05 Feb

Someone Asked: Obstacles

Q: What is your biggest writing obstacle?

A: Perfectionism and self-loathing doubt, which are not unrelated.

I want the words to come out DONE. If a scene (or a sentence) isn’t going to be perfect, recording the wrong words feels like a waste of time. I’ve been doing this for 20+ years and still struggle with the known fact that the whole story has to exist before good decisions can be made about what’s truly important, what’s missing, what doesn’t belong, what needs to change to strengthen the story.

I waste a lot of time on my mission to not waste time. It’s stupid to agonize over the description of an eyebrow when the entire chapter it’s in might not survive, but I’ll do it anyway and then feel the need to defend it (dammit, I worked hard on that!) even when it doesn’t belong, which never serves the story.

Next Book has been particularly rough because the first chapter reads like one from a finished book, and Chapter 2 is word vomit. I felt really skilled… and then I made that page break and forgot how to do everything. Objectively, I’m aware the solution to the problem lies beyond Chapter 2, but instead of banging out a placeholder to bridge the gap and powering forward to the part that will tell me what Chapter 2 must accomplish that it currently isn’t, I wasted an embarrassing amount of time guessing and wallowing in despair.

“Honey, get some therapy.”

Had it. Look, this is part of my process. I have to be demolished every time to build something new or it will just be the same old shit with a fresh coat of paint. I wish the process was faster, but for some weird reason, I persist in battling against my destruction, even when I know it’s inevitable and ultimately for the best.

Fortunately, I’m now sufficiently torn down to move forward with construction. There’s garbage all over the site, but I’m working around it. Chapter 2 is finally behind me, and a rough draft that exists is an achievable goal.

Obstacle circumvented until next time.