So my first published novel is releasing in September. It’s been done for a year. I started a new one, like people told me I should. Procrastinated. Launched a web page with nothing on it, because I only have one book and it’s not out yet. Blogged a bit. Bought Scrivener and an expensive tutorial from a guy who’s making his living marketing tech skills instead of writing. Watched about an hour of it and figured I’d do better if I just dived in and figured it out myself. Spent more time playing with the new program than actually writing. Moved stuff around in the new novel and changed the whole premise. Didn’t like it any better than the first go-round. Watched a bunch of motivational podcasts from successful authors who wanted to help me craft a best-seller for only $700.00. For the cheap package. The deluxe versions ran in the thousands. Nope.

 I didn’t do any of this stuff while writing the first book! It just came to me. I didn’t put any pressure on myself. It was all joy: writing it, playing with it, sharing it, dreaming about it. What happened to me?

I’ll tell you what happened. I got sucked into this vortex of the marketing business and writing what will “sell,” and it took me away from the actual business of creation, the delight of discovering the story in every face I encounter, every song I hear, every tear I cry. I have a zillion stories in my head, and I blocked them by analyzing them to death and rejecting every plot that wasn’t perfect. I stopped playing with them, stopped having fun. If the idea wasn’t expertly crafted as my fingers hit the keys, out it went.

And then it happened. Minor character from the first novel comes into his own. Starts a nonprofit to educate disadvantaged kids. One of them worms his way into his heart and his life. Steals a box of letters from him, letters from the protagonist’s dead brother, and convinces himself and everyone else that he is the dead man’s son, abandoned at birth by a single mom. Who, of course, is in love with the protagonist and has never told him about the child. Why? Does she think he’ll reject her? Does she want to hold on to her free-spirited lifestyle without the burden of parenthood? Or was there never a child in the first place, as she claims?

Time to get back to actually writing. Yes!

About Nancy Massand

My debut novel, The Circle Unbroken, was released in September 2019. I live and teach in NYC. As empty nesters my husband and I enjoy the city and the beach in equal measure, but nothing beats spending time with our nine grandkids.
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6 Responses to Stuck

  1. sueberger3 says:

    You go, girl. That sounds fabulous. I am so happy you got out of “write will sell”
    Do you want s blog spot in September or October?

  2. Sure! How do I contact you? Probably October is best.

  3. Lori Ludlow says:

    I’m already excited about this new novel! How many years later does it take place? (guessing it’s a younger brother, you’re writing about?)
    See you in September!

    • Hi Lori! It’s about 12 years later, and it’s Israel’s story. The kid’s mom is Chan, the bohemian designer who did the “gown” at Mavis’ and Harris’ makeshift wedding. And the father? Kid says it’s Jacob. Chan says it’s not. What’s your vote?

  4. Writing what will sell never works. Write what you love!

  5. Thanks for sharing your story. I used Scrivener when I wrote my Master’s Thesis – and I used it the same way you described it in your post – lots of moving around of stuff and not much creation! Glad you found a narrative thread that will give you joy when you write it. Mazel tov. – Greig

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