Thursday, August 5, 2010

My will gets weak and my thoughts seem to scatter

The writer's conundrum:  Why, when I really DO want to write this story, when I actually KNOW what I want to write next, do I still catch myself stalling when it's time to sit down and actually write the words into the ms?

Yesterday's post over at Magical Words touched on this topic, specifically as it regards writing the ending of a story.  But this happens to me off and on at every stage of a story.  After pondering the question (which, as I'm sure you've all figured out, is a version of cat vacuuming, and one at which I am particularly adept), I have reached the conclusion that it's all about fear.  (And ties fairly well into the linked post's item #3.) Or, to paraphrase a borrowed line from Field of Dreams:

If I write it, it might suck.

Which in turn ties back to one of my favorite refrigerator quotes*:

"...words shrink things that seemed limitless when they were in your head to no more than living size when they're brought out."  (From Stephen King's "The Body")

And that is the unspoken fear that creeps in and makes me feel more inclined to do laundry than write. (The lack of logic alone should tip me off that something is wrong.)  Oddly enough, though, when I define and face down that fear, it turns into a reassurance:

If there is no humanly possible way for me to capture in words exactly what is in my head, then I am freed from the restrictions of trying to do so.  Perfection is not a requirement. 

And now I will take the reassurance reached via that convoluted line of reasoning and go finish my scene completion goals for the day.

*"Refrigerator quotes" being the slang used by family and at least one friend to refer to my habit of plastering clipped-out inspirational quotes all over my refrigerator.

Note:  I have this nagging sense of having written this post in some form or another in the past. If so, then it must be pretty important to me! I'm not going to take the time to look it up, though, although I am still feeling the procrastinating urge strongly enough to be tempted.


Ars Legendi said...

That's the beast that always stalks me too: "but what if it sucks?" Even though I know that's not the point.

Lori Erickson said...

And oddly, that's a lesson I can't just learn and remember. I have to keep figuring it out over and over. Writers are smart people! You'd think we could get a grip on this! ;)

Rigs said...

As someone who just reframed a half dozen pictures, washed windows, and planned groceries for the next month, all because I didn’t want to sit down and work at my desk… oh, do I ever feel your pain.

(By the way-- great quote from Mr. King. I might be snagging it.)

Lori Erickson said...

Rigs: Exactly the kind of thing I mean! Not that those things don't need doing. Just not always rightthisverysecond as I let myself convince myself sometimes.

Although, to be fair... Sometimes I think that stalling urge can also be my subconscious telling me I need to let it work on something a little longer before I try to force it to help me write. The trick, I suppose, is in accurately determining whether I'm stalling for valid reasons or not.