I must share this with you. Writing IRKADURA, my 3rd novel, has been quite a trip. I thought I know what I'm doing. Oh my God! I'm writing my 3rd book! Holy shit, I'm so fucking experienced! Turns out, I know nothing. I've gone through periods of loving it, hating it, wanting to share it with the whole world, wanting to burn my laptop in the oven, wanting to quit writing altogether, then deciding not to, adding a whole magical realism layer to the 2nd draft, rearranging chapters out of order, spending up to 9 hours writing 2K words when my normal writing speed is about 3K words in 4 hours, and on, and on, and on. I do know that whatever it takes, I will finish it, but man, I tell you, one thing I learned is that I don't want to go back to my past, I'm over it. One of the biggest problems I'm having is forcing myself to go back to that time when I was a runaway, when I was 17 and pregnant and not knowing where I would live and what would happen, when the country around me crumbled, people were shot in the streets, buildings were on fire, governments kept changing, pensioners were protesting and waving Soviet flags in hopes that communism can come back and Stalin can straighten everything out, gays were persecuted, Jews were hated, as was anyone not white and not of Russian blood, people lost homes and their life savings overnight. I must catch my breath here, there is so much, it won't fit into one blog post, and a lot of it is still prevalent today.
I didn't want to write this book. I was in the middle of writing ROSEHEAD, and I got inspired by a fellow writer who was astounded to hear my adolescence stories and said I must write it, so I did. I'm glad I did, but sometimes I hate the fact that I started because now I can't quit. I want to write funny books, absurd books, books with dark humor and blood and weird magic and strange beasts that live according to my rules. I don't want to go back to ruminate on Russia of the 90's, the political apathy, indifference, fatalism, stagnation, helplessness, wooden faces of people who have lost faith, the monotony of daily life, the shallow sidelined heartless characters that have forgotten how to love and seek only to destroy. It's gut wrenching, it's soul rending, it makes me cry every day writing it, instead of laughing. And I wanted to share the lesson I learned in this experience, the lesson I'm still learning. There is a difference between an amateur and a professional. My impulses to quit were amateurish. I thought I could't write something I didn't want to. But the fact that I persevered tells me that I'm not an amateur anymore. Actually, I can write a book about anything, about sex-crazed rhinos possessing Africa, about zombies turning into poisonous butterflies and infecting every lepidopterist in Switzerland, about Stalin having an affair with Lenin, or about Lenin having an affair with Marx, or about aliens living in every kitchen cupboard disguised as cookies. I mean, I'm going crazy here, but the fact remains. I can write about anything, only writing about something I don't want to write will be very fucking hard.
Every book a writer writes is a reflection of the inner state that writer is in at the time. When I was depressed and in a lot of pain, I wrote SIREN SUICIDES, my first trilogy, which I really count as one book. Writing IRKADURA has felt the same in that regard, but I'm no longer there. I'm happy. What I'm learning about writing the book I don't want to write is that it's similar to acting. I'm getting better and better at putting myself into that state from the past, remembering what it felt like. That's why it took me whole 9 hours to write 2K words. It was hard for me to get into character, but once I did, it was easy. Same with you. That little annoying thing called writer's block. You're not really blocked, you simply don't know how to or can't get into your character for one or another reason. There is really only one way around it, to write a lot, every day, to sit in front of the blank screen and stare at it until the words start coming. Only by powering through it you will learn how to get over it.
Here is the funny thing that happened. By realizing that IRKADURA is the book I don't want to write, I got so upset that I have decided to make it into the book that I do want to write. In fact, I'm starting to love it more and more, the more I write it. I have added strange beasts and strange dark clouds and strange scary shit to it that has made the book mine. It didn't feel mine, it was suggested by someone else, but it's becoming more and more mine, the more I write it. I think overall this will be an invaluable experience for me and perhaps for every writer to go through. Don't think too much about what to write. Write the first thing that comes to mind. Write a novel about pink ponies, I dare you. Why? Because by writing a lot of shit you will learn who you are as a writer. You will learn what kind of stuff you like to write, what kind of stuff you hate to write, and the more you write the stuff you love, the better your books will get, the more people will read them and love them as much as you do. But how will you know what it is you love doing without ever trying it? There you go, that's the solution for that writer's block for you.
DON'T THINK. WRITE. FINISH WHAT YOU STARTED. THE REST WILL COME WITH TIME.
Oh, also, now I'm dying, simply dying to write BOOK JUMPER (yeah, I think I will rename it from PAGE TURNER cause it's too cliche), because it's the book I want to write, because it will have dialogue like this (3 boys and 1 girl get lost, they're about 12 years old, this is 1 girl and 1 boy talking):
Bells and Peacock plopped on the ground because there was nothing else to do but sit and wait. Peacock sighed. "I hate myself."
"I hate you more." Said Bells and kicked a stone.
Peacock stared at her. "How can you tell if you hate me more?"
"How do you know how much you hate yourself?"
"I don't know."
"Then you can't reasonably argue with me whether or not I hate you more than you hate yourself or not." She picked up a handful of stones and threw them with such force that something in her shoulder clicked.
Peacock's mouth had dropped open.