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Posts Tagged ‘fear’

I admit it. I’ve been slacking lately. Other than blogging, I’ve done very little work on my book or anything else of much value (except doing a bit of marketing stuff). Mostly I’ve been reading Gayle Greeno’s Ghatti books. They’re really good, but somewhat difficult to read (not exactly page turners like Erin Hunter’s Warrior books). You’d think I would be able to put them down easily enough, but I can’t. I wasn’t sure why until a couple days ago when my husband gave me a kick in the pants by asking me what he could do to help me get back on track with my writing. (That’s his way of begging for the next chapter to read. :D)

I began asking myself what, if anything, could my wonderful husband do for me. Suddenly I realized I had been hiding from the blank page, cowering in fear of what might come — nothing. It’s not a pretty thing to think of, yet it affects nearly every writer I’ve ever heard of. We fear the blank page. We fear we may not have anything “good” to put on it. If it’s not “good enough”, we wonder, should we even attempt sullying the page with ink?

Yes. We should. Let me repeat (again!) what Brenda Ueland says in her book If You Want to Write: it doesn’t matter.  She dares each of us to try to write the worst story we can because she believes even in the worst we can find great stuff.

On the bright side, I did discover something useful during my “goofing off” phase in Gayle’s books that I hope will help me write better. She has a wonderful efficiency in scene description. In a battle scene in the second book, Mind-Speaker’s Call, she doesn’t go into detail about how a ghatti was killed. She simply states that it’s skull was crushed and moves on to the next thing that happens. There’s no blood gushing, no screams of anguish, no minute descriptions of how a tail is severed. The battle just is. For me the scene felt a lot more shocking, disturbing, than if she had went into flowing detail. (Thanks, Gayle!)

It’s not a bad thing to stop and smell the wildflowers, so long as we’re not trying to hide from harmless shadows in the process, on The Road to Writing.

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One of the biggest obstacles I have to overcome on a daily basis is time management.  There are times I wish I had a way to magically create a perfect time slot for my writing where my daughter didn’t need my attention for a couple of hours and I could work in peace and quiet.  As of this moment, however, that magic ability has yet to appear. The best I can manage is whatever time I can snatch while she plays on the living room floor and I sit on the couch where she can get to me at anytime.  Beyond that I have to wait until she goes to bed and hope I’m still alert enough to create comprehensible sentences.

Because she’s my reason for pushing on, I know finding the time to write is essential.  I have another reason (and it’s as much a fear as anything else) I absolutely must find the opportunity to write and my daughter is also at the root of that one as well.  You see, it is my dream to stay at home with her, so I absolutely must write (and publish) to make enough money to attain my goal.  That can feel like an insurmountable mountain at times, especially when just starting my career.

I have no doubt there are a lot of writers like me, searching for ways to make more time for their craft.  While I don’t have the answer to how to do this, I know of a few resources to help us.

Perhaps the best for anyone not working on a project that demands large blocks of creative time is Flylady.  Marla Cilley (aka Flylady) advocates a system of 15 minutes at a time.  This system is designed to work in all aspects of home life and can be adapted for writing also.  The best part is that children can begin to understand that Mommy or Daddy will be able to play with them as soon as the timer goes off.  (Flylady’s way of keeping things movings is to use a timer.)

Another writer once said her husband  helped her fix a way for her to sit on top of the fridge to work while her son played safely on the floor below her.  Being creative is what writers do.  Putting that creativity to work finding a way to snatch a few minutes to write is a logical step.  I’ve personally discovered I can work on a project during lulls at my day job.  It may not be as satisfying as sitting at my computer for a couple of hours, but it keeps me going in the right (write? 🙂 ) direction.

I am positive there are other resources available that actually help (and many that don’t) with time management.  My suggestion is to try several.  Keep doing those that work for you and discard those that don’t.  As for the fear of making enough money, remember that by continuing to write despite obstacles puts you closer to your goal.  I also recommend not quitting your day job until things pick up (or until your investments can provide for you, but that’s a subject for someone who is financially savvy to discuss).

Time is a commodity everyone must decide how best to use and writers are no different.  However, when you use your creative impulses, you may discover some unique ways to create time to work on The Road to Writing.

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In his book The Courage to Write, Ralph Keyes tells us that every writer worth his or her salt has a fear of writing.  It’s not just a fear of being rejected by a traditional publisher, although fear of rejection often causes the would-be author to become what Ralph calls a “trunk writer” (someone who writes something, then puts it in a drawer or “trunk”).  There’s also the fear of the blank page (or blank screen).  We writers give it the nice euphemism of “writer’s block,” but more often it’s fear.  What if I can’t come up with anything?  What if I do and it’s crap?

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