I was so excited. When I got out of my car at the hotel, my umbrella immediately blew inside out with the gusting wind. But I just knew the program would be worth it. The good thing is there were really a lot of great parking spaces up front. I figured maybe the rain had kept a few members home that day.

Can you even imagine how disappointed I was to find out I was there a week early???

Now, it’s not like I just joined DARA and didn’t know the meetings were on the fourth Saturday every month. I’ve been a member for almost eight years.

So, I’m telling you that story so you’ll know how anxious I was to hear the program today, Just Finish the Damn Book, by visiting author, Colleen Thompson.

I prayed she had the magic formula that would get me out of my funk and feeling good about my story. Why else would she come all the way from Houston if not to offer solutions?

Wrong, Kemosabe!! This lovely lady told us that of the seventeen books she has published, she has had doubts two-thirds of the way in EVERY single one of them. She calls her CP up and says “I need to send the advance back” every time.

NO! NO! I didn’t want to hear that. “Fix me,” I wanted to shout from the back of the room.

She went on to say we hit a brick wall when hard work is necessary. In other words, usually we know the beginning and the end, but we’re not sure where our muse is taking us in the middle. We have to work harder. Break those middle chapters down into bite-sized pieces, she said, instead of trying to pound it all out at once.

The best piece of advice she gave was to train yourself for deadlines. Decide how many pages a day/week./month you want to write and treat yourself when you accomplish it. Of course, if you don’t, well you may have to give up something you’d rather not.

I heard all that and will definitely put that deadline thing into practice in the next few weeks. But she had another interesting little exercise she does when she hits the proverbial writer’s block. She makes a list of the top ten reasons why she doesn’t think she can finish. She writes one every time she writes a book, then laughs about it after she’s sent the book off. I decided to give it a shot.

Liz Lipperman's Top Ten Reasons to Send the Check Back

10. What if nobody buys it after it’s published?
9. How will I ever write another one that’s as good?
8.The editor bought the series on proposal. What if she absolutely hates the finished product?
7.I’ve started reading other books from the publisher. Everyone writes better than I do.
6. I’ve run out of plot.
5. I’m stuck in the sagging middle.
4. The book isn’t as humorous as the first three chapters that sold her.
3. The book isn’t as funny as the ghost story she loved.
2. It was a fluke that she offered me a contract. She's trying to figure out a way to take it back as we speak.It's too early to say "April Fools!"

And the number one reason: Everyone will find out I’m a fraud and not a real writer.

Am I laughing yet??

Every one of these can be summed up in one sentence. I am so afraid of failure, I might be trying to sabotage myself. My goal this week is to mentally slap myself up the side of the head and snap out of it. A big help will be that as you read this I am on my way to Vegas for a few days. Woo hoo! I’m taking my laptop so I can see your comments. I plan on getting revitalized and recharged, and come back rich. (I should write fantasy!!)

In the meantime, my advice to you is just to finish the damn book. My advice to me is to practice what I preach.

Oh, and Colleen will be giving this same workshop at Nationals this year. I highly recommend it as there was so much good stuff, I couldn’t possibly hit it all in a blog.

Whaddya think?


Gin said...

I love this idea! I can relate to most of your top ten, except for me, I can't help but wonder whether or not I deserve to be agent-ed. Because I haven't sold yet. I have two current WIPs that are both held up and several others that I've written three chapters of. Hmm. Sounds like I'm starting my own list.

Top Ten Reasons Why I Don't Deserve To Be Agent-ed.

10. I can't find a CP that fits me.
9. My ebooks don't hit best seller lists.
8. My ideas are so out there, I sometimes wonder if my books are as busy as a golfer's pants.
7. My grammar relies on instinct rather than knowledge. I have to look up the terms. "A dangling what?"
6. My background comes out in my stories often, and I'm unsure if the things I say are "acceptable" or too dark.
5. I can't meet my daily goals often.
4. I write in too many different genres.
3. Though I've finished three full length novels, three novellas and a short story, I still feel like I don't finish anything I start because other than writing...I don't. What if that usual truth creeps into my writing career?
2. I can't seem to write without second guessing every sentence anymore.
1. I can't blurb worth a damn!

::Grins:: Oddly. I feel better.

Great post, Liz. Have a blast in Vegas. I wish I were there with ya.

Be safe,

June said...

Oh wow. Some of Gin's items on her list could've been written for me. Liz, your blog is just what I needed. I'll have to make a point to attend the workshop in Nashville.

Win big in Vegas!

Liz Lipperman said...

