Fear and time are are greatest enemies as writers. Time can be managed, it can be mastered, manipulated to make room in our lives for writing time. Fear however is often our unassailable master, it is the little voice in our heads that tells us we can not write, and that what we do write is absolute manure pile fodder.
This is not true, first drafts are often full of errors, shaky dialogue and long winded plot commentary that goes no-where. That’s why we have the editing process, to allow us to polish off, improve and work on our technique. Like all skills the more we practise i.e the more we write, the better we become. Often it is the long break between writing and the first edit that allows you gain clarity on plot development, story arches, tension within the novel and character development. Don’t panic! Writing is meant to be a work in progress.
Writers often tie themselves in knots over plot development, narrative flow, character development and having too many or too few ideas of where and how to take the story next. They spend so much time fretting over questions of whether a characters name should be hyphonated or if the characters speech is making thier intent clear that they forget to simply write words on the page. They get stuck in a holding pattern, unable to progress util thier burning quetion has been resolved and unwilling to allow the resolution to occur through progress. It’s a personal thing, but for me I find it better to keep writing and move onto the next scene or move onto the next chapter than waste precioous writing time. Plot knots have to be addressed eith er immediately or during the writers editing process, but if I’ve painted myself into a plot or character corner and can’t see a way round it, I move on and come back to it. Often while I’m writing, my brain is working on the problem unconsciously while I write and by the time I come back to it a solution presents itself.
These of course are only two examples, but the same rule applies with any writing crisis underpinned with fear of what is right? am I good enough? does this work? will anyone even read this? It should be battered over the head and served with eggs for breakfast.
So feel the fear and write it anyway!
One of my fears is under editing and posting items with mistakes. So my brave act for today is to post this blog without editing it (I have corrected mistypes) and I’ll come back to it tomorrow, reposting it after a nights sleep. The difference between the first post and the first edit will show for itself. This is my third attempt at this post already, so keep at it, keep writing, and remember to not make fear your master.