Do you remember the last time your life went according to plan?
Yeah, me neither.
In January I launched this website and blog with the same New Years-resolution energy that inspires most people to quit smoking, start exercising and lose those pesky pounds.
And then, life happened. At the end of February, both my paternal grandparents died as a result of covid-19, after just having lost my other maternal grandmother 3 months before. My already shaky mental health got dealt another blow when I received a personal medical diagnosis at the beginning of March, and around the same time, my mother and I were contacted by someone who turns out to be my late grandmother’s illegitimate child, who was given up for adoption somewhere during the 1960s.
My life currently looks a lot like one of those awfully written soap-opera’s from the nineties.
It has caused me a great amount of stress and I’m struggling to put pen to paper -or rather- fingers to keyboard. While my critique partner and best friend is blazing away with her writing and drawing and general awesomeness, I have nose-dived into the biggest writers-block I’ve ever experienced. There was a point in the last few months where I wanted nothing more than to throw in the towel and feel very sorry for myself.
Because not writing every day makes you a wannabe. A failure. Not a future best-selling author.
Or at least, that’s what social media likes to bombard at me. And I started to believe it…
Until this morning, when I picked up the 10th Anniversary edition of The Name of the Wind, by Patrick Rothfuss. I’ve read many lofty reviews about this book, but I hadn’t started reading it yet because…well, A Court of Silver Flames happened which lead to me needing to devour more romantic-fantasy-smut, and resulted in me buying the entire Bargainer series by Laura Thalassa. Anyway, I digress.
Like any world-building nerd, before I started reading Patrick Rothfuss’ fantastic tome, I opened the 10th Anniversary Edition at the back. I was pleased to find pages about his monetary system, complete with beautiful sketches; a world calendar with detailed description about how the days work and their influence on religion and corruption; and the obligatory pronunciation section which made the linguist in me purr contentedly. But what struck me most, was Patrick Rothfuss’ author note, in which he explains that the beautifully rich and detailed world he created took him +/- thirteen years to write, starting in 1994, until it was published in 2007.
That number would’ve discouraged many authors from ever attempting to write something as vast as The Name of the Wind, but to me, it gently blew life into the smouldering embers of the dreams I thought had been buried underneath the ashes of my self-pity. Because what he did, and Tolkien before him, are exactly what I want to do. And yes, I still want a certain level of romantic-fantasy-smutness that I enjoy reading myself, but I also want my world to be vast and deep and feel like they are real. I know Tolkien took a long time to write LotR, but I’ve seen plenty of authors churn out lively worlds with dazzling speed. To know Patrick Rothfuss took his time somehow put everything back into perspective…
So what if I can’t draft a book in three months? So what if it might take two years, or maybe even three before I can start editing?
My goal is to publish my book. My series. And many more to come. But beating myself up for not being an author tomorrow, has stopped me from being a writer today.
So for now, I’m going to grab a cup of tea and disappear into my hermit reading cave with The Name of the Wind.
When I resurface, I’m going to chisel at my own story one word at a time.
One drawing at a time.
One deep and life-like detail at a time…