What Is It About Fear?

You know why I'm blogging right now? Because there's something wrong with my manuscript. I can pinpoint the chapter that's troublesome, and also have a sinking feeling about my middle chapters. Typically, that sinking feeling is spot-on. And that makes me worry. 

So I procrastinate. And look up links about creativity, resistance and fear. Like this one (damn you, amygdala!!). And this one. And even this one, which offers a helpful nugget: "...accepting and working with fear is an essential part of the creative process...your skill at being able to nourish yourself and give yourself permission to make mistakes and learn from them is your single greatest attribute as an artist." Okay, so I feel a bit better.

Until I start to wonder if it's fear or just laziness. The first few chapters tumbled out so effortlessly, like buttah. The next ones were more like a hardened, ancient slab o' lard (like that yellowed block that's been in your great-aunt's icebox since the 50s). I don't want to chisel through that slab and see what I dig up. It's stinky. Hard. Kind of gross. But I have to press on, and so I do, telling myself: don't look at the fear, the gathering horde starting to snuffle around my heels, growling, snarling -- just write what happens next. Head down, no peeking. Just what happens next. And so on. 

Because my ace in the hole, the last-minute cavalry, has to be the revision pen. I can fix all those saggy, non-compelling, untrue scenes then. I just have to have the courage to keep writing what happens next. Say it with me, y'all. What happens next. What happens next. What happens next..until I get to The End.

4 comments:

lbdiamond | March 12, 2010 at 10:57 AM

Yup, been there. I find I hesitate most when I'm not really sure what to do. I know my MS needs work, but I can't see how to change it. Good thing I've got support of writerly friends who can point things out so the scales can fall from my eyes and I can see what I'm doing wrong, or not doing right.

Once someone gives me an example of what to do, then I'm okay again. Well, sort of, LOL! ;)

Great post!

Zoe C. Courtman | March 12, 2010 at 11:05 AM

Thanks, Laura! I *hate* this part of the process. I have, like, seventeen different tabs up on my screen, all different websites because I'm procrastinating! I think I'd do anything other than dive into the MS and fix it. But I don't have to fix it right now - I just have to write what happens next. Wish me luck - and THANKS for the comment!

cipherqueen | March 13, 2010 at 12:25 PM

Great post! I'm still in revisions too, and though things get in the way (about 95% of the time)....well, I guess I am procrastinating a little on my WIP. I'll get back to it now....;D and my chocolate...

Zoe C. Courtman | March 13, 2010 at 12:44 PM

Hi cipherqueen! Ugh - revision. But we'll beat procrastination's ass, dammit! LOL. We'll just keep pressing on until it works. Thanks for the comment!

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