You guys say the key to being an author is to love the grind. And while I love writing I have a hard time getting to the finish line. I usually hop around to new projects leaving half finished worlds behind in my wake like a serial world killer.
I recently challenged myself to just write the book, set up a spread sheet to track my progress and everything. Only, now I hate the plot. I love the characters, I love the universe… But I hate the central conflict of the book and find myself wanting to abandon it.Lyra
This was in the comments, and when I asked some follow up questions, I got this:
This is a sci-fi book, and in broad strokes; one planetary government is trying to take out rival planets with what amounts to bioterrorism, and the herione stumbles upon the plot and has to stop it. But I’m getting caught up in the ‘does it make sense that they could get away with this unseen for long enough to weaponize this?’ and ‘does the science of this bioweapon make sense?’.
And I guess, digging deeper into it… Maybe I just feel like the plot is just not good enough. That maybe it’s a tad on the juvenile side.
And then a couple of people jumped in explaining the bio-weapon science.
I’ve asked some questions, which Lyra hasn’t answered and I want to highlight them here.
What are your favorite scenes that you’ve written?
What’s the easiest to write?
What scenes do you look forward to and they almost don’t feel like work?
Let me be very clear: when I say you have to love the grind, I don’t mean force yourself to write something you hate.
Writers under contract end up writing things they hate with depressing regularity. This happens because we are human. Writers are essentially contractors. Job security is a rare thing for us as a group. We like the safety net of a multibook contract. A contract is a guarantee that no matter what happens in the book world, you get a certain amount of money when you turn the book in to the publisher. So we end up signing contracts for 3 books, let’s say, and ideally we turn in a book every 9-12 months and get scheduled contractual payments over the next 3 years.
But writing isn’t like making widgets. Writing is influenced by life. The writing environment plays a role. Right now, for example, the percentage of authors who are late on their books is bigger than anyone has ever remembered in the industry. We had a pandemic. It took a toll.
The inspiration plays a role. In essence, each book is a snapshot of the writer’s mind at that particular segment of their life. When you open a book, you are travelling back in time. Magic Burns was written by Gordon and Ilona Andrews 2007 while Magic Triumph was written by Gordon and Ilona Andrews 2017. That’s a decade of new experiences, new life trials, tragedies, victories, children growing up, older relatives dying, and so on.
It means that the writer who signed a 3 book contract in 2020 is not the same writer who will have to write the final book in 2022. They might have moved on creatively. They might be fatigued by deadlines. They may feel that the contract is inadequate. The pressure from the fans or the publisher might be killing the project. It’s hard to write when all you can think about is getting the book done as fast as you can because you “owe” it. Nobody likes to write as fast as they can. We all want to write the best book we can.
There is a host of reasons why professional writers write the books they hate.
If you don’t have a contract, there are zero reasons why you should be forcing yourself write something you dislike. Zero.
Writing comes from the place of play. In its pure form, it’s compulsive. If you starts strong, you’re excited, you look forward to writing every day, and then you start actively hating it, you’ve made the wrong turn somewhere.
Wrong turns come in many varieties. Here are three most common ones and sometimes the problem is a combination of all three.
Something somewhere isn’t making sense and your subconscious is standing on your brakes until you fix it. This is a common issue. It happens to established writers all the time. We are just better at recognizing it. The common symptom is that you are either bored with the next several scenes you must write or you feel out of your depth, like you are floundering. Sometimes it feels like you are a child who is suddenly trying to do something very adult. It’s incredibly frustrating and will make you cranky.
The cure for this is going back in the narrative and finding the last scene that makes you feel good. Now get yourself a large piece of paper and lay out your plot structure from that scene. Okay, now go do dishes or fold laundry. Don’t write. Don’t fix. Let it percolate. Chances are in about 24-48 hours, the problem will resolve itself in your head. Sometimes it might take longer, but it will happen. You’ve put yourself under pressure, and when the resolution pops up, it will feel liberating. You should be reenergized.
This happens much more often than people think. Suppose you are writing a thriller. You have this whole thing with secret agents and government conspiracy, and it feels just unwieldy. The story sits there like this massive amorphous blob that you somehow have to drill your way through. There is too many moving pieces. It’s overwhelming.
Ask yourself which scenes were your favorite to write. What is easy? If your favorite scene are where the heroine is flirting with her girlfriend and they seem to write themselves, you might be a romance writer. You might be forcing yourself down the thriller path for no reason at all.
