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Doubt is Torture

“Well, I’l try my best. I figure I have to give it a shot, and if it doesn’t work, it doesn’t work. I’l just accept it.”
Roshi Responded, “That’s the wrong attitude. If they knock you down, you get up. If they knock you down again, get up. No matter how many times they knock you down, get up again. That is how it should go.” Page 117, Writing Down the Bones, by Natalie Goldberg.

To be a writer, there are other obstacles that a person may face besides self-doubt and learning the craft. It can be as simple as a lack of support and understanding from those in your life.

I love my family with all my heart. I respect and follow most of their opinions and advice on life. However, when it comes to the subject of writing, I don’t listen to their comments. This is not because I do not respect their views, its just that I do not -cannot- expect them to fully understand my dreams.

Members of my family, with all manner of good intentions, try to offer me advice on how to approach my dream. They give me suggestions as to which genre to write in. They remind me that ‘most writers don’t make it” or “most writers do not earn much money or make much success until they are old or dead” or variants of this thread.

I know they speak out of love and they want what is best for me, but when it comes to something like writing, I hear enough negative comments within my own mind, without my own family adding to them. I am painfully aware of those facts that my family have brought up. I also get frustrated with them, since do they really think my head is that far up in the clouds that I don’t already understand such things? Bah!

For some reason, my family suggested to me the other day that I write Children’s books. I explained to them that this is not a genre I am interested in at the moment. The response was that I should do what is “commercial” not the things that I want.

Now, first of all, I don’t know how successful I could be with writing Children’s books, all I know is that writing them is no easier than writing in any other genre. Just because these books are intended for children, it doesn’t make them easy to write.

Secondly, I don’t see the point in writing something that I am not interested in. At the moment I cannot write for the money because I don’t know that I will be earning anything from what I write. Due to this fact, it makes no sense to base my motivation on how commercial my ideas are. Sure, I want to make money someday out of my creative endeavours, but I have to do the hard work first.

If I am sweating over something that I have no passion for (at least to start with) it would turn into a burden and a chore, I may as well not write at all. I would be better off working at a local call centre for regular hours and regular money. In other words, writing is a waste of time for me, if I were to approach it with the sole motivation of making money. I write because first and foremost, I love it. I also think that I have potential to write good stories. However, before I can please anyone on a commercial scale, I must first please myself.

I know that these comments are said with the intention of being helpful. However, they do not help me at all.

It is not that I wish to ignore the reality.  I just happen to think that part of living a full and satisfied life is about taking risks, testing my personal limitations and stepping out of my comfort zone from time to time. I wish to grow as a human being as a result.

So I decided that I will not listen to such comments. If nobody around me will encourage me, I must learn to trust in myself, and trust in my own abilities. It is not an easy thing to do but I hope it will make me stronger.

If doubt is torture, then self-doubt is just torturing yourself.

What is the point?

Burnout!

I think I have over stretched myself over the last couple of weeks. I get myself to the point of anxiety over university work which tends to spill into my writing. I always feel guilty whenever I start thinking about my novel as I always think I should be doing something university related. Then I feel frustrated because I force myself to do revision when all I really want to do is work on my novel… its a catch-22 situation for me.

However, what my mind likes to forget, is that I have been plonking my bum on the chair with the hope of doing some revision. It is not like I haven’t honestly made an attempt to work. I have done some work, and even 10 mins a day is a heck of a lot better than never attempting it at all. My only regret is I spent most of my holidays fretting over revision, when I should be taking a break from university for a bit before the exam pressure sets in. Give my mind and body a break. Never mind.

I have decided that I am a free agent from now until Monday (when I go back to uni) since I have really put an effort to revise but I need —NEED— a break. But most of all I need to give myself a break. I am really too mean and hard on myself. I also think I am trying to revise too soon…I mean, I don’t have my first exam for another 2-3 weeks yet! I am an expert crammer…that’s how I work, I work very well when I know I have to!

So, I’ll relax… a bit more from now on. Maybe you won’t have to read any more posts with me whinging anymore? (You can hope! hehe)

As for novel work. I did a bit of plot development work yesterday, but I took a bit of a break from novel work too. You cannot be a novelist EVERYDAY you know?😉

Hope everyone is well?

stuart1082 asked me on add_a_writer if I had any advice on how to get past writer’s block. I hope he doesn’t mind, but I thought I would answer his question here on my journal.

A part of the aim of this journal is not just to log my own progress and experiences with writing my first novel, but also to share my experiences with other writers. I do have some vain hope that what I say can be of some encouragement and/or help. I should mention that I am not a professional writer, so the best I can offer is my own writing experiences in the hope that you will gain some insight into your own writing as a result.

Despite this, I thought I would try my best to answer the question, anyway. I figured that I should write about my own personal experience with Writer’s Block and how I have managed to grow through it.

Continue Reading »

Spooky!

I consider myself (on the whole) a rational person.

So, when I go onto a site like this just for a bit of a joke and I type in a random question about my novel and get the following two responses:

In the creative process: Straining to speed things up only produces anxiety, so get a grip and wait for everything to unfold according to its own timing.

Allow new insights to surface by becoming more fluid and letting go of mental demands and pressures.

