Post Writers’ Conference Hitch

Oh my goodness.  How am I supposed to get back to normal?  Attending my first writers’ conference in early May was a dream come true.  Really.  I learned so much more than I ever thought I would.  There is one little hitch though.  Now, I over-analyze everything I write.  Every sentence, practically every word.  It’s starting to get in the way of the plot because I am focussing too much on the words and structure.

So, exactly how am I supposed to get back to normal?  I mean, every time I write a few sentences, I start to think that they aren;t punchy enough or I have used the same word too many times or the structure isn’t right.  I am even finding myself fixing previously written text to accommodate what I learned at the conference.

Am I just over-editing?  Will I return to normal soon?  What am I supposed to do if all I think about is how mundane my writing must be?  Oh the conundrum!

As usual, writing things out, especially issues I have, seems to help me come up with solutions.  My first thought is to get back to writing and worry about the editing later.  Somehow I have to trust that my story is more important right now than which words I choose and how many times I use a word.  This has always been difficult for me, but now, trying to add in the nuances I learned about at the conference, is making me crazy!  Not to mention, the “Doubt Monster” is really tearing at what little confidence I have in my own writing abilities.  I almost feel as though I cannot write at all.

OK, ok, stop whining and practice not editing. See how that works out.  Hopefully I can return to some normalcy in my writing soon.

(also posted on She Writes)

Fear Factor

I read a lot of tweets and posts about the fears we writers have — blank pages, writer’s block, inner critics (aka monsters), lack of ideas, rejection, etc.  I think about these things and I think I fall more into the fear of finishing group.  I fear finishing my novel because I not only have the usual fears noted above, but I’m really not sure what to do after I finish it.  Editing and all being obvious, what do I do afterwards? Do I get an agent? Do I submit to publishers?  Do I self-publish (and that option opens up a whole new set of questions)?  What do I do?

Then there’s that question that looms in my mind…what if I am such a bad writer that I will never publish and the book will be a total embarrassment?  You know, like those poor young people on American Idol who can’t carry a tune, but get up there and mortify themselves because their family has always told them they sounded terrific.   Oh heavens, yet another fear to handle.

Fear is a great paralyzer, the root of much procrastination, especially as a writer.  It’s a wonder any one gets the words on a page, much less published.  The big FEAR is always standing in our way.  We all have general fears in life, it’s human nature.  But as writers, there are so many fears directly related to our craft that breaking free of them can be an insurmountable task.

How do we trudge on?  For me, it takes a lot of pushing, a lot of will power.  I push myself to get up early, to open the computer, to actually write.  I will myself to forget all the “what ifs” for the time I’m on the computer writing.  I will myself to just write and not think about the monster in my head screaming at me that I am not good enough.

In the end, I hope to be published and, more importantly, read by many.  I don’t need a bestseller, but it would be nice. Then there’s the other “what if” that I fear. What if I can’t get published and/or no one reads my book, will I continue to write? I suppose I’ll find out soon enough; but the longer it takes to finish, the longer I can live in my dream world of being published someday.  And there’s the catch.

Happy writing!!

-AH

Happy New Year

Aloha and Hau’oli Makahiki Hou (Happy New Year)!  We all know this is the time of year when we make our resolutions to improve ourselves over the next year. I am no exception to this custom.  We all want a fresh start. What better time than the beginning of a new year? It brings about feelings of excitement, hope, and resolve.

With the promise of the new year comes some major changes for me.  I am focused on writing more (gee, aren’t we all), but this year I am doing something about it.  I am already setting up the necessary research for my next article and I am making a major change in my daily life — more on that later.

Writing took a whole new turn for me in 2013.  I had an article published in Kauai Traveler magazine, I started a new project in poetry, and  I learned a lot about my characters and the direction my story wanted to take. The latter  created some consternation, though, as I realized I needed to create an outline for the meat of the book — I have the beginning and the end, but not the middle! Well, I suppose I should have created the outline in the beginning!  Who knew that the outline would also help me with the synopsis? Hahaha. Every writer! Well, I can certainly say that I ‘m learning as I go! Frustrating and exhilarating at the same time.

All in all, while my novel has not moved forward in word count over the latter part of the year, it has in structure and plot planning.  And, with the publication of an article under my belt, I think 2013 was a successful writing year. This year I am making my writing life more important, riding on the new by-line to the next project and changing some things that need to be addressed in order to free me up for more writing.

I have also discovered that the more I write, the more ideas flow. It’s a known fact that when you exercise your body, it’s functions improve. Apparently the same goes for the brain and the creative process.  You know that little fear monster that tells us once we finish this project, we won’t have any more ideas for new projects? I once feared that, if I ever finished this novel, I would never have an idea for a new one. Well, I don’t think that’s true, anymore.  I have index cards with ideas and short descriptions written on them to prove it!

Time to get ready for the day job.  I have been on vacation for the past week and I am reluctant t go back — some of that reluctance comes from not knowing what to expect when I return.  Who did or didn’t do what that I will have to deal with this morning.  But that’s normal.  The first week or so after you return from vacation, you spend all your time catching up on all the work you missed.

As for the major change I referred to earlier in my post — more on that in a future post. Soon, friends, soon.

-AH

Re-Blog: Monday Morning Tea

I keep meaning to write posts more often, but, somehow I always get side-tracked.  I think I must be great at procrastination!  Well, we all have to be great at something, don’t we?

Writing, though, is more important to me than any other endeavor.  I love the creative outlet.  I feel “clogged up” like a dammed up river, when I can’t get the flow of words out.  I won’t say that all I think about is writing, because there is so much more to think about on a daily basis, like what radio station to listen to in the car and how many Brussels sprouts I should add to my stir fry.  Overall, however, as far as any given activity in which I engage, writing is the most important.  And when I do sit down to write and focus on just that — no TV, no Twitter, no Facebook — I actually do write.

Sometimes I wonder what to write about.  I feel like I have nothing to say.  How can that be? I realize that I may not have anything I want to share at that moment, but I can still write.  There are scenes to write and string together for my novel — oh Jeez, will I EVER finish this novel??? There are thoughts about what is going on here at home. There are lists of topics for articles I might want to write.

The point is, I am sitting and writing while enjoying my Monday morning tea, before I get ready for the day job.  I am committed to turning my career back to writing for a living.  This is how I live and breathe — through words on a page (rather on a  computer screen).  I must be patient, but I must focus on writing as my ultimate goal.  The only way to do that is to continue to write and to create pieces that can be submitted for publication, no matter what the cost in emotional distress from rejections.  It’s worth it to me.

I suppose it’s like anything else. You have to get past the fear of actually doing something in order to do it.  Fear that I am not a good enough writer or fear of rejection has to be put aside. At this point, it is not as strong as my desire to make writing my career.

Well, the tea is almost gone and I have to go off to dress for work. Stay tuned for updates.  I think I am developing an idea for a new article already! (See, I sat down to write 30 minutes ago and have written an entire post of almost 450 words!)