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True confessions of a girl who writes dirty books--and loves it!

Thursday, August 10, 2006

An Act of Will

We all do things in our daily lives that we consider annoying chores. Washing dishes, ironing clohtes, going to the post office, feeding the crazy, diabetic cat who lives in our backyard--that kind of thing. We do them because we have to, because there's no one else to do it (because God knows my husband never touches the cat if he can help it, the coward) and because those chores keep our lives running smoothly.

But what if the thing we love more than anything else, our personal indulgence, our favorite activity suddenly takes on the dimensions of a chore? I love writing. I think about it all the time; I get caught up in the details of my books, and I can linger there for hours, working out backstory and building a world. But sometimes, it's a chore. Sometimes all I want to do is watch General Hospital and play with my puppy. It's hard to admit, because it sounds so immature and lame, but occasionally, I have to force myself to do the thing I love to do.

Worse than that, though, is when writing becomes the monster in the closet. There are days when I'm not burnt out, or busy, or any of that stuff--I'm just flat out afraid of my computer. Fear is way more paralyzing than laziness. Yesterday, I was all set to start my revisions. I had a place to dive in, a specifc goal to accomplish--and I totally froze. For about six hours. I went through the rest of my day feeling like a failure. What am I afraid of? That all along, I managed to convince myself to write forward by telling myself, "It doesn't have to be good now, you'll fix it later." Well, later is here. And part of me is terrified that I'm going to screw up the story, or the characters, by missing (or creating) some huge plot hole. Mostly, I'm scared for this book to be finished. Because then I have to start all over again with a new one.

Fear is a trap. I know that. So last night, at about 9:30, I finally got my butt into the chair, and I edited the first seven pages. I didn't get to anything major, just a few word changes here and there, but I broke the seal. And now my goal is just to do better today than I did yesterday.

We'll see how it goes.


At 8:29 AM, Blogger Ellen said...

Good for you, breaking the seal! It doesn't seem to be a big step for writing to turn from joyful to daunting. Keep at it!

At 9:00 AM, Blogger jennifer echols said...

I find that it's easy to do every day if I'm doing it every day. I'm "into it." But once I step out of it, it's hard to get back in--I have to break that seal, as you say.

Going to Starbucks helps, because they won't let me vacuum their floor.

At 9:06 AM, Blogger Louisa Edwards said...

Mmmm. I just finished sucking down an iced latte, and I'm ready to rock.

I'm a big believer in writing every day, to keep up momentum, but in this case, I took a deliberate break after finishing the ms. To "get some perspective." Pbththt. Like that's possible.

At 10:46 AM, Blogger Kate Pearce said...

Procrastination and fear-great tools for writers! Sometimes I even contemplate hoovering the carpet which I loathe doing (Mr Kate does it) and that usually makes me sit back down and get something written!
I was inspired by nationals to get going again and so far all has been well! (famous last words)
ps thanks for the blog-now I can track your movements

At 6:13 AM, Blogger Mel Francis said...

Fear is a big bitch.

Many people fear failure. I actually have a slight fear of success. What if they like it? What if they expect me to do it again, only better? What if I can't?

That's okay, fear may be a big bitch, but I'm a mean one.

At 7:01 AM, Blogger Jana J. Hanson said...

Excellent advice. I find that I have trouble getting back into the swing of writing when I don't write at least something every day.

Although watching General Hospital is a great distraction!

At 7:01 AM, Blogger Jana J. Hanson said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 2:15 PM, Blogger Debra Parmley said...

I tend to work on more of a reward system. Like ... when I finish this chapter tonight I'll take a bubble bath, have a glass of wine, etc.

One of my friends told me it sounded like training your dog. LOL

(But be careful if it's chocolate - be very careful)


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