Tuesday, April 03, 2007


Diving can be scary. Snorkeling can be too.
Creatures lurk around each corner.
Under a rock.
Beside a coral head. Through the manatee grass.
Not unlike writing a novel.
Not unlike finishing a novel.

9:30 pm and 73 degrees.
I have heard more and more writers talk about their struggle -- trying to finish their work in progress. Message boards have many active dialogs about this difficulty.
Sometimes it's a matter of plots that peter out. Other times it is second guessing yourself. Third person? First? Omniscient?
Then it's editing. Redoing the same first chapters over and over and never getting to the end. Work shopping. Perfecting.
And then there is the panic.
What if someone writes the same novel?
What if my premise is stolen?
What if all the time I have devoted to creating my novel has been wasted?
What if I am never published?
What if?
These fears are not only limiting-- they can be paralyzing.
They can stop the creative process. Kill the energy. The passion.
The most important thing in my opinion is to keep writing.
Loving to write.
Selecting words. Manufacturing a story out of thin air.
The unbelievable rush of that first draft completed. Then the delicate process of editing.
Write. Write. Write.
Writing takes away the fear.
Like diving or snorkeling.
The more you do it the better it feels.
Just like pen to paper.
So I continue.
To write.


Kimber An said...

Yes, I've seen this happen to several friends. I can't give them the confidence they need. All I can do is continue to crit for them and encourage them the best I can, because only they can move themselves forward.

Bernita said...

An entirely accurate description - and solution.

ORION said...

Yes Kimber - I have seen it often at conferences when crits are involved.
Bernita-good to see you!

Holly Kennedy said...

Very true, Pat.
Bum glue. That's my biggest
recommendation. Sit your butt
down and write. Don't let those waves of fear and 'what ifs' lead the way. Write. Write. Write.
And soon you'll be far ahead of the fear and all those 'what ifs', leaving them in the dust.

(P.S. I'm terrified of
snorkeling and diving!!)

Demon Hunter said...

Pat, I agree whole-heartedly. The fear can be paralyzing. People who are fearful may need to join writer's group, find some outlets for relaxation, and just plan to write every day.

Joanne said...

Hi Pat,
Caught your blog recently, enjoy reading about your journey. Thought today would be a good time to say hi b/c my blog entry is similar to yours ~ it compares the craft of writing to something else altogether. Interesting how writing is so much more than it appears, isn't it?

Diantha said...

"Writing takes away the fear."

Thank you, Pat. That's exactly what I needed to hear right now. I know that action and practice can curtail the fear - that's why I learned to scuba dive, it was a personal challenge. However, I've been rather paralyzed on the writing front recently.

I'm still working my way through your archives, but am enjoying getting caught up on your adventures and journey.


adrienne said...

Holly I need to get me some of that bum glue!

Pat you are so right. And you have totally inspired me to get up early tomorrow and just write. I've been struggling this last week with doing it, but now I'm just going for it!

LadyBronco said...

I am very thankful that I have not experienced the 'fear factor' just yet.

I feel like I have jumped into the editing stage with eyes wide open, and it is becoming one helluva ride.


Maprilynne said...

I completely agree.

And the what-if's will always be there. Even when you are done with the book, have acquired and agent, and have your book on submission the what-if's still hound you like sharks following a trail of fresh blood!!!!

*Ahem* I mean that all hypothetically of course.:)

But really, there are always what-if's and if you surrender to them at any point, you will find yourself at a standstill.

Fear never goes away in the land of writing. Fear of rejection, fear of acceptance sometimes--as strange as that may sound. I believe it is something you have to constantly montior and keep at a reasonable level.

Which is way harder than it sound.

Boy, I could go on with this soapbox for pages!

But I won't. However, I did want ot say that you have struck on something that plagues EVERY writer, published or not, finished or not, famous or not.


ChumleyK said...

This is definitely me. My problem is getting the inner editor to shut up!!

Maia said...

I'm at the excited stage of my WIP, i.e., not bogged down as of yet. I was trying to explain the process of writing a book to my boyfriend last night. It's amazing what writers do--juggle all those characters, keep track of their motivations, story arc, throughlines. IMHO, it takes a certain kind of organized mind to pull all this together.

ORION said...

Ah those inner editors. I have to tie mine up and gag her.
She's stuffed in a closet in my mind.
Occasionally I hear her flailing against the door...

Sam said...

My dad said to me once, 'Don't start something you don't intend to finish.'
My mom always said, 'It's easier to start something than to finish it.'
Both of them taught me to stick with something until I finished it.
I hope I can teach that to my kids, because I think it applies to just about everything.

Mia King said...

Patricia, a truly lovely and inspiring post. I love that you go to the fear and then bring us back out. The image is wonderful and makes me love this beautiful place we get to call home even more.

I am looking forward to your debut!


Heidi the Hick said...

You know, I found this post to be very encouraging!

I've never been afraid to write. I have been afraid to let someone else read it. I figured if I'm going to do this I'd better get over that real good and quick!