Wednesday, November 5, 2014

IWSG: A Mountain to Write

Better yet: 

A Mountain 2 Write RIGHT.

The exhilaration at the end of each writing project is an intense compilation of relief, pride, and excitement. Of course, a new anxiety of revisions quickly begins to take form. But I ignore it for a bit. Instead, I take a moment (sometimes a few more) to bask in the accomplishment. As most of you know, it's quite a feat to type THE END. 

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So why do I stress the @$%^& out of myself at each starting line? It's almost unbearable, at least for me. So much so that often I lollygag for days, weeks, and even a month before I hunker down and engross my attention into my next manuscript. Sometimes longer, which makes me question myself, my abilities, and my verve for writing successes. 

The anxiety doesn't seem to have a specific focus either. It doesn't matter how long I anticipate the manuscript to be or even the topic and theme of the story. My young adult work obviously runs longer than my picture book work, but both flip me out equally. It's almost like the dread that used to practically paralyze me before the start of every school year. 

Do I see anyone raising their hands in agreement? OR am I just weird? 
 photo Sheri2.png

37 comments:

  1. I actually find starting a new book's one of the hardest parts of the process! It can sometimes take weeks to find that perfect opening line/scene. But once I start writing, the words just flow!

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  2. I'm with you. I know so many writers who love writing the beginning of a new manuscript. That part is the worst for me. I like writing better once I'm into it and find my groove. It's tough to start a new book.

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  3. Can you see my hands waving in the air?! Sometimes an idea for a new story jumps into my head, and then it's like pulling teeth. Usually, it's a good thing to take a break and then one day POP, it's in there. Once a writer always a writer...

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  4. I think it's totally normal to take a break. In fact, it's quite necessary to do so for a time. Then you get back on that horse! :)

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  5. I'm stumbling over a starting line right now, so I know how you feel.

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    1. Oh, all the best leaping over that starting line! I'll be thinking of you.

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    1. YAY! Then let us weirdos stick together.

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  7. I always pause between projects. You have to. There's a certain need to breathe in your accomplishment and let it resonate for a while before forcing yourself back to work. Without that pause, I think we might lose our minds. =)

    Unleashing the Dreamworld

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    1. I hear you. But I'm always afraid I'll lose my mojo, you know??? (#chuckles) Guess this is another post for IWSG.

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  8. I think it's hard to switch gears from editing to creating fresh. After months of having an entire story to mold and tweak, that empty page one is daunting.

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    1. This is a fantastic point, and one I hadn't given much thought. Switching gears from editing to writing freely is hard. Editing is so restrictive, where writing something new plows those barriers over.

      Thanks for the comment!

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  9. Since you aren't worried about anything specific and it happens with all your writing, I'm thinking you are setting your goals too high and are being a perfectionist - wanting the ms to be perfect from the beginning, wanting it to be commercial, marketable, wanting everyone to love it. Pressure! If you let loose of your expectations (and others') and write purely because you have an idea that wants to come out, you may feel better. I've banished all thought of selling and write as if I don't have long to live. (Literally) Priorities change, and mine is now my own happiness. Write only what makes you happy, Sheri. :)

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  10. For me, first drafts are monstrous. I hates them, my precious. I hates them.
    The anxiety hits me at the end of each chapter I write, and I'm convinced I won't be able to write the next one.

    I look forward to revisions, which is what I'm planning now, having just typed The End on my latest WIP seven days ago.

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  11. I'm in the same boat. I'm constantly working on those opening sentences and paragraphs of each chapter. Very important as you need to hook the reader on each chapter. Hook them in the first paragraph and leave them hanging in the last one.

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  12. For me, starting a new project is the easiest thing. It's finishing it (with beta readers, critiques, and then the submission process) that stresses me out the most.

    Thanks for your comment on my post. It meant a lot to me knowing you, and other writers, deal with the same disappointment from their loved ones.

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  13. I think all the advice about how important openings are can be sooo paralyzing. I too get very stuck writing and rewriting and rewriting openings. I can get stuck sometimes two starting a new scene or new chapter also. I think Anne Lamott's advice in Bird by Bird is pretty helpful though, when I remember it--approach it like you're not writing an ACTUAL scene or opening or whatever, but just PRACTICING to write one. It removes some of the pressure so you can generate material that can later be revised.

