Fun backstory: In 2008, I spent the entire year writing and editing one story. It was the first new novel in 5 years, and even though I knew the story would likely be terrible, I put my tiny amount of creative energy to work and did it anyway.
That may not sound like a long time, but spending an entire year on one project was actual torture for me. I felt like I was trying to dig for treasure with my bare hands in the driest soil on earth. It was painful.
Needless to say, that book wasn’t great. But it was the first time I had written a novel over 50k. It was the first time since my first finished novel attempt that I’d had a single POV for the entire story. And it was the first non-vampire novel-wannabe that I’d written since the year 2000.
I did my best, but literally no one would help me. Not even my critique partner at the time (who was legit awful, but that’s another story). Everyone bailed. It was sad. Help was hard to come by in those days. So, in order to keep moving forward, I had to do everything myself. I had to figure out what had gone wrong, and I had to figure out how to fix it by myself. Everything in that time was always done by myself. And when you don’t have help, everything takes longer.
At this point, you might be asking, “Krystal, OMG, where are going with this?!!”
Haha. My point is: I was scared to try writing a book again after that “failure.” Let’s be honest. Books aren’t written in one day. Find me the person who can write a book in one day, and I’ll show you a man with a functioning time machine.
The quote on my calendar this month is: Writer’s block sets in when we spend so long away from the pen that we become afraid of it. Production beats perfection. (Jon Acuff)
He writes non-fiction, but he’s right, and it never ceases to amaze me how relevant these random quotes are to my life.
The longer I go without writing, the more daunting of a task it seems. Take my current state of writing affairs for example. I haven’t finished a first draft in almost two years. At this point, writing anything feels overwhelming, and every other writing session has resulted in some kind of meltdown, but I’ve been thinking a lot about things, as a girl is prone to do, and I decided that it’s better to try and write and have a meltdown, then to not write out of a fear of failure.
Excuse me for waxing morbid, but people die. Earlier this month, TN had some tornadoes and lives were lost, people were uprooted, people can’t work because their business was flattened. One of our suppliers (at work) had her entire home torn down. She hid under the counter and lived, but like, can you imagine? And I was thinking about this one time, years ago, when I was in my apartment, and there were literally two tornadoes less than a mile from me – one of them was ON MY STREET. And right now, a lot of other businesses are closed down, and people can’t work and many aren’t getting paid. There’s a lot of stress. I’m fortunately not in that situation, so it’s easy for me to stay calm. It’s always easier to be positive when things are going well. But I also feel like there’s no point in worrying about a tornado, or much else for that matter, because it’s either going to happen or it’s not. If it does, then your system will be weaker for all the stress, and you’ll be ill equipped to handle whatever, and it doesn’t, then you wasted all that time, holding your breath, waiting for the world to cave in, when you could have been like, enjoying life or something.
All this stuff got me thinking about my writing, because it’s important to me, and I don’t know what’s going to happen in the future, but I can’t enjoy writing today if I’m worrying about what’s going to happen with it in the future. And it’s like, if I don’t worry about a tornado, then why the hell am I worried about this? If I can’t be happy now, then I’ll never be happy, because even if get something that I want, or that I think I want, then I’ll just find something else to worry about, because that’s what I do. And it’s a waste of time.
If I want to write, I should write. It’s not a waste of time if I enjoy it, no more than watching a bad movie is a waste or time or talking to myself is a waste of time, if that’s what I want to do. I paint sometimes, and I’m not great, but it’s fun, and that’s good enough, so why isn’t it good enough for my writing?
Of course realizing this doesn’t fix anything, but maybe if I notice things more often, then maybe I’ll make tiny changes that will build a nice bridge to somewhere…nice. 🙂