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?


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!

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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