People are still angry at G. R. R. Martin.
They want what they want, and even people who write don’t seem to get it. They say they understand that you can’t force these things, that good writing takes time – but then they point to the things he’s published since (in their eyes) abandoning the Game of Thrones series, and seem to think that if he can write other stuff, it’s some kind of mean trick/malicious intention that he has not produced that final novel.
I have a lot of sympathy for George, because it’s not that simple.
You can want like nothing else on earth to write a particular thing, and not be able to.
Your choices, in these moments are not wide. Either you spend every day staring at the cursor as it blinks evilly at you and force boring and uninspired sentences onto the screen, then immediately cut them – or you can write something else in the hopes that this will spark the necessary inspiration for the thing you know you ought to be working on.
And sometimes this actually works, but not always, and not necessarily in the time-frame you would wish for.
And it’s a catch-22 for the writer. They could produce some formulaic, boring, industrial piece of predictable claptrap, sell a bunch of copies, get a lot of terrible reviews and hope that, in time, fans will forget and forgive.
Or they can wait, and try, and hope like hell that eventually, the creative juices will flow.
The readers, apparently, will be angry either way, but I’m guessing that Martin, not being young enough to figure he has the time to regain his reputation, has opted for trying to put out a good book, not a stopgap.
I know that there are writers out there who will not agree, who will say that writing is simply a matter of getting on with it, that they have managed to pump out four books a year, that Martin is just lazy, or holding out for more money, or just being an asshole.
But I think they are wrong.
Every writer is different.
Every writing process is different.
And even if right now, you are capable of churning out 3000 words every morning before you leave for work, it does not follow that you will be able to do this ten years from now, or even next week. People change. Circumstances change. And writers, as they age, might want different things out of their writing than they did when younger.
You need to be kind. You need to be generous.
You need to be patient, because good writing is worth waiting for.