Why I don’t write #2: Lack of stamina

Sitting down to write something, some fictional glimmer that’s struck me that day or been sitting with me for days, weeks, occasionally months, and I find it difficult to get beyond a few pages. Then I give up. Because obviously, when I think about great writers and their work that makes me want to cry with inadequacy,, in my head they wander to their garden office (on the wishlist) with their morning cup of tea, and write furiously, all day long. They produce beautiful sentences which grow and change into glorious paragraphs, tense and exciting chapters, until finally, a finished novel sits on their screen, ready to be sent to their eager agent.


Of course it is. I know it is. Writers vary hugely in their outputs, but whatever they write is the product of weeks and months, not a few hours in front of a typewriter or notepad. Word counts are a subject for another time, but when some writers take years to finish a novel, my giving up before I reach a week seems laughable.

Novels are heavy lifting. Even short stories require a bit of effort, after all. Multiply that not only by word count by complexity of plot and structure, and being upset that you can’t finish a novel in a short time is like going into a gym and being  put out that you can’t bench press your bodyweight or run a marathon on the treadmill. But you can lift the next weight up. And you can run a mile, however slowly.

So, the lack of stamina? Needs practise, that’s all. You don’t write lots by refusing to start writing. You write lots by getting on and accepting that for now, it’s the next kilo that matters, that’s all.


What do you think?