I’m writing a novel.
I’ve announced it to the world.
I don’t talk about it much because of the pressure that exists to, well … talk about it. Suffice it to say, there is a girl, and a guy, they meet, they deal with lots of stuff and … fingers crossed, figure it all out. I am also loathe to put labels and expectations on myself about it, like calling it “chick lit” or estimating that I am 2/3 done, that sort of thing. If I start doing that, then I start freaking out. Plus, I feel like I’m putting the cart before the horse and that brings about its own level of stress and drama. Like I won’t possibly join the millions of other would-be authors on the rejection-letter list.
I like to pretend that I’m just writing this little story and when its finished, I’ll get it edited and (hopefully) put it out there. Probably in the self-publishing ebook world that is so amazing.
I recently read a post on another blog about writer’s block. (See blogs that I follow – Cristian Mihai.) Procrastination. Denial. Doing anything and everything one can do to NOT get the one thing done that would make me the happiest. Why do I do this?
Examining these feelings and emotions is hard. They take their toll and leave me exhausted. Beating myself up constantly about what isn’t getting done is just about the most counterproductive thing, but yet we all do it. I do it every day. Sometimes once an hour or so.
I talk a lot about compartmentalization, prioritization, and staying on task to finish what you start before starting something new. I do this on a daily basis as well.
Time for swim? Okay, *puts on coaches hat* and I become the swim coach, nothing else matters but those kids and their freestyle and butterfly.
Time to eat? Okay, *puts on mom hat* and I become the mother, the cook, the nutritionist, the “bartender” my children tell all their troubles and hopes and dreams to.
Time to shop? Okay, *on goes the planner hat*. The person who thinks through the week ahead, remembers who likes roast and who hates green beans and what in the world will Lucy eat?
These personas of mine slip in and out of the kitchen door like best friends. Sometimes they stay around awhile for a long chat, sometimes they are just dropping by for a second. But they constantly change. That is the one common link. Why is the *novelist hat,* the *writer hat* the hardest one to don sometimes? Maybe I’m afraid of reaching my goal? I have come to understand that when you are successful in things that you attempt, regardless of what it is, people start expecting things from you.
Maybe you have a knack for decorating cakes. You bring one to a party and everyone oohs and ahhs, wants the recipe, says things like, “I just don’t know how you do it, work all day and make a cake like that.” So, bolstered, you make another cake for another party. Pretty soon, people expect it and you have completely stressed yourself out. And after a while, you don’t even like cake anymore.
(You get what I’m saying here, don’t you? You get the metaphor? This applies to everyone, whether PTA is your thing, or cooking, or swimming or writing. The list goes on and on, everyone has a thing.)
Maybe I’m afraid of never being able to write again. I’m not gonna lie, I’ve stressed about the “what if” of finishing this story, and there never being another story behind it. So, subconsciously, if I never finish it, I will never have to give up writing.
Bizarre reasoning, no?
Of all the thoughts that sprint through my brain on a daily basis about my writing and why I’m either in a block or not, I think it boils down to one thing. There is always, always the fear that what I write isn’t going to be good enough. So now, I just need to figure out how to push through that fear. They say when you are afraid, face things head on, keep walking, and things usually turn out for the best. So that’s what I’m going to do.