I’m not a “fraidicat” by nature. I walk up to strangers and say hello. I’ll scream out about injustice to anyone who will listen. I’m the first one to stand before my opponent. Yet, I look at what I’ve written, knowing certainly that it’s not meant for anyone else’s eyes–not yet–maybe never.
The irony is I write post after post for this blog that is anything but for commercial use, in other words a personal affair. I’m not giving one iota about who reads it.
Is there that much difference between writing a book and writing a blog post? Both reach out to the world at large. Both have a message to give–or at least I hope both do. Sure, one is miles longer and takes more time. True, a post is just my thoughts. It’s nothing more. With a novel, again, it’s my thoughts, but woven in such a provocative way–hopefully–that it keeps the interest going until the end. The post, being so much shorted, doesn’t need the extra elements to entice.
Could it be that I’m intimidated by so many trees I’m seeing in the forest? The saying is “Can’t see the forest for the trees,” but maybe it should be the trees are acting as monsters, distorting the whole scene. Am I lost in that forest? Hmm… If this is true, this could mean that I must change my writing process. My guess–and I think it’s a good one–is I need to become an all-out plotter, that path that leads me out of the forest.
I cringe at the thought. Giving up the free flow of creativity wrecks me to the core. Yet, this urge, this compulsion to write is surging in me and through me day and night, not giving me a moment’s peace.
If I go with this conjecture of turning pure plotter, I’m going to have to start this damn story all over again. Do I hear someone whispering the notion of just stopping where I am for the time being? It would work, except I know I’ll be changing major parts of the story from the very beginning, almost making it brand new. Once I make one change, hoards of them will follow. Yes, I know me that well.
Another possibility for my reluctance with my writing progress could be the thought of the critique of a writing buddy, the notes from a editor, the remarks from a beta reader, the review from a critic. Rationally, I’m well aware of the good the first three will do. Their intentions are not to harm my poor little ego. They want only to assure that my work is received successfully. The fourth… we all know they have their own agenda that never really included the writer’s feelings or success.
The first three…, each one is going to make me feel the way my mother always made me feel when I’d give her my homework for her to scrutinize. She’d find every flaw, no matter how small, and circle them with her red pen. She’d hand me the assignment telling me to start again, and turning away to do some household chore. I always felt as though someone had killed my puppy or kitten when she’d do this. (We had a family dog but never actually had a pet of my own growing up.) She didn’t mean it that way–I don’t think anyway. She was trying to help–or was she gloating? Naw, she couldn’t have been doing that, could she?
This is preposterous. Later this year I embark on being sixty-two, for God’s sake. I need to get a gripe. As April would say, I need to put on my big-girl pants and get myself to the business of writing. I need to take heed of those who have taken on the ways of plotting, as much as I detest the notion right now, organize, and write this tale that won’t give me any peace.
Am I afraid? You better believe it. I have to get through this.
Confront your fears, list them, get to know them, and only then will you be able to put them aside and move ahead. ~Jerry Gillies