Suffering from Writer’s Block? Take comfort from the following – from the biography of a well-known writer – about her own struggles to put pen to paper.
“…it was not every day that she could write. Sometimes weeks or even months elapsed before she felt she had anything to add to that portion of her story already written.”
Some writers can regularly produce a thousand words a day, but they are in the minority and most of us need to acknowledge there is no shame in putting a project aside until ready to take it up again.
Nor did the above writer’s pain end with lack of inspiration. Even after her work was finally completed to her satisfaction, she bewailed the inevitable disappointment of rejection letters:
“…often not over-courteously worded…and none alleging any distinct reasons for rejection.”
We have all been there. Rejection is bad enough, but if we must be rejected we do yearn for constructive feedback: were the characters weak or was the prose too florid? Did the manuscript need to be cut back, or developed further? Was there anything about it that they liked?
Instead we are all too familiar with:
“I am sorry we don’t feel 100 per cent certain we could sell your book to publishers.”
Or the almost-dismissive:
“If you haven’t heard within 8 weeks, assume not interested.”
Writing is not for the faint-hearted. Sometimes even one’s nearest and dearest reveals lukewarm belief in your writing talent. Here is a conversation between our lady writer and her father. She must surely have been tempted to either flounce out of the room, or throw something at the insensitive man:
Papa, I have been writing a book.
Have you, my dear?
Yes, and I want you to read it.
I am afraid it will try my eyes too much.
But it is not in manuscript: it is printed.
My dear! You have never thought of the expense it will be! It will be almost sure to be a loss, for how can you get a book sold? No one knows you or your name.
If you have not already guessed, our author was Charlotte Brontë and the biographer was Mrs Gaskell. The book in question was Jane Eyre.