Just Getting On With It

May 12, 2011 | By | 27 Replies More
Writer Nettie Thomson

Guest Blog Post by: Nettie Thomson, a Glaswegian living in exile in rural Aberdeenshire. Nettie has published short stories and is working, or supposed to be working, on her novel.

When Books By Women asked me to write this blog post, I was both delighted and scared witless. I am a woman who writes and has had some success with short stories, but as yet I have to finish the book and find someone foolhardy enough to publish it.  In short, I felt a bit of a fraud. So why then did I say yes and commit to taking time out of my writing schedule (ahem!) to do this?

Because it takes time out of my writing schedule, of course! When it comes to procrastination, I can spot an opportunity faster than a princess notices a legume under the mattress. In fact, such is my expertise on postponing, delaying and deferring, I am seriously considering setting up a business to advise my more industrious colleagues on how to twiddle their thumbs.

Don’t get me wrong, I want to write: I have more ideas on the go than tweets about superinjunctions; I have piles of notebooks – Moleskines, Paper Blanks and Tesco jotters – all lined up and awaiting my words of wisdom; I go to bookshops and imagine my book there on the shelf (although realising that my chosen pen name would put me next to Jeffrey Archer did put a dampener on that little outing). So why will I not just put my bottom on the chair and get on with it?


What if I finish the book and I think its rubbish? What if I think it’s great but no one else does? What if I think it’s great, an agent agrees to take me on, I get offered a two book deal and I can’t write the second book?

I could go on. But instead I will give myself a stern talking to, remind myself that if this book isn’t successful, maybe the next one will be, that the rejection of a book isn’t a rejection of me and that as well as having a good book I also have to be lucky.

But first, I’ll just make a cup of tea.


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Category: Contemporary Women Writers

Comments (27)

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  1. Trish Anders says:

    Unfortunately, procrastination is merely a symptom of self-doubt (as we all here know), but we can find hope in the knowledge that at least we’ll eventually push all the distractions aside and get on with it. Especially, when one of our distractions is reading blogs/websites on writing and seeing all the comments, and finally, as we sip that inevitable cup of tea, realise that we are not alone.

    Good luck with the novel. Even the greats have self-doubt and have been known to put things off for a bit. Keep plugging away at it. Perhaps you’re one of the greats of tomorrow…

  2. What a great post, Nettie! When I worked as a journalist, my bureau chief once said to me, “I don’t know why we chose to be writers, we picked the one profession where we are automatically subjected to public criticism and sometimes humiliation.”

    While it was funny in nature, it also made the point that writers really put themselves out there for the public. So it makes sense that we all procrastinate here and there out of fear.

    But writing is an extremely rewarding process.

    Good luck on your journey!


  3. Judith Haire says:

    I love your post and want to wish you very good luck
    J X

  4. annailyina says:

    Nettie, you can’t be a failure. You are wonderful just because you want to create! Go ahead and create the novel that can be created only by you.
    I wish you good luck. You will succeed, undoubtedly. I look forward to reading your book 🙂

  5. NettieWriter says:

    Thank you so much. It’s lovely comments like yours that stop me procrastinating about writing these posts.

  6. Zvezdana says:

    I totally love your sense of humor and you sound like someone I can identify with and would love to meet. Keep on writing…look forward to reading more of your blog posts as well:)

  7. If your book is anything like your witty blog posts, then it will be a best seller. I do have one criticism. They’re not long enough!! I want to keep on reading your clever observations and funny anecdotes. It’s like being offered a lick of a delectable new recipe ice-cream, for it to be taken away. Write that book! I want to read it! xx

  8. NettieWriter says:

    Stacy, you talk a lot of sense. I’m going to copy out your words on a card and attach it to my study wall. The worst thing that could happen is to get to my death bed thinking, “what if…”. Excellent advice.

  9. Stacy says:

    Very cute post, Nettie. I think we all have the fear vs. the yearning. I’ve struggled with my self-confidence throughout the writing of my book. I KNOW it’s a great idea, but is the writing good enough? Am I just deluding myself? I keep pressing on because I know if I never finish, I’ll regret it forever. And once that’s done, might as well edit and try to get it out there, right?

  10. Jan Brigden says:

    Great post, and one that I can thoroughly relate to as fear sits permanently on my shoulder.Thanks for making an aspiring novelist feel normal, Nettie.

  11. Now enough navel gazing and prevarication. Write that book… now!! There will be more than enough time to worry and wallow in doubt afterwards. Forget the tea…….although now that you mention it, I quite fancy a cuppa. There’s plenty of time to start that chapter later…..I wonder are there any biscuits left…..

  12. Mariam says:

    Finish that novel. I want to read it.

  13. Cee Martinez says:

    Charming and true. 🙂 The urge to dilly dally is so fun especially with all the ways we have to distract ourselves. You should totally put together a book on the best ways to procrastinate. *winks*

    Know what ispires me if I’m feeling low about my writing though? I often read something utterly horrible and then I feel that if that could be published, then I have a shot.

  14. Very witty post, Nettie. And don’t we all know that problem – the dilemma of yearning – what if, when we get there …

    Writers seem to be a breed apart; dedicated/procratinators (or dedicated procrastinators?!)

    Anyway, Good Luck, and I’m right there with you!


  15. Emma says:

    So funny, Nettie. As ever. I’ve had such a rotten day and you’ve cheered me right up!

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