So I’ve been contemplating this mountain thingy here and while I have, I’ve been thinking about my writing and all those bloody rejections. Especially the last two. I found it very interesting that in the ed’s opinion, the Hammer Pants ms, the one I’d written 18 months ago, was stronger than the one I’d written 6 months ago. At first I was gutted about this – wasn’t I supposed to be getting better not worse? But then, after I’d thought some more about it, I figured that actually, she was right. Why? Because I remember writing that first chapter. And I remember how I felt when I was writing it: I wanted to write without worrying about stuff, without worrying whether I was showing vs telling, without worrying whether the hero/heroine were sympathetic enough or whether I had enough conflict etc, etc. So I stopped worrying. I wrote it just for fun. And lo! it was good. Of course, by chapter 2 I realised my conflict problems had raised their ugly head again and I couldn’t seem to untangle the difficulties, so I put it aside. But that’s a whole other blog post. 🙂
Writing without fear. That’s what I was doing. And that’s what I HAVEN’T been doing for the past year. Nope, the past year, I’ve been writing scared. Scared of getting it wrong, scared of messing it up somehow. Certainly all the Rs I’d got seemed to indicate that I wasn’t getting something right and sure enough, that little belief kept getting reinforced and poor Jackie kept getting scareder and scareder. Her writing lost her spark. All the life got drained out of it. And, most important of all, she lost her joy. Nothing like a self-fulfilling prophecy huh?
Fear will do that to a writer. It’ll suck the creativity right out of you. And it’s a b*tch to overcome, let me tell you.
The good thing is that at least I have an idea of where I might, potentially, be going wrong. So at the moment I’m trying feel the fear and write it anyway. 🙂 I’m trying to recapture what I felt when I wrote the Hammer Pants ms. I’m trying to just be in the moment with my characters and not think about whether this ms works for Riva or Presents. Or whether my hero is being too alpha. Or whether my heroine is being too unsympathetic. Or what to do with it when I type The End. I just need to switch all that off, immerse myself in the story, and start enjoying it again. I need to stop writing for an editor, for a reader, for my CPs. I need to write for me first.
This is something that a lot of people have been saying to me. And it’s not that I haven’t listened, it’s just that I haven’t understood why it’s important. Well, I do now.
So goodbye creepy fear. There is no place for you when I’m writing. You can haul your sorry skeletal carcass out of my study and you better do it before I go all Chuck Norris on your hide. Sure, I know you’ll be back when I hit the send button again but hopefully by the time that happens, I’ll have so many subs out that you won’t know which one to attach yourself to. So asta la vista baby!
And while fear is making itself scarce, I shall leave you with the words of wisdom my five year old daughter gave to me. When I told her about my R she said, ‘Were you writing quietly and carefully, mummy? You must always write quietly and carefully.”
Anyone else writing quietly and carefully? Or alternatively, giving fear a good roundhouse kick to the head? 🙂