Am I afraid?

Image provided by chandrika221 https://www.flickr.com/photos/14554939@N08/
Image provided by chandrika221
https://www.flickr.com/photos/14554939@N08/

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

 

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11 thoughts on “Am I afraid?

  1. There’s such a difference between blogs and novels in task-audience-purpose. But, if you love your blog writing and novel writing frightens you, why don’t you pretend your novel is a blog. See what comes out. It couldn’t be less than not publishing, could it?

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    1. I don’t think that approach is going to work, although if I can somehow adapt the attitude I have when writing a post to when I’m working on the novel, I’m sure it will help.

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    1. As I told Jacqui, approaching my novel the same way as I do a post isn’t something I think will work. The frame of mind I’m in when writing a post is something I need to find a way to adapt to my time on the novel though. That no-stress attitude. 😉

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  2. First of all, I have enough fear for both of us, so please don’t feel you must develop any.
    You’re struggling with your writing, but I think you can continue to write free -flow as that’s comfortable for you.
    Then start a new page and write single sentences about where you want the story to go. Not an outline but a projection.
    I also resist the idea of a formal outline as I don’t function well with such a rigid approach. I never worked with an outline in high school or college, always constructing the outlines after the work was finished. OK, cheating I suppose, but it was how I worked.
    But I found it’s helpful to know that I intend to get to Section B, and so I need to set up the approach in Section A.

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    1. Sharon, you are so right about how outlines are. I did them in school when it was mandatory but only then. As much as I want to be a pantser, I’ve got to face the fact that my short-term memory loss doesn’t jive well with it. The little things I forget grow in number that way. Does she have blue eyes or brown? Did I make his hair a buzz or is it over his ears? Are they going to the mountains or are they headed for the corn field? It does get ridiculous. I like that word, projection. It better describes what I probably will be doing, character projections, scene projections, setting projections. By using this word, if I decide to add or subtract along the way, I won’t feel I’m going off track.

      As you can probably guess now, I’m a perfectionist and a fiend for organization. No wonder the pantser approach wasn’t working. O_o

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      1. Glynis, I think you and I write much the same way. I always keep an “info file” open when I’m working so I can transfer the info I’ll need later or want to confirm. So when I first describe what I person looks like, I cut and paste it to my info file, along with the page location in the book. Took me a few years to figure this one out, but once I did, it saved hours of headache.

        I also have files in separate categories: Characters: includes the above stated bio sketches, year born, personality traits, relationship to other characters. etc. Locations: includes fictional and real places, and what they look like during the time of the story. I include Google Earth images if I can. Historical reference: info about the time period about which I’m writing. Might include political activity; popular music; fashions; costs of buying shoes, house, car; noteworthy inventions, discoveries, explorations.

        All these files are in my super file called: Background. Easy for me to find since I label similar files for each book the same way. And of course, each book has its own super mega file.

        I still consider myself a pantser. I’m also a perfectionist. I begin often by writing what excites me at the moment about the WIP. Sometimes i will first review what I wrote the day before, just to get myself into the same frame of mind. If I were dealing with real paper files, they would be scattered all over my house, endless open manila envelopes with paper falling out of each of them. But they mind their manners in my computer.

        I can’t write by hand – a bit of arthritis makes my hands ache in just a few minutes. But I’ve written three complete novels with my all-over-the-place method, each subsequent story getting completed faster than the one before.
        Maybe you could adapt some of my method to yours?

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