Monday, October 26, 2015

Face Your Fears: You Can Do This!

Coming, this November, from the producers who brought you your worst nightmare, it's NaNoWriMo. Yeah, okay, National Novel Writing Month is only as big a deal as we make it. The race to 50,000 words is really against our own lazy butts. However, there is no adversary more terrible than that jackass little demon in the back of our heads telling us we can't do it. Even if we've written ten billion words in our lifetime, that jerk called Doubt makes those 50,000 seem like a novemdecillion (yes, that's a real number)

Unfortunately, Doubt doesn't only open shop in November. Before every piece I write—heck, even right now—Doubt's telling me I can't do it. Every time I sit my butt in front of this screen, I'm terrified that it's right, but fear is the path to the dark side. It leads to anger, which leads to hate, which leads to writer's block, know the deal. Like I said in my vlog-blog on writer's block, the number one way I combat apprehension is through motivation, and I'm not talking Zig Ziglar, or even this blog you're reading here. We need a living, breathing pep squad behind us—anyone who's willing to put up with our arrogance when we're on a roll, and our sobbing when were not. But in the case of NaNoWriMo (or any writing challenge) it's a good idea to surround ourselves with people who are putting themselves in the same hell we are. Writing groups, Facebook groups, twitter, even the NaNoWriMo site itself are great places to connect with your fellow mental patien-I mean, writers.

Of course, Doubt's such a jerk-wad, he doesn't stop with the confidence in ourselves. Once we're pumped and ready to go, that's when he ties his handkerchief around his neck and prepares to feast on our writing.

When we think of comfort zone, us introverts think of the closet we lock ourselves in so we don't have to deal with the world (I've got no idea what you weirdo extroverts think of, but you go girl...or boy) But comfort zone also goes for our writing. Personally, I have a hard time getting romance. I was the kid who cried "cooties!" whenever I saw kissy-kissy on the old mover reels (damn it, I grew up in the 90's, I'm not that old) To this day, my fingers tremble over the keyboard and my cheeks burn whenever I have to consider a kissing scene. A lot of times, I catch myself speeding through it, but all that does is make me have to go back and endure the torture again and again until I get it right. And this is something that's imperative to get right. Usually, when we're writing outside our comfort zone, it's a scene or concept that's important to the story. By speeding through it, or worse yet, abandoning it, our stories suffer. Like my crazy-brain says all of the time, our story will tell us what it needs to be told, and if we give into Doubt, we ain't going no where.

But we've gotten through it all! We kicked Doubt's ass when he made us doubt ourselves. We kicked his ass when he made us doubt our work. But the battle ain't over yet. For all of you bravehearts out there who are about to cast your work into the world, this may be the greatest bout with doubt you've ever faced (rhyming not intended, but appreciated)

In the case of NaNoWriMo, or anytime we're starting out, we shouldn't even consider publication. This is the part of our stories that is strictly for the story itself. If we go into it for the sake of publishing, our story isn't our partner anymore—it's our slave. I can't tell you how many of these poor stories actually have been published, but I can tell you, I never finished a single one of them. It was just too painful, because I could feel the struggle between the story and the writer.

But what about when you have written a story from the heart? The main problem I see is obsessing over perfection (which I mentioned in my writer's block blog!) As an artist, this is something I've experienced countless times, but my dad once told me something I carry with me to this day: "A painting is never done." The thing about any form of art is that it can always be "perfected". Now why did I put that in quotations? I've said this before, but art cannot be perfect. To attempt to do so is to strip it of its humanity. It's no different from writing for the sake of publication. You're afraid that your novel doesn't have a chance in hell to be picked up if it isn't written perfectly. The truth is, it isn't about the writing. Okay, it kind of is, but that's all through study. Honestly, though, I've read books I loved that would've been unbearable to read if not for how good the story was. Study up on the "rules" of writing, sure, but tell yourself it's okay to break them wherever need be (for example, I'm writing all of these articles with all sorts of bastardized grammar—"ain't" and "ya'll" and the like. Why? Because TEXAS, that's why!!!)

So whether you're reading this right before November rears its ugly head, or you're reading this, I don't, at the end of the world and you only have a few hours to finish your novel (no pressure) remember that confidence is the number one combatant to the demon, Doubt. Go get yourself a cheer squad, don't be afraid of what you think you can and can't write, and as always, trust your story. Together, you two are more bad ass than Constantine, and that's pretty bad ass.

Current Stats
Watching: Macross!
Listening: Pokemon Red/Blue - Lavender Town
Reading: Armada by Ernest Cline
Playing: Nothing :( (prepping for NaNoWriMo!)
^^^What are ya'll up to? Comment bellow^^^

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