[Thoughts] On Writing and Fighting Demons

So, it happens again.

I’ve published a book two weeks ago. I have a new story on the go, and a long-time co-writing project I love.

I have three notebooks filled with ideas/structures/character’s details on sticky notes.

 And yet every time I set myself to write every night after work, as I planned, my Word page is desperately blank.

 “Come on” I whisper, “Come on, it’s only 700 words a day, as you promised yourself.”

My heart breaks. It’s not even a « figuratively speaking » thing. I am genuinely in pain not being able to write a single sentence.

I know some tricks about the way I write : I need a level zero (you know, like the times you train Lara Croft in her manor before leaving her in the infamous Venice stage…). I need to write whatever comes to my mind before jumping into the story. So I try really hard to write new ideas, new sentences to keep the flow going. Of course it’s never really good, but it’s something, I guess.

But the magic is hard to catch. Fighting with words is a thing. Fighting against them is terrible.

 “Come on”. Clenched teeth, and the familiar burning tears in my eyes.

And this is when it happens. The self-hating.

« You’re a fake. » my Word page yells. « Look around you, they’re all working. You don’t do anything. You’re nothing more than a fraud. »

 I compare this to the way I looked at myself in the mirror when I was a teenager, spitting words I could never say to my worst enemy. « You’re useless. You’re disgusting.

You’re nothing. »

I can’t help but thinking this voice in my head is right. After all, every writer I know (aspiring, established, etc.) sticks to a real discipline, a real routine.

 I question myself a lot. Am I good enough? Do I want this for real? Why don’t I quit and accept I’m not the one I want to be?

 I often say I write to conjure my demons, whatever they are. But these ones are really hard to defeat.

It’s a tough job, being at peace with my own self.

Words and swords, fighting back. I write these little thoughts and I feel better. The knots in my stomach disappear. I breathe easier. I am calm.

Demons are back to sleep, away in their dark place.

And then one of my characters knocks, saying “I have some stuff for you and you have to keep me alive. Do your job”

Back to my draft. I have a world to build and fears to conquer.

I win.

For now.

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