Thursday, July 14, 2005

What If...? A Writer's Panic

In a moment of frustration and desperation yesterday, I thought, "What if I never get anything in print? What will I do if I just end up rambling the rest of my life and never make any sense of anything and never finish anything I've started?" I mean, sure I've been writing something almost every day. In fact, I need a new black, spiral journal from Barnes & Noble. It's taken me two years to fill half of the journal, but since February I've almost filled the second half. Unfortunately, I haven't been working any on the novel I started years ago.

I used to blame my lack of inspiration on the anitdepressants I was taking, but now that I've been putting my "ass on chair" (Thanks, Urban Semiotic for that phrase), It's as if the floodgates have opened. However, I haven't been directing energy into my novel. I can't seem to finish chapter two, and while I have some idea of what will happen, I just haven't worked on it.

So is it laziness? Maybe. Perhaps I'm having too much fun blogging. I think part of it is also my perfectionist mentality: I don't know whether it's going to be good enough at the end, so I'm afraid to go any further. I want to tell the story; I really do. I want to figure out what these characters are going to do with the "outside forces" that will affect them.

Part of me wants it to be accepted. I want other people to read the story and like it, identify with it, care about it. I hear some novelists say that their first novel is shoved in a bottom drawer somewhere in their house, and I'm horrified. I don't want to spend weeks and months working on something that I'm going to eventually put away forever. Hell, why not set it on fire in the front yard?

6 Comments:

Blogger jane said...

maybe its fear of failure. or fear of the unknown. regardless, the more you pressure yourself, the more you'll resist. i've never written a book so i dont know what to tell you. just relax :)

7/14/2005 8:33 PM  
Blogger Lisa said...

Hi there,
First, I wanted to thank you for commenting on my blog yesterday. Second, on your writing, I think what you are feeling (and I feel the same way often) is normal.

I get frustrated easily and need much encouragement. I am so needy at times it is ridiculous even though I consider myself a pretty independent person.

Writing is like a different world-I think that's why I like it. It keeps me out of the reality of life even if it is only for a little while. We just need to remember why we're writing. It is fulfilling an important part of who we are whether we are published or not. That's how I stay sane on writing a novel I'm pretty sure will as you write, will be "shoved into the bottom drawer somewhere."

I have close to 65,000 words and a complete novel needing serious revisions that I am gradually working on, but at one point the other day, I got so frustrated that I swear I almost deleted the whole thing and for a quick second, the weight was lifted off of my shoulders. I couldn't delete it. It is my baby. Even though, I am frustrated and angry, it is mine. Even if it is only mine forever-I created it, and I had fun writing it. Would I like to publish it, OH YEAH, but will I-most likely not. I am already starting another because I know I am better for writing the first one. Sound discouraging? I hope not because what a wild journey it is!

I have three published articles now, and I recommend starting with small projects to build and boost your confidence. It helped me stay with my writing. When I got frustrated with one project, I moved on to another and so on.

Good luck!
-Lisa

7/15/2005 8:52 AM  
Blogger Carla said...

Jane - I know, I know! :-) I'm trying to avoid pressuring myself. Thanks for the advice.

Lisa - I've had articles published before. I used to be in the writing department at the company I presently work for; however, I recently got moved out because of "labor savings" (Don't you just love that term?). There is a definite pride in seeing a byline, but I think completing something I've always wanted to do AND seeing it recognized by others is a feeling of satisfaction that I long to experience.

Of course, I know I'll only be satisfied until I start working on the next one! :-)

Thanks for your comments!

7/15/2005 12:01 PM  
Blogger Pat Kirby said...

I find that if I get stuck on something--a transition, a chapter, whatever--I need to allow myself to just move on to some other part of the story.

But then, I don't usually write linearly.

Anyway, to paraphrase Janet Evanovich, "Writing sucky stuff is part of the process." Even if your first manuscript doesn't get published, you will have learned a lot by writing it. Writing is always practice, never a waste of time.

Blogging is fun and a dreadful distraction.

7/15/2005 12:38 PM  
Blogger Storm Trooper said...

About your request - sorry, I'm not really into that kind of stuff. There are some pretty cool blogs about the issues, but I don't like the controversy. Perhaps you should look under "Witch Craft" in Google and "Blog". Maybe you could find something. I'll take a look and get back to you. Peace!
Thanks for the note!

7/15/2005 4:39 PM  
Blogger Carla said...

Pat - Yeah, I know what you mean. I've been reading Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott and she calls them "shitty first drafts."

Superman - Um, I think you might have the wrong person, because I checked your blog, and I don't think I've ever visited those before. And I know I haven't made some sort of request about a witchcraft blog. :)

7/15/2005 5:38 PM  

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