God, I love you, Gin. Only you can relate to exactly how I feel, but let me offer you some advice. I've read your stuff. Not only do you deserve to have an agent, you, my dear, will be getting an advance check very soon. (And probably wondering, like me, if you should send it back!)

I just read a blog by Allison Brennan
that says the average writer writes FIVE books before selling.

Keep looking for a CP that gets you. She's out there. So what if your ebooks don't hit the bestseller's lists. They mean operating cash for you and your goal is to be a NY Times Bestseller.

As far as grammar, that's what CPS are for. I got a big kick out of your "dangling what?" Knowing one of your genres is erotica, I'm thinking there shouldn't be anything dangling!! LOL

Show me a person that always meets their daily goals, and I'll show you someone who's probably not much fun in a bar.

There's nothing wrong with writing in different genres. If you can pull it off, just do it.

You've already finished two novels. That's more than most writers eve accomplish.

And last but not least, I might not be able to finish my own damn book, but I am the queen of blurbs, so shoot them my way!

Liz Lipperman said...

June, thanks for checking the blog out. Although I haven't read any of your stuff, the fact that you were a GH finalist last year speaks for itself. I guess writers as a whole tend to always second guess their talents.

I wish I could figure out a way to put Sylvia's doll on here. On another loop, a friend made some awesome voodoo dolls when another member was having a problem with someone. They were so adorable, everyone wanted one. So she made a bunch and she sent a picture of one holding a placard that read Liz's Vegas Pot and the doll is holding a twenty dollar bill.

Hot damn! I'm gonna win finally!!

magolla said...

Great list, Liz. . . and Gin! If I thought about it, I'd put a good list together, but my #1 reason?

--Why bother?

I keep getting rejections even after 6 manuscripts, 1 novella, 3 short stories, and 9 easy readers, oh, and written in two very different genres (romance and middle grade).

I'm pretty sure I finally have my genre down (MG), but I need to get my BICHOK this week. I'm tired of this book and want to finish it! Besides, I have another serial short story blog percolating in my pea-brain just in time for Halloween! :-)

Liz Lipperman said...

Okay, y'all are supposed to be cheering me up!!LOL

Margaret, I've also read your stuff and you will soon be published, too. I refer you to my encore blog post of March 12th. You have a LONG way to go to beat Christie Craig!!

Thanks for stopping by. And BICHOK for both of us!!

Gin said...

Lmao! Liz. The best part about the "dangling what" comment? The first time I heard the term since high school was in reference to an erotic I wrote. My initial thought wasn't unlike yours! I couldn't remember any "thing"!

I can't wait for your book, and I have complete faith in you. Seems weird to see how well you write in a blog, which is spontaneous, but question the work that gets 100 times more of your attention and landed you a deal. Your voice transcends books. When you sell on a proposal, its the voice they're really buying I think and you can't screw that up because it's part of who you are. All else can be tweaked until it works.

::hugs:: Miss you. Can't wait to see you!


Anita Clenney said...

Oh, Liz. You just make me laugh. I LOVE the lists, yours and Gin's, and I can so relate. I think all writers find themselves in those lists somewhere. I often find myself thinking I'm not good enough, that the first book was just a fluke. And I totally identify with the "they'll find out I'm a fraud." That's me.

Gin, I'm with you on grammar. I just know it in my head. I can do it, I can't teach it :)

But if you push all that frustration away, you know you are good enough. Christine wouldn't have signed you otherwise. The agent wouldn't have loved your ghost story, which I also loved. I've read part of your Romantic Suspense and I'm telling you right can write!

You too, Gin. Christine wouldn't have signed you if you didn't have potential. Just looking at your lists entertained me. Of course you both can write, and write darned good.

Now if I can practice this in a mirror to myself, I'll be set :)

Liz Lipperman said...

Okay, this is turning into a Mutual Admiration Society, and I love it!!

Gin - hugs for the compliment. I miss you, too.

And Anita - I'm gonna kiss you before I strangle you when I see you. The kiss will be for the compliments that I obviously went fishing for and the strangling is because you are not a fraud. I've read your work, too (Geez! No wonder I can't finish the damn book. I keep reading everybody else's!!) Anyway, I loved your Scottish Warrior and can't wait to see him in print next year (Coming to your local bookstores from SouceBooks.)

You guys are the greatest. My friend who made the voodoo doll for Vegsa for me just sent me one that says - Liz-NY Times Bestseller. With voodoo on my side, how can I miss??

Gin, June, Margaret and Anita - we all need to keep looking into that mirror with affirmations. "I can write as good as Nora. I can write....." Okay, let's not get carried away.

Anonymous said...