Look at your book in its entirety and figure out which scenes almost wrote themselves. Now restructure your plot and character arcs to have as many of those fun scenes as possible. If you have a side character that you just can’t get enough of and that steals the scene every time, perhaps his story should be the main story. If you are trying to write a cozy mystery, but what you really like is flirting with the possibility of the paranormal, you may need to write an urban fantasy instead.
Writing must be fun. It’s still work, but it should be fun.
Sometimes you are tired. You are emotionally exhausted. Things happened outside of your control, and writing, which once was an escape, now feels like a horrible chore. You just don’t have it in you. And you are terribly bitter because you are frustrated with your work stalling and here is this stupid author who has another book out and it’s dumb, and why won’t anyone just give you a freaking chance? Why can’t you finish anything? Why?
Take a vacation from writing. Give yourself at least 2 weeks – a month is better – and watch and read as much as possible. Feed the brain. Look at art, read comics, try new TV shows, read – only if it doesn’t make you grind your teeth – and go outside. Your brain runs on input from your environment. You can’t make new things out of nothing. You have to put something in for your brain to process without the pressure of doing it right away.
It’s very important to process. I have been thinking about 2 particular books for about 3 years now. I don’t have the spot in my schedule to write them, but it doesn’t mean that I’ve abandoned them. It’s okay to think about things without immediately launching into writing them. Allow yourself to breathe and imagine with no strings attached.
Let your mind wander. I wish you happy daydreams. May they be many, colorful, and strange.
Thanks for the insight in writing……
loads of stories running in my head building from your world and other authors… just love continuing the story in my head while waiting for a new book 🙂
The stories stays in my head 🙂
Have a great productive week ahead you two
Thank you for your wonderful insights, I would say that Part 3 applies to all of us dealing with the stresses of the past year+.
+1 And stresses of other times as well. This is similar to what Stephen R. Covey called “sharpening the saw”. Point being that the saw gets dull with use, and you have to stop using it in order to sharpen it.
My job requires a lot of scientific/technical writing and I can attest that the solutions to the three ‘wrongs’ work. Well, at least #1 and #3 – I’m kind of stuck with my genre until I retire ????
You and me both Buckaroo! Right now I am imaging my study deviations as urban fantasy…
Deviation 1: analyzer x was not working, therefore analysis z was not done
Reason for the deviation: a malignant imp from another dimension used a random shift in the time/space horizon to enter the laboratory and drink all of the sheath fluid in the analyzer under the mistaken impression that the sheath fluid was 90 proof rum.
Effect of the deviation: Catastrophic, at least for the imp, as it was allergic to 0.9% saline 😉
Love this! Although I’m not sure your drunken imp doesn’t really exist; they would explain a lot of clinical lab equipment failures. Flow imps are the worst imps ????
Can – can we get this as a short book? Just technician notes on lab equipment issues with fantasy elements as the cause of the issues? Because this sounds like a blast, I’d read the hell out of it, and it would get me looking into all kinds of lab equipment and what it does…
Maybe once I retire in September!
This is most excellent.
Donna A says
Ooh, this reminds me of a series I read years ago. I cannot remember for the life of me, it was one of those transposed to a fantasy universe ones but not Christopher Stasheff. Oh, heck it’s really going to bug me.
Anyway I’m sure there was Maxwell’s demon and maybe even Murphy or something and they would manifest as actual imps.
Argh, what was it called??!!!!@#**!
Donna A says
It was Christopher Stasheff – I’m such an idiot!
It’s the Wizard in Rhyme series – I knew it wasn’t the Warlock series so that put me off him being the author. There’s a couple of science references as magical devices if I recall. Poetry too.
This is awesome info. Sent along to my writer friends ❤️
There are so many reasons to love you guys. I think the time and care you freely give advice (when you can) to fledgling writers is tops on my list. <3
So true and what makes them heroes and saints in my books. Between the humor, glimpses into their life and real life help sessions, they are up their on the list of evloved and compassionate humans. Thank you house Andrews.
Thank you so much for sharing this! I love learning about the writing process.
Your very kind with your help and support to struggling writers (and to all of us, really!) and it is appreciated. ????
I second this! Your support is very appreciated, it calms me ????
