Getting past the fears
- Fear I won't have anything to say. (Stop laughing. Yes, I'm a charter member of the "Help! I'm talking and I can't shut up!" club. Talking's not the same as writing.)
- Fear no one will want to read what I write.
- Fear someone will read what I write...and hate it...or think it's stupid.
- Fear I'll never finish another book.
- Fear everyone will discover I'm a fraud, that I don't know what the heck I'm doing, that sometimes the only way I get words on the page is by using writing prompts or exercises.
Getting words on the page
- Snippets of dialogue will filter through my mind...but don't always get onto the paper as powerfully as I heard them in my head.
- I'll see something amazing or intriguing but can't figure out how to describe what I'm seeing, how it makes me feel. It just seems so...flat.
- I'm sure this is quite politically incorrect, and please forgive me if I offend you, but here goes. Ever read Little Black Sambo? Remember the scene where the tigers run around and around the tree till they turn to butter? Well, that's my brain. All sorts of stuff in there whirring around, churning into butter, leaving me unable to focus and pluck out what it is I want to get on the page.
- The cursor on the screen just blinks and taunts and does nothing to coax forth words.
- The blank page has so many lines to fill and nothing comes out of my pen or pencil.
- I avoid conflict. Actually, I pretty much hate it. There. I said it. Conflict makes my stomach a jumbled mess, makes it hard for me to breathe, to think, let alone find the words to stand up for myself.
- Even though I know stories must have conflict between the characters to make readers care about them, to keep turning page after page, to follow the tale all the way to the end, I struggle with torturing my characters, with finding true conflicts that will genuinely make it impossible for these two people to be together...at least till I figure out their happy ending. I want happy-happy joy-joy, peace and harmony. Being mean doesn't come easily to me. Unless you mess with my kids.
- I'll get a snippet of an idea and get a couple pages down and then not know happens next. I kid you not. I have at least 15 stories started -- most of them haven't made it past 5 pages.
- Sometimes a scene bit will pop into my head and I'll know that if I don't get it on paper it will disappear. That bit of writing magic does not happen often enough.
- I have learned that if I know where the scene or story is going, I can come up with the words. It's the figuring out all the steps, or even the big moments, of the characters' journey, of their relationship that I struggle with.
So, why do I keep torturing myself? I often think about just hanging up this writing thing, but I've never completely been able to do so, at least not since it first occurred to me back in 1986 that maybe, just maybe I could write books like those I love to read.. Mostly, I guess, because even if I'm not getting words on the page, characters and scene snippets continue to flit through my mind. Perhaps getting out of my own way is hardest part of writing for me.
How about you?