Ironically, I was writing a post focusing on the mantra bounce back when the computer crashed just as I went to post it. All the words were lost and had to be found again, along with the mood and the energy the post was generating for me. So...here goes.....
My writing has faltered a little this week. The week overall has been excellent from a work and personal aspect after a sluggish start brought on by first world blues caused by computer connectivity issues and some idiots on the loud box expostulating lunacy from their foundation of faux knowledge and insight. Searching for why I'm having writing problems took me back to my mantra, now focus on finishing.
While writing a new chapter, I was overthinking it and trying to see farther ahead, trying to put it all together before I wrote it. That's the absolute converse of my normal writing process of writing like crazy without worrying what was being put down. Editing and revising is when you worry about what you put down. Puzzled about why I'd deviated from my usual, I tentatively concluded that I have a fear of finishing - a fear of failure, actually - and might be investing in a little self-sabotage.
Exploring that more, I clearly perceived - in hindsight - all sorts of what if questions of self-doubt plaguing myself this week. Writers love playing the what if games of what if nobody likes my writing, what if I'm writing absolute junk, and what if I'm never published. Those self-doubts shouldn't surprise me. I know myself well and know that self-doubts have always plagued me no matter what successes I've achieved or the accolades I've received. That is me. I have a vacuum of self doubt and like other avenues of nature, vacuums are abhored and must be filled. Into it seeped worry, anxiety and fear. I've practiced this self-sabotage on myself before, in many, many situations. The essence is, if I don't finish, I can't fail. It's only when I'm done with the novel that it can be fully judged. It's sort of the writers' corollary to Schrodinger's cat. Until the book is finished, it is exists in dual states of being a success and a failure.
Recognizing and acknowledging that is a beginning but sneering at my doubting self and renouncing its worries and proclamations about my worthlessness wasn't going to solve the problem. Nothing will ever solve that for me. It's melded into my persona. It would be easier to remove iron from steel. The best that I can do is accept it's there and short-circuit its effect on me.
To do that, I need to return to my usual write like crazy mode. I needed to do that on this chapter and if my current approach wasn't working, I needed to adjust my tack. I would forget about writing the novel and just write a snapshot. A snapshot is my term for an exploration of a situation or character, exposition that I need to know in order to understand what I'm writing and that the writer needs to infer and conclude from what I tell them without slathering it across the pages.
So that's what I'll do. I will write about this character and their situation in the chapter. Since the chapter is close third person, I'll write it in first person. Turn it inside out, in a sense.
I feel good. My mantra is bounce back. Don't let anything stop me. There will be times when I fail or falter but it doesn't matter so long as I keep trying.
Time to write like crazy.
Causes Michael Seidel Supports
Kiva, Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, Propublica.org, Doctors Without Borders, GreaterGood.com