Patricia Schlorke says
You mentioned that writing is influenced by life. Well…I have an article for everyone from the BBC. Two naked men were sunbathing on a beach in Australia when they were startled by a deer. They ran into the bush and were arrested for COVID-19 violations. When I saw the headline, I laughed so hard. It brought me back to Kate trying to find a winged horse, talking with Beau Clayton about it, and Beau telling the story. Too bad there weren’t any Girl Scouts to subdue the interlopers in the Australian bush. 😀
For anyone interested in a very good laugh this is the link to the BBC article: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-57634166
That was funny thanks. I’m off to google why anyone would run from a deer .. maybe Australian deer are more agressive? In Canada the deer run from us.
Bill from nk says
It seems like everything in Australia is dangerous or deadly, so that wouldn’t be a surprise *lol”. Wouldn’t be surprised if Australian deer had 6 inch fangs and spit poison….
Depending on the time of year, deer can be pretty dangerous, especially bucks in rut or defending their herd of does.
‘”It’s difficult to legislate against idiots,” NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller said…’
Can I get a witness?
Patricia Schlorke says
I can hear Beau Clayton saying that in the back of his mind. ????????????????????
I’m in Victoria Australia, checked out the article cracked me up, the police commissioner summed it up nicely
I really resonate with all of this. For decades I thought, “I can do this. I can write a great romance novel.” Eventually, self-publishing allowed me to write the novels I’d always wanted to read, so I did. Then I discovered some truths about my own writing. First, I didn’t have the recipe for the secret sauce. My favorite books have the basics: great characterization, clear writing, good pacing, and a sturdy plot. I could do all of that. But in romances, there’s a zing in the best books, and I didn’t (and don’t) know how to make that sauce. Second, I wrote everything I wanted to write and didn’t (and don’t) want to write more. Third, no one was clamoring for my books. I don’t consider any of that a failure. It was a bucket list item that I can cross off. I made enough money to pay for an MFA in creative writing, which was fun. And now I know that I can’t write a great romance novel, so I can relax.
Moderator R says
“great characterization, clear writing, good pacing, and a sturdy plot” well if those are the basics…:D
In romance novels, I think they are. I can read a trite plot if the characters are fresh and different. But a zingy plot means nothing if the hero is a ho-hum billionaire and the heroine is a same-old-same-old feisty chick.
Michal Glines says
I would think it also helps that you are a team, where one is stumped, the other may be able to see clearly, on any given problem. Or recognize the signs of frustration early, and proactively keep it from getting overwhelming. And give immediate feedback – no Honey, it’s not COMPLETE dreck, it just needs a tweak here, and a bit of rewording, and why are you clouting me over the head with your keyboard?
I would love to be able to write well. I cannot. I know this well. I have trouble sending an e-mail to tell my sibling how my day went, because as soon as it’s typed out, I realize that I didn’t tell *quite* the whole story about that, and I go back and tell it, and then it’s a mile high horse manure pile and it’s all deleted. But I love to read.
When I pick up something from a new author, I first read for content, but as I do, I also read for grammar and spelling and the correct homonyms to be used. I also take note of continuity. For instance, I read 3 books in a series, and one character’s car was two different makes and models because it was the “safest car on the road”. That would be fine if she got into one, drove somewhere, and got back in and drove that same make and model home. I figured that if the author couldn’t pick a car for her to drive, it should not have been mentioned as to make and model at all, right? And if the author didn’t care, why should I keep reading the series? So I quit.
We all have a book inside us somewhere. Mine is most likely to remain forever inside me. If you can get yours out, more power to you!
I can’t wait to see what’s been percolating in your head for three years, Ilona.
You are an incredibly kind person
I can feel the salivation of us the BDH starting at the prospect of 2 new books in whatever storyline, old or new, that our favorite authors have hinted at….
Dittmar M. says
I totally agree with you 🙂
That’s great advice for all kinds of art, not just writing. When I’m staring at my worktable and nothing is speaking to me, not clay, or metal or even stones which are my obsession, I know anything I try to make, I will end up hating. Time for a break.
Yes! My painting teacher once said the same thing, that it was important to know when to stop working on a piece because anymore work could destroy the piece when it was at it’s best.
As always, the reason I check your blog when I need a pick me up! 🙂 thank you!
