2012: A New Leaf

Have you made your New Year’s writing resolutions?

I feel like Lisa Simpson in The Simpson’s episode, “The Book Job.” It’s easier to talk about writing than it is to do it. I have been telling people I’m writing a horror novel for the past three years, but all I have to show for it is a prologue and the first page of Chapter One, which I keep rewriting. Somehow I’m always able to find a distraction to keep me from the task at hand.

It’s not that I don’t love writing. Writing keeps me sane. When my world is crumbling around me, I can always rely on writing to steady me. I can blame it on the inane comments of an editor who told me I didn’t know how to write or a professor who told me I would never amount to anything. If I’m honest with myself, it comes down to fear. What if I’m not good enough? What if I have nothing to say? What if I fail at my dream?

My inner critic starts yammering away at me and drowns out the positive affirmations I have received. One year I attended Dark & Stormy Nights, a mystery writing conference in the Chicago land area. One of the attending writers read and critiqued the first chapter of a mystery novel I was working on, but never finished. When she was done, she requested I send her the revised chapter. When I asked her if she did this for everyone, she replied no. She only requested to see revisions from persons who showed talent. Later that evening, she introduced me to a bookseller and said, “You’ll be selling her books someday.”

2012 I’m turning over a new leaf. I am dedicating this year to finishing a project. I have numerous projects in various stages of completion. I want to complete one, just one.

I turn to you. This forum is open to all who need encouragement and advice to push through the fear. I have set modest goals. Each week I will post my successes and my failures. After all, in 2010 I was gifted with an apartment, in 2011 I was gifted with a new position, and in 2012 I will be gifted with a published manuscript.

Cheers and may your writing dreams come true this year.



1 comment so far

  1. twistingthreads on

    I’ve written the first chapter of the novel I’m working on dozens, if not hundreds of times. I had to give myself permission to fail (not easy for a crazed perfectionist like myself), and I’ve been forcing myself not to go back and edit or rewrite compulsively until I finish the entire first draft. I’m not done yet, but I’ve found that there’s little point in rewriting a beginning a thousand times if you have never written the middle or the end. I thought I knew my characters, and where I was going, and to a certain extent I was right, but there was so much detail and nuance I was missing. Allow yourself to write complete crap; you’ll learn a lot about your story, writing strengths and weaknesses on the way. You can always go back, cut, edit, and rewrite, but it’s a lot easier once you know the whole layout of your story and what works and what doesn’t.

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