Judi Coltman: When You Hate the Book You’re Writing

It’s not uncommon for writers to experience intermittent loathing for the books they’re writing.

I hate the one I’m working on because it forces me to recall unpleasant details of my search my mother’s money—and it shines a spotlight on previously unknown tensions in my small immediate family.

However, writer Judi Coltman, author of Is It Just Me? or Is Everyone a Little Nuts?, is unhappy with her published book in a completely different way. Here’s what she says about it.

“I don’t hate my book itself. I only hate it because, being my first book, I chose a genre that is easy for me. I have always been known as a humor writer. My blog is a humor blog; it’s pretty much who I am. But, the truth is, I write in many genres. I just haven’t published a book in any other genre.

“Everyone expects another humor book. I now understand actors who fear type casting! But I have moved on to a a project that is more about writing than about making fun of myself. It’s in a much more challenging genre. Now that I am working on a murder mystery, I find myself struggling with the voice, my readers, and the whole concept. I second guess myself, asking, “Am I making a mistake?” And I get to a point where I wonder if I should scrap my mystery and write more humor.”

Judi’s book, Is It Just Me? or Is Everyone a Little Nuts? is available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble, and on Kindle.

Read more from Judi at her delightfully honest blog, My Life in a Nutshell. Follow her on Twitter @JudiColtman.

If you can hardly stand the sight of your manuscript these days, you might be interested in When You Hate the Book You’re Writing, Part 1.

To read about another writer who’s hating her book, please see also “When You Hate the Book You’re Writing, Part 3.” She’s got strategies to help her keep working on her manuscript. And I promise to share the ones I use to make myself continue writing My Mother’s Money.

Please leave a comment if you hate the book you’re writing.

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5 thoughts on “Judi Coltman: When You Hate the Book You’re Writing

  1. Hi Lynette! I really applaud you for working through the hard times of MMM – a memoir that really needs to be told but understandably is taking a lot out of you emotionally, and perhaps otherwise.

    I struggle with this same effect with my own writing, not as much with the wellness work, but the science fiction has some rather autobiographical elements so there are often scenes that are excruciatingly painful to write. Often I won’t even know why I’m having a negative response to my own writing, or why I’ll come up against a solid wall of writer’s block until I step back and see the connections between what I’m writing and my own life.

    Seeing the connections and remembering to be kind to myself in terms of having some perspective on the distance between the events that are painful that were real and the events that I’m creating in order to explore the same, is critical to my mental, physical and spiritual health. Perspective also includes a reminder to myself that the reason I create these scenes is because I _need_ to – I need to relive the past so that it can be put to rest, so that I can understand it better. Or perhaps I can’t understand all of it but I _can_ understand the impact of events on me. After all, there are always things in the world that we can’t understand, especially other people – but we can understand and change ourselves. And those of us who write – who _must_ write – we write in part to accomplish these changes and moments of understanding through our writing. Even if that does mean hating our writing and/or working through pain to get there.

    We strong – and we get stronger through our words. And others benefit similarly from our words as well. 🙂 Hope my rambling is helpful. Big hugs!

  2. It seems so many of us struggle with worrying about the expectations of others. I have decided to try really hard not to allow my subconscious mind focus on what others expect. Your post reminded me of this. Thanks!

  3. Thank you *so* much, Naya. First, it’s always helpful to know we don’t struggle alone, that other writers are out there, turning out the words and telling their stories, although their stomachs are in knots.

    We do write to put our awful ghosts to rest, and also to warn (i.e., educate) others. It forges a connection and makes me feel part of a wonderful community. I hold writers in a special place in my heart—always.

    Your comment has made me want to read your sci fi! So, put your head back down and get back to the writing. You’ve got an audience of at least one who’s waiting for your story.

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