I kinda think I needed to read this advice today. I have a very similar problem to Lyra. Only I don’t abandon my worlds, I just let them sit and sometimes forget about them, but I usually come back and pump out a few more scenes eventually. Unfortunately that eventually can sometimes be very long, like years.
Thank you for sharing your experience, advice and insight. I learn a lot about writing and publishing from your blog.
Thank you. Makes more than a lot of sense. When I first started writing, I HATED writing dialogue. Now, it’s one of the most fun things I do. I love the interaction between the characters.
When I get stuck, I just wait. Sometimes several months (no deadlines when you write only because you love it). Usually, I eventually wake up at around 2 or 3 a.m. with the idea of what to do next. (Yes, I write it down immediately. A couple of times I went back to sleep and didn’t remember what I thought of when I woke up again.) Grrrrrr.
As you said, sometimes the idea of what to do next appears because of a new life experience or something in the news that resonates with my story.
Take care and hope that you get some rest along the way.
Bill from nj says
I loved what you wrote and the advice.What you are saying resonates, while I write for fun ,occasionally put stories on a fiction website, I still can see the wisdom of your advice because whether you publish or not, it is still a creative process.
I have a novel I started writing a long time ago when I was in a very different place in life, finished it, and while I still like the plot of I ever go back to it it would need a lot of work..life has changed me, what was once possible to me 24 years ago became impossible, I have gotten older and the world is a different place for me. In some cases the world jumped ahead and made some of it obsolete, in other cases I cringe at the characters in some of the scenes. It is set in NYC and the city I wanted to exist, that was hanging on by a thread even then, is long gone, not sure the older me would have the heart to revisit it and remember the possibilities of that time all long gone.
It is why I so love what Ilona and Gordon do bc even as an amateur hack it is not easy, to so do with a clamoring fan base and deadlines and publishers and editors and of course the internal editor ( ie the part of any creative activity that has the inner demon saying ‘it stinks’), and then to come up with something that looks effortless in the reading, is amazing . Of course we the reader don’t see where team Andrews curses and the cat gets startled and shreds the sofa, the duel with swords over a dangling participle,etc *lol*
Lona Hoxworth says
I cannot adequately express my appreciation. I not only find myself autobuying anything you publish, but these incredibly thoughtful, helpful, entertaining, and informative posts are a “can’t miss” as well. Bravo.
This really resonated with me, thanks for sharing.
I always find it easy to extensively plan out books, plot, scenes etc in my head but when I sit down to actually write, it seems to flow out of my mind..
sometimes I wonder if I’m just better at the idea part, I definitely have no shortage of those lol
Thank you so much for your kind advice. I’m an artist but these “three varieties of wrong” are relevant to me as well.
Wishing a productive week for all of us!
Really love the closing paragraph<33 thank you for sharing your thoughts!^^
Amy Ann says
This is good advice for any career, not just writing. And often for life in general. Thanks o’ wise ones!
Thank you so much for this! It will definitely help me sort out the tangles I’m running into as a burgeoning writer.
Donna A says
I think it’s just as enjoyable for the reader following the progression of the author. You come across a style or character or setting and it may not be quite perfect but it’s enough to catch your interest. Then the series follows on, or another book comes along and you can tell the author has evolved and improved or just relaxed and gotten confident and BOOM – new beloved author / series / character to autobuy.
If authors didn’t have the courage to start, the determination to finish and publish, the creativity to write and the skills to improve we readers would be f*cked.
So all I can say is praise be to them all and long may they continue trying, whether I want to read their writing or someone else does, SOMEONE will no doubt. So do it. Write.
I actually cannot agree more about letting percolate. I call it “gestating”. When I was writing my first novel (after many abandoned projects), the first two thirds of the novel were easy, but it got more difficult as I was getting closer to the end because I had to wrap things up, and for that, I needed a week to write a chapter, and then two weeks, and the final two chapters took two months to write (also because I have a daily job unrelated to fiction writing). But, by two months, I mean that I spent nearly a month thinking about one chapter, and then wrote it out in an hour.
As a result, the epilogue took less than a day. Probably because I had already been thinking of it for the seven months it took me to write the novel and it had all but written itself in my head by then.
