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Friday, 9 November 2012

Ian Rankin - Sharing the Fear

Ian Rankin - Image Credit
The other night I felt really fed up, and insecure about my current WIP, questions kept popping up in my mind, was it any good? Why am I writing it? Will I ever finish it?  I HATE THIS BOOK! Tired and weary with the feeling I was wading through thick treacle were stronger than ever, and if I'm honest, I felt like quitting!

 I'd been working on the manuscript for hours, after a tough shift  at the 'day job' and my mind had decided to go into negative mode. I don't usually watch TV, but because I was feeling so low, I sauntered into the lounge and flicked on the screen. Mindless television was looking attractive.

Instead, I found myself at the beginning of a programme called 'Imagine' and if you have time, do take a look, its here on BBC iPlayer until Christmas day. Its especially valid if you're feeling low about your own writing, because this programme follows, Britain's most successful crime writer, Ian Rankin, as he writes his next novel.

It made me realise, that even someone who writes a 'Best Seller' every time, has the same fears, concerns and doubts as you and me. During the programme you'll learn a lot about Ian Rankin and you'll identify with what he says about the writing process.

I'm back on track now. Its still hard, and hateful, and lonely, and yes, I still have fears, and doubts, but now I know I'm not alone, and it makes all the difference.

Let me know what you think?

P.S. Ian's new book, Standing In Another Man's Grave is out now...

24 comments:

  1. I watched this excellent programme yesterday - proof, as if it were needed, that no matter how successful you become, writing a novel can be a long hard slog! It made me feel so much better about my own writing, knowing that Mr Rankin still experiences such insecurities about his work. There's hope yet!

    I'd rate this up there with Steven King's On Writing, as something every aspiring writer should take note of. :)

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    1. I couldn't agree more! Thanks for stopping by David...

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    2. I agree this was a brilliant programme and perfectly timed to inspire my efforts for my first ever NaNoWriMo. I am using Nano as an excuse to get back in to writing again and to start from scratch on my abandoned novel.

      I've just passed the 25,000 word mark and currently feel hopeful of reaching my target in time. Whatever the outcome, I just hope that it will get me back in to the habit of writing everyday.

      David, I also agree about On Writing - my favourite book about writing. I've just finished reading it for the 3rd time as inspiration for my current efforts.

      Thanks for the blog, Maria. I have just subscribed and hope to pop by regularly. I would love an excuse to meet more local writers.

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    3. Hello mrkelly2u, and welcome to the First Draft Cafe. Firstly let me say, well done you! That word count is mighty impressive on day twelve, I know because I've done two NaNoWriMo's myself.

      Sounds like your in the zone, and the words are flying! :-)

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  2. Very good point. I remember it was a while back when author Elana Johnson mentioned something interesting at her blog. To paraphrase, the doubts and fears don't really go away. There's just something new to fear. After publishing, the author now has to live up to doing just as well, if not better, to retain their readership and hopefully build on it. So yeah, we definitely share the fear.

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    1. Yes, I agree, retaining your readership must be a tricky issue. In the meantime Angela, I'l just worry about getting one book out there. Its good to know these are 'normal' feeling though...

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  3. I watched this episode too. Made me feel better about my process (or lack of, as it feels like sometimes).

    mood
    Moody Writing

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    1. I was fascinated in the way in which Ian procrastinates, it reminded me so much of the way I do it!

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  4. Thanks for sharing this Maria, I miss a lot of good TV, but I've downloaded this onto the phone.
    I think every author must doubt their own work - the very first manuscript, and then whether the sequel lives up to it, and so on and so on.
    I can't imagine what sort of person thinks they're writing a masterpiece with not a word out of place - but I'd imagine it would be a 'masterpiece' I wouldn't want to read!

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    1. Good idea downloading onto the phone. Thats my new way of catching up with podcasts etc when I'm in the dentist's waiting room.

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  5. Well that was good timing, finding THAT show to watch at that moment. Universe is trying to tell you something. Been going through a cycle of "this is crap writing" myself lately. But a friend sent me a bunch of quotes by famous authors and artists all saying the same thing about how they doubt everything they do, even after the successes. Sigh. I guess it's just part of the process.

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  6. Exactly what I thought too!

    I like motivational quotes...maybe I'll use one or two more, I usually pin them up at eye level in rooms around the house, or in my car I use 'post it' notes.

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  7. I watch the programme too and love it.... I met Ian at the Crime Writing Festival and he took my breath away. He's so lovely, gentle and kind. Bless him

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    1. I really fancy attending the Crime Writing Festival Paula...you'll have to let me know more about it?




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  8. Thank you for this, Maria. I've downloaded it and started watching. Enjoying it very much. I think fate was trying to tell you something :-) x

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    1. Sometimes I think there is a greater force at work...I woke up the other morning, and decided to change the working title of my novel. Things seem to have got better since. I have no idea where the thought came from...

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  9. I will check that out! I didn't notice the programme was on - very writerly of me, eh? But I do often read writing advice books for a bit of inspiraton when my own humble efforts are not going so well. It's upklifting to know other's have the same fears and worries - even the best of them.

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    1. Pat, I find books on writing really helpful, sometimes I'll go back over something I read years ago, and it'll often give me ideas of how to overcome a particular problem. Likewise, sitting down with a writing buddy and talking it through often helps...

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  10. We all go through cycles and it's difficult to write when you're tired.
    I put a story away that's not working and work on something else for a short while then when I go back to the one that was being awkward, I see it through fresh eyes again.
    I wonder if the program 'Imagine' is available in OZ

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    1. Hello timereader,

      If you click on the link on my blog it should take you directly to BBCiplayer, and you'll know if it will work or not...

      I hope so, because it really is worth a watch...

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  11. Thanks for the tip Maria-shall definitely look up this programme. I love finding out about how authors work. Best of luck with your writing-glad to hear you're back into it again.x

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    1. Thank you Anita, and good luck with your writing too. I think we are both at similar stages.

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  12. Thanks for the link. I've heard big time authors on writing panels and such at conventions express the same fears and doubts. Sometimes I scoff and can't believe it, but I know it's true. It's comforting in a way to know other writers struggle with the same things. Good for you getting back at writing! :) Have a great rest of the weekend.

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  13. Thank you Christine, my progress is very slow, but I feel a lot better about everything now.

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