Oh my dear beloved sister---ye of so little faith!!!Dont you realize the scope of your smartness? You are so grounded by our world, you are so wonderful with the world and friends and family around you I find it very unusual for you to feel and verbalize the 10 reasons---Ok , so you are a little nervous---what is the worst that can happen???Rule no 1--you can do it--never try and second guess yourself---you are one smart and talented lady, writer, mother, mother-in-law-Nana, wife, aunt, friend and one heck of a sister!!I BELIEVE IN YOU!
Besides, you know I'll buy the damn book ----I'll keep praying little sister---cause I love you and know about your talent!!But I guess its ok to feel , huh, scared!I love you--your big sister! Meatz

Liz Lipperman said...

Okay, now I have tears in my eyes. My big sister just found me on this blog.

Hey, Meatz (Mary Ann) I love you for saying all those things. Well, actually, I love you anyway. Thanks for your encouraging words.

Miss you. Keep coming back and comment. We love avid reader like you.

Lindsay said...

Okay, whose bright idea was it to post on Sunday. No one posts on Sunday. Especially when I just spent the last 10, repeat 10, hours getting the first 100 pages ready to send to an agent you requested this yesterday. She said she wanted them on Monday. Like tomorrow Monday.
Now that I've bitched. No I don't feel any better but it did bring a smile to this word weary face.
I can't think of one reason why I can't finish this damn book. I love the story. It's got great characters and an even better plot. The bad guy is totally rad and wait until you read about Kebi. He's without a doubt the hit of the book.
I gave up thinking negative a long time ago. Wasn't worth my effort. And it's more fun to think positive. That way my w(h)ine glass is never empty.

Lindsay said...

Oh. Forgot one thing. I can't think or type straight now.

Liz Lipperman said...

Lindsay, I am so coming to the east coast to make you eat marshmallow chicks! Who loves their manuscript every minute of the day?? Did you eat spiked brownies at work??

Seriously, get that sucker as polished as you can, and I'll keep my fingers crossed.

And the reason I posted today is because I will be in the Sin City tomorrow.

Lindsay said...

You and what army are going to make me eat those disgusting things. Sorry, don't do spiked brownies.
Who loves their manuscript-ME.
Have fun in Sin City. Try to stay out of trouble. Hehehehe

Kari Lee Townsend said...

LOL Liz....and that is why you got published! You're funny and your books rock! We ALL go through what you are.....hell, I am right now!

Writing a book is scary enough, but finishing a book that's already sold is terrifying! We want to make sure our editors don't regret their decision.....but she's already read one of your finished books and loved it and she loved the partial of this book enough to believe in you.

You WILL finish this book, and it WILL rock! Your cp's will make sure of it, and so will your editor :-))

Cassy Pickard said...

Liz; It's only 8:30 in the morning on the East Coast and you have 16 comments! I think you've touched a nerve here, girl. We all can relate big time to this. I think I wrote a number of weeks ago about "Imposter Syndrome." Maybe that's part of what keeps us going- the fear that if we stop someone might actually see through our game.

Good thing we hang together!

Mary Martinez said...

I read this last night and meant to comment this morning. Sorry.
i love this, your top ten reasons are about identical to mine.

I'm always afraid it's not going to come up to snuff.

Liz have a wonderful time in Vegas. Do not take drinks from strangers you may wake up in a tub full of ice with a major organ gone!

Liz Lipperman said...

Kari, Cassy and Mary, y'all are so supportive. I'm in Vegas (up a little) and believe it or not, I am writing some!!

Mary, I read your comment about losing an organ to my hubby. He turned to me and said, "You writers are a weird breed!!"

I loved it!

Liz Lipperman said...

Gin, talk about a dangling modifier!

My last sentence should have been "I read your comment to my hubby regarding losing an organ. As written, it reads "losing an organ to my hubby."

See you get a grammar lesson in this, plus hubby gets to say he won something since he is so not winning here!!

Gin said...


Liz, it took me four reads to realize what was wrong with that sentence. I'm betting a lot of my modifiers dangle like Tarzan with a bad arm. But with a constant reminder, it will eventually stick.


redebony said...

Hi mysteries and margeritas i totally feel exactly where your coming from. My problem is that i dance around the initial idea. I talk it up so much till when it gets down to writing the actual novel or story, it rarely has been completed. I consume myself with things like marketing, start visualises the sports car i'll be driving after i've completed my novel and all the people i'll wag my fingers at and say. Look at me now.I love writing, but as soon as i tell someone about it, it's like the passion creeps away somewhere. Now i'm learning things though. Like writing is not the ease and glamour it's made out to be it's hard work, and i've never really been a huge fan of hard work, but i believe i will get published. I just need to write the damn thing !!

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