To George RR Martin,
I just watched the season finale of Game of Thrones. I am in awe, and in love, and possibly hate you with a tiny piece of my heart. I am everything that a fan of such a fandom can be. You have created this world, this amazing place, and you have shared it with us. And for that, I am thankful. They always say that many read as an escape. Escaping to your world, while dangerous if real, is truly wonderful.
I recently read several posts about you asking Stephen King about how on earth he manages to write so many books. Facing backlash from not being able to finish “The Winds of Winter” on time, I know that you have dealt with your fair share of crazy, upset fans. Who knows what people have said to you. Lord knows we aspiring writers have often heard the advice of “Writers write. Pick a time. Sit down. Write words, rather they be good or bad.” I’ve lived on the quote that for us writing is breathing. And it’s often true.
And other times writing is not as easy as breathing. It can be hard, and painful, and I just plain stop. I have an unfinished novel. I’ve been working on it for four years. It is probably not even half way done, as I rewrote the whole dadgum thing after changing the viewpoint. Then I realized it had a fatal flaw, and just completely stopped early this year. Recently I dreamed up another novel, actually fully plotted this one out, wrote about 5000 words and hit a brick wall. I feel as if I need more research. I am unsure if my characters have enough “voice.” I remember the B’s and C’s I received in creative writing classes in college, and the times I did not win contests. All of that overshadows everything good thing I have heard about my writing. And that does not even matter, as much. My self-doubt wins for the day. And the writing waits.
You asked Stephen King if he never had a bad day, a day where he felt he had no talent, and thought maybe you screwed up and should have been a plumber or something. All I can say is, I am so glad you did not. You have given your readers (and/or watchers) an amazing gift in this world you have created. Whatever demons you have battled to get this far, thank you for winning those fights. Thank you for the rewrites, for the tweaks, and the words and the hours you have spent writing.
But more than anything else, thank you for showing me that you can be successful without writing every day. I have tried to do this. I have tried to push myself through bad days and just get words on paper. It is not how I function, apparently. I lay here, trying to sleep before getting up early to go to work, and I failed. Because I was thinking of that episode. I was thinking of your books. I remembered that conversation. And I finally realized that maybe I do not have to push myself the way I have been over the past year. Oh yes, it would be wonderful if every day I could sit down at a certain time and just write. I am not, however, financially able to be a full time writer. I have nothing published. I must work. I actually love my work. I have a husband and a toddler. Life happens. I’m tired of feeling guilty because I just could not write that day. Or that I chose snuggling with my son over writing on my laptop. That I may not have the talent necessary to call myself a “writer” or an “author.”
I am tired of feeling like I must not be a writer because I cannot write every day. You, sir, are an aspiring writer of unfinished novel’s dream come true. Thank you for writing when you can. Thank you for pushing past your fears, and giving us this world that you dreamed, that you created, that you labor over. Spend the days enjoying your fame, and talking to fans. Ignore the haters. Write when you can, and as a reader of your books I do hope as often and quick as you can.
But as writer who finds it often times hard to write, Thank You for being honest about your process. Thank you for not bowing down to deadlines and standards and common practice and churning books out like butter. I feel that they would not be what we wanted, anyways. As you say, they would not be the best you could make them. It may have been easier for you as a writer, and me as a reader, to be able to write every day and get them published.
Good luck writing,
A Writer Who Knows Nothing