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    1. Great advice! I have that book and I've read it. Guess I should read it again. :)

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  14. It takes me months to start a story. I usually plan to death.

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  15. I'm totally raising my hand! I was going to start a new book for NaNo that's been floating around in my head for months, but I gave up on it right away. I think it's just hard for me to commit.

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  16. I'm so excited to be able to say this is one area I don't stress over. I love starting. The messiness doesn't scare me. Getting to know my characters and building their world is the ultimate for me. The middle...whole other story.

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  17. I'm a big planner and then I get moving and then for some season I stall once I'm almost complete. Often times I have to have someone in my critique group "slap me upside the head" to get out of my rut.

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  18. See, I'm totally the opposite. My inclination is to just DIVE IN but experience has taught me I really need to wait--make some notes, let it stew. It is one of the reasons I love WriMos--I can force myself to wait until the start. And whether fortunately or not, I have PLENTY of not quite polished stuff to work on in the in-between. (I've written 15 books and only published 4... lots that could use another polish, and at least a couple that have never been edited...)

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  19. I feel like that at the beginning of every chapter!!! I found that admitting defeat instead of fighting help. Somehow, as soon as soon I tell my muse, "ok, relax, we don't have to do this now if you don't want to," she comes back to prove me wrong. I think my muse is a rebellious teenager. :D

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  20. You are NOT weird! You're a normal writer, that's for sure. Before I began the NaNo project, I had recently opened another manuscript that I hadn't seen in a while. Quickly closed it again. I was overwhelmed. But now that I've had time to think about it, I know what needs to be done.

    You'll do great, Sheri, as always! Do NOT doubt yourself <3

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  21. While we might be weird in our own little way, in this case, you aren't so weird. I can totally relate! Such is the curse/blessing of being a writer.

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  22. babe, be calm. relax. (massages your shoulders) you got this! just keep writing...

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  23. Hi Sheri .. seems like you've lots of good advice here ... and we need time to mull through ideas - our brain needs to relax too ... but the desire to write will always come to the fore ...

    Take care .. cheers Hilary

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  24. I have the same malady even if it's editing someone else's book. Procrastination might start as a much needed break, but it becomes a stumbling block if it goes too long. Hard to tell when one becomes the other though. Maybe when guilt sets in. But a week or two off might help your mind reset gears.

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    1. So, so true, Sher! The line easily jumbles, which leads to more anxiety. Oh, the cycle is vicious!

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  25. It is hard to start something new and even harder to get into that groove where you feel it all coming together and you're excited about each moment you spend plucking away at your keyboard. I think Tamara hit it right on with her comment. It is quite a shift to go from deep editing to creating something new and exciting. And sometimes we DO need that break. In between projects, I like to read a few books in the genre I'm getting ready to write, and that helps get me excited about my next project and kind gets the creative juices flowing, too. Double plus! :)

    Good luck getting over this anxiety! We're cheering for you! :)

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    1. *kind of*

      oops, found a typo...hate it when that happens! :)

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  26. It's always a rollercoaster of pain and exhilaration.

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  27. I do think, certainly with longer, more arduous works like novels, if you can, you should give yourself a break. Allow yourself and your muse to rejuvenate. It's NOT good to panic though! :)

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  28. I think we all have a tricky point, I get excited about the new beginning but it's getting bogged down in the middle that has me in a cold sweat! Maybe it's your brain's way of telling you to wait until it's the RIGHT idea - which would hopefully work out better in the long run.

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  29. This is why I must outline. If I don't, I won't get the nerve to start a book. At least if I know where I'm going, I'm more likely to dive into the project. I used to be really bad with over-research, but now I do enough research and also research as I write.

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    1. That's what I've recently discovered with the YA contemporary I developed over the summer. I decided to take a different approach - fully develop my one sentence and paragraph pitches, blurb, summary, and full synopsis. Knowing where I'm going is definitely going to help me. I can take it from there and my subconscious can take over. I might develop a few unexpected aspects to the story, but that's fine; probably will make it stronger. At least I have a road map.

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