Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Writers Constipation

Writers constipation. Also known as fear and censorship of self. Two things that nearly derailed my writing career very early on. I had the chance to speak at my writing group last night about the things I felt it takes to finish a project. So with a few days to mull it over, I realized that one of my biggest stumbling blocks was (and this is very much in the past tense) censorship. I was always afraid of what other people would think of me and my work. What would my mother say if she saw me write a *gasp* love scene? Or my pastor *gasp* if I put a swear word in?

What that particular line of thinking brought to me was a very long and unhappy road as I took three years to bang out a rough draft. Three years. Every sentence and paragraph that plopped onto the paper was done so with enormous amounts of sweat and tears and by the end, sheer exhaustion. The book completed I felt wrung out and empty of any possibility to write ever again. And on top of that I didn't even like the finished project, cursed myself for taking it to the editor who made me work on it some more.

I spent a year editing it and sending it in to agents who of course rejected it because even I could see from a mile away that there was no way it was going to happen for that book. But I persisted, learned a lot and came away with a very different attitude.

When I finally felt ready, I started my next book, finished the rough draft in 3 months and within about a year will be ready to send it off to an editor who has asked to see it. Big difference.
The only thing I did different was that I took some laxative, in writing terms I said to myself
"I don't care what anyone thinks of me and my writing, I am going to write what I want."

Moral of the story: Don't worry and don't fear when you write, let it go and let the shit happen :)


Tanya said...

:) good words of advice :)

Charity Gosling said...

Hmm... yeah, you've given me lots to think about. There are areas in my life that I'm so stuck on perfection with, and writing is one of them. Never mind my pastor, I'm afraid of myself! What will happen if I actually give up control? I'm not sure I'm hard-wired to let go like that... but I'd like to try... maybe a short story?