Monday, May 9, 2016

Why In the World Can't I Write?

Back in 2013, I bought WRITE THIS BOOK by Pseudonymous Bosch. On page 36 (I have the first edition--I don't know if page numbers differs by edition), Bosch states that the main elements of most stories are a hero, a task for the hero to complete, and a world where said task-completing can take place.

Personally, I've found this a tried-and-true formula. But something doesn't seem to be working. I'm starting a new story, and I have my hero, my task, and my world by my side. So what's missing? Why have I been deadlocked and completely unable to write?

I was pondering this question when I noticed that I hadn't read a book worthy of a review this week, and decided that maaaaaybe reflecting on it via a blog post would help me break through this writer's block. Because that's what it is, isn't it? Writer's block?

But I don't think it's writer's block. I think it's straight-up fear.

I have a huge word count I want to reach by the end of next week, and the number is just staring at me, telling me that I'll never make it.

I also have a time restraint because of everything else that's going on in my life. Furthermore, I've been sitting on this story for a while. I'm scared that if I don't write it now, it'll never get written.

My own expectations of what the first draft should be also drives this fear. I want it to be better than the first draft of my NaNoWriMo novel. I want it to be something that's edit-able and not a story I'll have to completely rewrite when I go through revisions.

It's also my expectations about what I will do with it. My end goal is publication, and I'm putting a lot of pressure on this story to be "the one."

So now what?

The word count is here to stay, I'm afraid. I wish I had the courage to throw it away, but I feel like it's motivating me, too. The time restraint isn't leaving either. So what's left?

My expectations.

My expectations of this story are causing me to sit here in fear. This has to be perfect, I think to myself. Perfect and nothing less than. But if I wait for perfection, I'm going to be deleting every word I write, and you can't edit a blank page, can you?

So that's why I'm taking a piece of paper, writing the word "expectations" on it, and throwing it in the trash can. The one outside, because I'm not going to let it simmer in the house. No. These expectations are leaving for good.

If only it were so easy, right?

All the same, that little exercise helped quite a bit. Considering I was figuring this out as I went along, I think this is a coherent post (yay!). I'm also pretty happy that I've relieved some of the stress that what stopping me from writing. I'll let you know next week how the writing is coming. Have a wonderful day, and thanks for reading!

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