Just Write: Sunday Self-shaming Update

In the past, I’ve been reluctant to write about my writing process, or lack thereof.  I admire those who write blogs, documenting their failures and successes; giving advice to help ease the way for newbs like me.  I don’t feel that I can compete with those writers.  I don’t mean to imply that this is some sort of competition and that I am advocating my skills by screaming “hey, look over here!  I’m a better writer than so and so over at blahblah.com.”  No, my reluctance comes from the knowledge that I have nothing useful to add to the mix.  I’m still trying to find my way out of the fog and find my voice as a writer.

This lends to a personality trait that some might call a flaw.  I am a watcher, not a joiner.  I like to stand on the peripheral, and take it all in – learn from what is going on around me, and silently, walk away.  Not necessarily a bad thing, right?   Maybe not.  But in this realm of my life, I am discovering that this quirk is a clear disadvantage.

Recently, my creativity has hit a bit of a road block.  Well, if I’m to be completely honest, “road block” seems to be a bit of an understatement.  I have run headlong into a brick wall, spray painted with the words “You, a Writer?  Dream on.” in big bold letters.  Now, as I lie on the ground, thoroughly bitch slapped by self-doubt, and stare up at those mocking words, I am faced with a dilemma.  Get up and try it again;  or lie here, lick my wounds, and consider knitting as a safe alternative.

I will get up, of course.  I hate knitting.

But now the question is:  How do I prevent this sort of thing from happening again?

I need a platform that I can chronicle my failures and successes.  I am learning that even though I am not a seasoned writer, my process is important.  Even if only to me.  Surely, by whining about my writing/plot/character problems, and sharing my successes, I will find a way to cleanse my convoluted creativity and unburden my mind enough to actually make a dent in this novel – a manuscript that has plagued me for the last year.

The answer:  I will blog about it and torture my few followers.  Brilliant!  Misery loves company, right?

I am not one to make New Year’s Resolutions.  I think they are a recipe for failure.  I’ve only made one other in my life.  I succeeded in that – losing 50lbs.  However, I accomplished that feat, not by making an all-encompassing pledge, but by making small attainable goals for myself and then resetting them once they were met.  I will apply the same school of thought to my writing process.

DSC01542December 20, 2011:

Novel:                            Retribution

Current Word Count:      24,001

Number of Pages:               124

January 1, 2012:

Novel:                                Retribution

Current Word Count:       24,940

Number of Pages:                129

Not a lot of progress made in ten days time.  But, in reality, it is.  In that time, I dove in and did a lot of word purging.  A painful process, but a necessary one.  In all, I wrote and rewrote some three thousand words or so.  I also was able to realign some plot issues, create a new character conflict, and deepen a main character’s sense of purpose, clarifying her goals.  Of course, as often happens in these situations, my character spontaneously goaded me into alluding to a twist; one that will be difficult to incorporate, but you never know.  We’ll see where it goes.

Lesson of the week:   Accepting that sometimes a fresh scene is poorly written and perhaps lacks the precise tone of the flanking scenes, but, at least, it is out of my head and “on paper.”  I can fix it later – after I’ve typed those sweet words – The End.

New goal:

What:                        3000 words written; Including 2 new outlined scenes

Completed by:           Next Sunday – January 8, 2012