The people who have been reading my blog for a while are well aware of my problems of adversity in my writing. They are often petty and ordinary in the realm of writing. Although I refuse to believe in writer’s block, I am pretty sure I have the affliction of “creative fear”.
I can think of all sorts of good stuff to write but to actually get it down on paper or onto the screen in front of me is a whole other matter. For some unfathomable reason, I cannot get my brain-children to move from my head to my fingers, at least with any clarity. Even my first sentences start out being out of whack, not really saying what I want them to convey.
What is unquestionably annoying is I seem to only have this problem with fiction. This is truly a CREATIVE FEAR. Give me real life and I can start off okay, move through the middle, although with some difficulty, and finish the piece without much worry. With real-life drama, I can spit out the details in the order they happened, using my thesaurus to punch up some of the language. Yet, I cannot seem to do this with fiction. I stare at the words the thesaurus suggests and still draw a blank, thinking there must be a better word I can use if I could just find it.
Ann Kroeker talked about this very thing in her podcast, If a Writing Nemesis Holds You Back, It’s Time to be Free. According to her talk on this subject [also can be read], I need to ignore this fear somehow and push on through to the end. Actually, I think I would be better off using her first analogy about how to get rid of the resistance. “If it’s a weed, dig it out.” All that good stuff is in my head. I just need to get it to go down my arms into my fingers. Whatever it is that is stopping the flow needs to be plucked out.
I started by reading Ann’s post instead of listening to it. I’m a visual person through and through–or so I thought. I started writing this post and got to the beginning of this very paragraph before I realized I dearly wanted to know what is stopping me from going past the first sentence, from going past the beginning to the middle, from going past the first draft to the second one. What is holding me back from finishing the first draft of another book I started? What is the obstacle that stops me from revising that first book? I wanted an answer so I went to Ann’s post again and LISTENED to what she had to say.
And it worked!
I am stopping myself from seeing all the mistakes, blunders, and amateurish writing I do. Sure, writing 500 to 1000 words as an entire piece is something I can do. Sure, I make mistakes, blunders, and write like an amateur but they are usually easy enough to fix. However, writing at least 65,000 words with all that garbage in it is a whole other story for me. Can I pluck out all of those weeds before the last bell rings? Oh, the feeling of being overwhelmed and pressured.
For some unknown reason, time has become my worst enemy and there is not a single logical reason for it. There aren’t any deadlines, not even any I have put on myself. Or have I put an imaginary one on myself?
I have taken writing classes in school all the way up through my college years. I even took a couple of classes through Writer’s Digest. Although there were always deadlines for assignments and articles, there was never ever any mention of deadlines when writing a book. Could this constraint about time be coming from all those assignments, articles, and reports I faithfully did?
Consciously, I know I have all the time in the world to finish a novel. I could do the whole thing 300 words per day including the self-edits before sending it off to a professional. However, subconsciously, I could be stopping myself in the middle of each writing session with deep seeded thoughts about not having enough time to finish.
Ann suggested writing a letter as if I were the enemy and, then, writing a letter back. Psychologically, this might work.
What is your affliction for your endeavor?