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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Help! I'm frozen...wicked insecurity has the best of me!

Hello fellow writers and readers! Imagine an over-caffeinated, highly anxious author with fingers curled into claws above the keyboard. Now add sub-zero temperature, chattering teeth and ice dripping off her body. That's me!

I'm halfway through my book, my story is plotted out to the final scenes and my characters are familiar and coming together. I made some changes in the sequence of events and tweaked the conflicts both internally and externally so I'm actually in good shape as far as my liking the story. Some scenes are polished, some rough and a few not even created yet. I'm not in horrible shape. So why am I putting off another run through? I should be excited to flesh out scenes and watch the story develop.

Many thought are going through my head right now as I try to analyze myself (this could take a long time but I promise not to drag you along). One is the fear I won't be able to complete the story. I'm biting my nails thinking of the scenes I need to perfect. Hmmm. Perfect is a pretty strong word. Anyone faced with achieving such a high level of accomplishment would freeze. I can't be alone in this. My head is hurting at this point but I delve a little deeper...beyond creating the scenes, making them sound good and perfecting the plot flow I have to work quickly. Okay, this time I actually pictured a racing train grinding to a neck-snapping halt. Sparks and all. I just found the other inhibitor to writing my story. Pressure to work quickly and get the book to my publisher before anymore time lapses. It's a vicious cycle and adding stress to move faster is only making me procrastinate more. Sometimes I really hate how my mind works!

So, esteemed authors and readers what are your thoughts on these self-imposed pressures? Can you help me get out of the deep freeze I'm in and give my characters the story they deserve? I would love to hear your advice and experiences in this area.

18 comments:

  1. What I do is take a deep breath, and give myself permission to write crap. Most of the time the "good stuff" emerges and my fingers sing across the keyboard. Then, I go back and delete the crap or pull the good ideas from it. Hope that helps!

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    1. Yep! It sure does. It helps to know others focus on just getting the words out and clean up later.

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  2. Stop worrying so much about how soon you can send the book in. Just keep writing until the book is finished. When you can't think of anything more to do with it, that's when you submit it. Or are you itching to start the next book, and can't wait to get this one out of the way? I just keep working until I decide a book is done, then I submit it and start thinking about what to do next. Yeah, it's nice to get your book into the submission queue, but don't let that freak you out. Just keep typing ... sooner or later you'll discover you have nothing more to say, and voila, you're done!

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    1. That's true Jim. I'm not worried about the next book yet. My stress (self-imposed) is that I'm not getting it done quick enough. You're right about not worrying about it so much. It's done when it's done.

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  3. Get up and go away from the computer for half an hour. Get some fresh air, do some exercises and forget the ****** thing for thirty minutes. When you come back and sit down, you'll feel calmer and ready to go on...
    Jen

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  4. I do like Jen said. I step away. I'm working on two right now so when I'm stuck with one, I go to the other. It mixes things up for me. Just take a deep breath and remember why your sitting in front of that computer...it's fun and what you love to do. :}
    Lynda

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    1. You're right. I do love writing and that's why I have chosen to do it. I can't imagine working on two ms at one time. I think that's great you are able to do that.

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  5. Take a look at what you are visualizing. Right now, it's stress, runaway trains, and panic. You get what you focus on, so picture the train running serenely around a placid lake, and into beautiful mountains. You are not hunched demonically over your keyboard, but relaxed in the chair, a soothing drink beside you, and plenty of time. You are in touch with your characters, and you've organized your story. You are ready to write. There is no panic or stress. You have calmed your mind and in control.

    How you think is as important as what you think. You love what you do, and it's everything you desire. Speak words of power and success to yourself. Let there be calm. Let there be control. Let there be words that move readers and make them laugh. Think on these things.

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    1. That was awesome...believe it or not I am big on positive thinking. You are right about pulling more of what you're focusing on into your life. You just reminded me to focus on positive thoughts and actions to get my mojo back. The joy of writing, success, happiness when I complete something...I'll sit and think of more when I'm finished replying.

      Thank you!

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  6. writeordie.com -- and like someone else said, give yourself permission to write crap. Some days will suck, but some days you'll go back when it's time to edit and realize it was actually decent stuff. I struggled a lot writing my last book, and the thing is you cannot edit a blank page. Get the words down, worry about shaping them up later. One foot in front of the other. You're better than you think you are. *hugs*

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    1. Thanks Elizabeth and hugs back to you!

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  7. Know that you are not alone. I've been dealing with this the last few days and the more pressure I put on myself the more stuck I feel. I've finished the book except a love scene and it is like my brain won't spit out the words..

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    1. I understand exactly even though I have more to finish. It's the pressure we put on ourselves that makes us seize up. After reading the responses from others (which I am so appreciative of) it sounds like giving ourselves permission to relax, go at our own pace and just enjoy the process is what will free us. I'll try it if you will :)

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  8. Here are a few things that help me:

    I usually write fiction by typing directly onto the computer, but if I'm having trouble with a particular scene or chapter or character or whatever, I try writing by hand. This will often get me unstuck.

    The other thing I do is something mindless ({smile}) on my household to-do list: washing dishes, weeding the garden, etc, and NOT think about my story. This will often get me unstuck.

    If I'm overwhelmed by the scope of the task, I start to break it down and attack one of the items on the list.

    For simple (ha!) anxiety, a friend swears by her worry box: you write your worry on a piece of paper and then put it in the box and don't think about it any more.

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    1. Thanks for your ideas...taking myself away from the computer is a good idea and one that I will utilize more. I have to say I really like the worry box. I visualize releasing negative thoughts/fears into the air where they just fly away. Sometimes this works. I'm going to try the worry box this time.

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  9. You guys are awesome for helping me out with this. It's so nice to know I'm not the only one who feels anxiety and pressure with their writing. I already knew writing was hard in the sense that there are a lot of elements to keep in line when we're creating our story. LOL. That's the fun of it though!

    What I needed help with and I got with your responses was to ease up on myself, turn my thinking in a more positive direction and it's okay to take a little break.

    Thanks everyone!

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  10. Hi Jenna
    I am pretty much in the same place as you. I think your final words are the key...
    It's okay to take a little break.
    What a concept! lol Something so easy can be the key to something we've fretted over for weeks.
    So I thank you for your help.
    Best of luck to you.

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