Meanwhile, a futuristic novel that masquerades as a dystopia has been in my mind for the past 7 years, but it was only last year that I was finally ready to work on it, and when the pandemic hit, everything was too close to home, so now it has to wait for the pandemic to end. I’ve made my peace with that. A friend of mine published a novel this year – a futuristic dystopia where the government uses a virus to control the population, so, where I found it difficult to write about a dystopian setting when the outside world resembled it very closely, my friend seemed to thrive. Everyone is different.
Melisa M. says
You always give great writing advice! Thank you.
Hello! Oh my gosh, thank you for this follow up blog post. You are seriously the best. I’m probably going to read it four or five times to get it all absorbed in my brain. I think that I might have what you said– a combination of all three things. The plot itself I might need to restructure, I need to find a better time to write where it doesn’t feel like a chore, and … yeah I need more fun scenes.
I had answered your questions, I just answered them in the wrong spot because I don’t comment on the blog very often though I read it regularly. I don’t really know how the reply function works, and thought it would just keep bumping new replies to the bottom of the thread rather than directly under the comment it was to.
But a much more in-depth answer to your questions:
1) What are your favorite scenes that you’ve written?
– So far my favorite scenes to write have been one of three types: Fight scenes with ridiculous stunts and feats of physical strength. Body horror when the heroes discover the effects of the bioweapon. And ‘morning after’ a love scene. With your advice above I think I’m going to restructure how the heroine gets tangled up in the central plot to have a little more of the body horror and the action scenes.
2) What’s the easiest to write?
– The action and body horror scenes, definitely.
3) What scenes do you look forward to and they almost don’t feel like work?
– The action scenes, body horror, and the parts where the lead character triumphs somehow. Where she slays the bad guy and saves the day.
I just want to say again, thank you for responding and your advice. I know that you are busy and have a lot going on, so it means a lot to me that you would take time to listen to me and give me your opinion.
I’m going to take your last paragraph and put those words on a sheet of paper for my whiteboard. I work with data (coding, mining,analytics, etc) and i used to really enjoy it. About a year before the pandemic i started to feel as if my energies were waning away. Like my mind and enthusiasm and even spontaneity is going through a drought. The pandemic exacerbated those feelings. Ugh. Your words have sparked something. I will remind myself to have whimsy and daydream again in technicolor. Thank you so much.
Patricia Schlorke says
As a fellow data analyst you are not alone. ????
One thing that helped me, besides letting my mind wander, is to be able to explain what I am doing in plain English. I found that it’s easy to from English to math equations or symbols. However, the sticky point was going from math to English. It’s easy to use math jargon, but for those who are not use to it, the jargon can be overwhelming. ????
Thank you Patricia! I will try that too. To make the dry logic not so stark. I need an ember of creativity somewhere and I think your suggestion will do that.
I totally endorse the advice to let your mind rest by going off and doing something mindless like household chores. In my case, I had put myself under a really tight deadline to finish my dissertation because I did not want to pay for another semester of graduate school. When I got stuck, a simple trick worked for me. I found that while walking it out did not work, if I just got in my car and drove around a couple of blocks admiring the houses and people watching, the solution popped in my head. Worked like a charm every time. I note this because letting your mind lie fallow need not be for a long time if you really don’t have a long time. Sometimes a matter of half an hour will do the trick. Experiment to see what works for you and then use it.
“Right now, for example, the percentage of authors who are late on their books is bigger than anyone has ever remembered in the industry. We had a pandemic. It took a toll.”
I noticed that a lot of books I’ve been waiting for have had their release dates pushed back & assumed it was Covid related, but I thought it would have been printing related, it never occurred to me that it could be author related.
Love these! I’ve recently written up some research, and my hardest part is finding the correct starting place. You’d think it would be easy. We wondered about this, so we we studied it. Not so much. But walking away when I’m stuck is a must, or I’ll “edit” the whole thing into oblivion!
Taylor H says
This is fantastic advice! And very timely for me personally. Thank you so much! I’m bookmarking this post as I suspect I will refer to it often lol
This is really helpful, thank you for this 🙂
Theodore D. says
Thank you, both of you…
This helps a lot! 🙂
You all are wonderful. If I were still teaching I would print this off for every student. Y’all are the BEST!!!
Thank you. That was a helpful analysis of how we get stuck and how to get unstuck.
I read ‘The library of the unwritten’ by A.J. Hackwith
It is quite fun especialy when you think it through and the caracters start to choose their own path – let them!