    My mouth just fell open. How the hell did the deck know that I was really feeling impatient with the progress of my novel today? It could be a coincidence, but it was just spooky all the same. Maybe I am just going loopy. It does happen to the best of people you know?😉

    However the advice that the tarot gave to me whether by chance or by psychic spookiness,was the best advice I could receive at the moment. I sway between enjoying the worldbuilding progress so much that I am worried I will never get around to writing the novel and feeling both overwhelmed by the huge and long journey ahead of me and frustrated that I cannot make the creative process go a little faster. A part of me is saying: “Just keep with the worldbuilding: the novel isn’t ready yet” while the other part is saying, “You are just worldbuilding because you are a coward and too afraid to write, come on, pull your socks up and get on with the first chapter”

    Strangely enough, just the act of writing down the conflicting voices in my head here has helped me to recognize that the last comment is just my inner critic getting a barb in. Bitch. (hehe) At any rate, there is progress, even if my critic is keen on making me feel over-anxious about beginning my novel. A bit of character development today, and a small attempt at making a sketchy plan of my plot outline. Its a good start. 1,200 words written today.

    Magic!

    As a treat, I gave myself permission to work on the cultures and backdrop to my fantasy land/novel without feeling guilty!I spent the most part of the day considering the different climates of my world, then I turned my attention to culture building of one particular Empire. Most of the time I just asked questions and answered them in a word document. I ended up learning far more about the culture as a result….not sure where some of the random notes came from! I also gave myself a bit of a headache with respect to the hereditary rules of this Empire I was building, I think I over complicated things. I had to stop at that point, else my head would explode!

    The last part of the day was spent tinkering around with Liquid Story Binder V.8.51 trial version that I have just downloaded.

    I dont know about anyone else, but I get into a complete muddle with all my notes. I end up with word documents all over the place! At least with Liquid Story Binder, I can keep all the same notes together. I was just beginning to get frustrated when looking around for all my novel documents. I have a terrible habit of laziness when it comes to naming word files. As a result, I have to open and close about 15 different documents before I find what I am looking for – it drives me bloody insane!

    I am not sure if this program is designed for including “chapters” relating to character biographies and world building, but so far it seems to be working very well for me, and it makes the whole endeavour seem a lot less cluttered. Let’s see how long it takes before this new program starts to look as muddled as my desktop, eh?

    I have also found some cool features to this program. It has a really interesting way of displaying statistics: this program tells you how long you have been writing for, how many words you have written in that session, and there is even an option for you to set writing targets for yourself per session, too. I doubt I will use the latter feature yet. However, I figure it must be handy to know how productive you have been in each writing session. I have decided to post an example of one of these statistics below:-

    I admit that the timer isn’t exactly correct. I didn’t write 3,923 words in under an hour…if only! I used most of that 40 min session tinkering with the program, then I copy and pasted some information that I wrote for world building today. I’m quite happy that I managed to write nearly 4,000 worth of information in a day, though. It is so nice to get a reflection of how much work I have actually done.

    Sounds silly, but it makes me feel better to know that I have written something… even if it is only the worldbuilding at this stage.🙂

    Confession!

    Here comes the first confession.

    Well, this is called Confessions of a Fiction Writer after all!

    Ok. Here it is.

    I have been procrastinating. All bloody day. I have been procrastinating over my novel, I have been procrastinating over my university revision I have even procrastinated about procrastinating… and I bet you are trying to bend your mind around that little gold nugget?!

    It just seems to me that my mind just cannot settle on any one thing at a time. It is like a little child wandering from one task to another with little or no attention span for anything.

    Oh, and I have a giant tonsil. It is big and red and dangling like one of those big red punching bags that boxers use. Gross! Yes. I will stop complaining now.

    Nothing further to report as far as novel writing/planning goes. I watched the first of the Godfather films because I was interested in how the mafia operate (just a little bit of inspiration for my plot…but I’m not going to give too much away at the moment..hehe!) but I’m just so knackered at the moment I am finding it hard to think straight. So I might force myself into a little bit of revision to prevent me from feeling too guilty about taking an early night and just doing something completely unproductive. Heck, I’m surprised that I am even making any sense now…!

    Hope everyone is well? Hope your tonsils are all pink and shiny and pretty?😉 hahaha!

    Meh.

    Sorry, this is not going to be an engaging post I’m afraid.

    I was amazed last night when I got back from my boyfriend’s house that the plot for my story suddenly opened up like a road and I followed the trail and found all sorts of lovely goodies I could add to my writing. It was amazing! My mind suddenly started making connections in wild abandon … click, click, click … it all just started coming together. I sat in bed writing it all in my notebook. The only downside was that I went to bed later than anticipated.

    Then I woke up this morning feeling groggy, and the swelling in my tonsil hasn’t gone down. I forced myself to the computer to do some revision, despite it all… but I think I have to admit defeat. A lot of the time, my mind was wandering around like it had lost its way, so many times I had to coax it away from websites that have no relevence to the topic I was supposed to be studying. I spent most of the day battling over concentration that now I am too tired to even do anything related to my novel.

    My mind is foggy because it is both tired, stressed and my body is ill. I need to take a good rest. Only problem is, I don’t do resting very well…at least my mind doesn’t. I will learn one day.🙂

    I apologise if this post sounds downbeat. I trust everyone is well? Thank you all for your kind comments on here and on the writer’s group. I hope your muses treat you well over this Easter Holiday!

    Happy Easter all!🙂