Something a fellow writer, Suzie Carr–who’s a fabulous writer, by the way–mentioned recently, got me thinking. She wrote an article talking about personal happiness and asked “What’s holding you back?”
Darn good question. Well, to take it in another direction, as a writer, what’s stopping you from either starting a project or finishing it off? A lot of things came to mind, so in the interests of brevity, I’ve narrowed it down to three: starting, which means the idea, committment–actually doing it, and fear–the stalling out.
Let’s start with the idea. Many–if not most–writers search for THE most interesting, intelligent and unique idea around. Then they bog down because they think “I can’t do this, because it’s been done!”
News flash: chances are, it has. So for what it’s worth–which is less than nothing on the open market–forget about something original. None of what I’ve written in the past has been original, per se.
Catnip–transgenics. Jules Verne wrote about it in The Island of Lost Souls, and the ancient Greeks did have centaurs, so there you are.
The Nightmare Crew–zombies, vampires, and other monsters in the classic Hollywood vein.
The Titans trilogy. The aliens are here! ‘Nuff said.
It’s not what you write about so much, it’s how you innovate, put a fresh spin on things, and take your novel in a direction that is truly original. So get started, and…
This leads to number two. Committment. Yes, life has a habit of getting in the way, and we’ve all got problems to deal with. Health, family, job, lack of money (Lord, can I relate to that!), friends saying this or that…all of that can put a crimp in your thought processes not to mention cut into your time.
So what you have to do is to budget your time. If you’re going to write something, then commit to it. Set a time to write. Write what you can in that time you’ve set aside. Then put it away and do the adulting thing. Or the bar thing. Or the family or health or whatever thing. Writing does NOT mean becoming a hermit and giving up on the social side of things. It simply means making time to do what you want.
Finally, fear. This, I think, has stopped more writers from finishing what they’ve started or even starting in the first place. Family may not understand or your SO may not get it. They may say “You’re never going to finish it and if you do, who’s going to read it?” You may fear that it’s not good enough. You may fear failure.
Understandable, but get used to one idea. If you don’t do it, you will never know. I’ve had some people hate what I’ve written. I’m still writing. I’ve had some people tell me I’d never do it, that I wasn’t good enough or smart enough or talented enough. I’m still writing. I’ve had others belittle me for no other reason than to bring me down to their level. Maybe that’s true; I don’t know.
I never listened. I’m still writing. They haven’t done a thing. They haven’t written anything, and they’ve never created anything. So FWIW, don’t let that fear stop you. If I had listened, I never would have written lesfic–which might seem odd, coming from a straight guy–or anything about transpeople. I did it because there was a story there that deserved to be told. I wanted to finish what I’d started, so I put my blinders on and that’s what I feel every writer has to do sooner or later. Finish what you start.
Remember, while there’s always a light at the end of the tunnel, don’t focus on the light. Focus on what’s around you. Don’t let the darkness, the uncertainty, hold you back. Embrace it. Become one with it and then conquer it. Conquer that fear…and then step into the light.
List of Books written by Author
Lindsay, Jo and the Tree of Forever
What She Saw
Lindsay, Jo and the Tree of Forever (Lindsay and Jo Book 2)
What She Saw
Battlefield (Titans of Ardana)
Integration (The Nightmare Crew) (Volume 3)
Rise of the Transgenics (Catnip)