The loneliness of a long-distance writer

By guest blogger Liam L. Carton

I GUESS WE ALL know how hard it can be to write. Eric Blair once commented that “Writing a book is a horrible, exhausting struggle, like a long bout of some painful illness. One would never undertake such a thing if one were not driven on by some demon whom one can neither resist nor understand.”

There are many demons that drive us to write but, sadly, there are just as many that block us from success.

My biggest issue has always been a decided lack of productivity. I always seemed to put in the required hours, but never quite got the expected results.

No matter what I tried I simply could not get significantly more than 1,000 edited words per day. When I came across the 10K Day challenge I wondered whether this might give me the focus to achieve more.

So I signed up and, for the first challenge, I set out with a slightly more realistic target, for me, of writing 5,000 words.

Surprisingly, I managed to get over 4,500 words done—though I did end up writing for 16 hours straight. At the end of that time I found my fingertips numb, my wrists locked up, and my eyes gummy with sleep. But such is the cost of creativity!

I never expected to get this close to the goal, yet publicly placing this challenge on to the 10K Day website galvanised my resolve. By five o’clock, having exceeded 3,000 words, I found that I *could* write more, and the tantalising goal of 5,000 seemed like a real possibility. In the end the only reason I stopped at 4,500 was that I had reached the end of part one of my book.

I was, in short, hooked. Watching others meet their goals and engaging in the supportive banter that went on throughout the challenge kept my spirits alive. Without this I’m certain my productivity would not have been so high.

In my most recent challenge I managed 8,500 words. I stopped only because I had reached the end of my book—and what better place to stop?

Having gained from this experience I have been able to keep that effort going and my second work, a novella, was self-published in December 2013. The support of the group and the effect of publicly declaring my goals had an enormous positive impact. I do not think I could have achieved so much without them.

Now all I have to do is work on publicising these books—but that is another challenge!

To everyone at 10K Day for Writers, and especially Milli, I’d like to offer a big thank you—you helped in so many ways. Good luck to you all in your own endeavours, and if there’s anything I can do to help or encourage, then please just let me know. If you would like a review, or a link on my blog, you only need to ask.

Liam L. Carton, guest blogger, 10K Day for Writers,

Liam L. Carton

Liam Carton is the author of The Kubic Kat, a tale of life and love in the surveillance age. He has always advocated for human rights and civil liberties, and remains deeply concerned with the direction the world is taking. His first full length book, The Time Traveller, a dystopian futurological novel of the not-so-distant future, is currently undergoing editing and review, and is due for release in the second quarter of 2014. His web app, TribalContact, offers secure encrypted message facilities on smart phones. Liam originates from Ireland, lived in Belgium for most of the past 12 years and currently resides in the UK.

4 Responses to The loneliness of a long-distance writer
  1. Lois
    February 26, 2014 | 8:38 AM

    This is a great testimonial, Liam. I’m so glad you found us!

    I can’t wait to read your novel. It sounds exciting! 😀

  2. Liam Carton
    February 26, 2014 | 12:33 PM

    Hi Lois,

    Thank you for your kind comment. This is what makes FoW so special for me – the support of all the other members.

    Also nice to see someone else with an interest in portraiture (though I don’t get too much time for this anymore).

    Good luck with your up-coming novel. I will be sure to read it once it is published.

    I wish I could offer some good advice on how to get reviews / publicity, bad sadly I have not done too well myself. This is the BIG issue with self publishing!



    • Lois
      February 26, 2014 | 2:29 PM

      You’re welcome, Liam.

      This is one of the things I love about FoW, too! 😀

      I don’t have much time for drawing lately, either. And my writing has taken front stage, so there’s that. 😉

      Thanks! I plan to have it published by the end of June, but we’ll see!

      I recommend the blogs by K.M Weiland and Russell Blake. And J.A. Konrath. All offer lots of information (and in Russell’s case, darned amusing articles) on writing and publishing. 🙂


  3. Estrella Azul
    February 26, 2014 | 2:46 PM

    What a lovely testimonial for 10K Days, it makes me so glad to read how much they helped all of our writing endeavours!

    It’s fun writing with you, here’s to many more 10K Days!

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