(I’m currently waiting for book three in the series)
Dittmar M. says
After reading your arguments I can totally feel with you authors. As a book devoring human I always want to get the next book of a series faster, but to look on the other side of the table your arguments are an eyeopener. So hopefully you as authors stay patient with us book worms and vice versa
Bill G says
Fascinating! Thank you for this peek behind the curtain.
Ilona, thank you!
Without looking at the previous sixty plus comments, I have to say thank you very much. Your comments, as usual, on why and what to do are very helpful.
Katelyn Carney says
Another “Thank You!” from a grateful reader and fledgling writer. I really appreciate your kindness and gentle humor. Thank you!
TaLynn Kel says
This might be my favorite post. Thank you!
Thank you for this post. It’s helpful to have some common problems writers face broken down into a digestible format, along with possible solutions.
Angela Knight says
Fabulous post, gang. Thank you. Been there, done that, SO MANY TIMES.
I got into podcasts over the past year, so much so that whenever I was doing any housework at all, I had headphones on. Then I realized my brain was steaming from being in such a high gear all the time. All this input (that I didn’t really need) and no time to digest it.
Now I’ve greatly reduced my podcast listening and I enjoy daily bouts of chores where my mind just wanders. The percolating really helps my productivity – and my inner calm.
Abha Dhupkar says
You know what I really love about you guys?? You are so positive when you give advice! It is not just the words, but the thought process and effort that you are putting behind those words that actually makes the difference.
You and the worlds you have created have actually kept me sane these past 2 years. You have also inspired me to write again, when I had just about given up for a long while.
Thanks for being a support, albeit unknowingly!
Mary Lou says
This is so common sensical. Everything I’ve had to learn the hard way over the last 40 years and would never be able articulate as well as you have done with this blog response. Thanks for validating these problems for me and other writers.
Best, most insightful advice I’ve heard in a long time!
This was actually very very helpful
Lynn Thompson says
Thank you, Ilona Andrews for the post. Very interesting comments. Actually applicable to any profession/ career/ life to my way of thinking.
Have a good holiday.
Thank you for this. This is wonderful advice.
Fran S says
Wow, this was a really, really helpful post for me, and very timely. I am not a “writer”, but I do enjoy writing. I have started stories and then stopped, for some of the reasons you have mentioned above. I definitely haven’t figured out my genre or genres, whichever might be more correct in my case.
But as I read your post, it struck me how particularly applicable this is to the art that I DO practice regularly, which is fine oil painting.
It hasn’t been fun lately. I hate that. I’m not young anymore, and I am often tired after working a full day. It would be nice to unwind doing something I love. But I haven’t loved painting lately. While what you have written above pertains to writing, I think you may have helped me out quite a bit with my own art. For that, I sincerely thank you.
I’ve printed out this blog post and I am going to spend the next couple of weeks working through it, and see if I can create some more happiness.
This can also apply to my other hobby, which is a miniature modern dollhouse I am building. While reading your post, I realized that what I really LOVE about building the mini house is figuring out how to do something; how to get some effect that looks really realistic, or some clever way to accomplish a goal. THAT is what excites me. I love the staircase in the mini house, and I love the shower in the bathroom, because I had to get clever about how to create them. I’ve included a photo of the shower.
I actually feel revitalized, which is not something I’ve felt in a long time. From one artist to another, my heartfelt thanks. I will let you know how this changes things for me.
This is amazing advice for solving all kinds of problems. Love you guys!
Barbara Kay Swanson says
Thank you for your time to really give phenomenal advice.
That was so generous. Great ideas. I might have to start writing what I want to see that I have not gotten yet. I knew it was hard. Hope its not as hard as med school. Lol.
Do you ever watch House Hunters International on HGTV? The reason I ask is that there are so many episodes where someone decides they want to write a book and they want to live somewhere with a view that inspires them. God forbid someone is doing construction next door, as it needs to be quiet so they can concentrate. I feel that these folks are special snowflakes as many authors I have read noted that they started writing because they had to write and that many, did it after working all day, after putting the kids to sleep, and walking the dog and taking those few hours before bed and writing.
J. M. says
THANK YOU. I had just read this entry and then spoke to a writer friend who was not happy with her progress, and read her this:
“If you don’t have a contract, there are zero reasons why you should be forcing yourself write something you dislike. Zero.”
I swear I could feel the weight rising off her shoulders.