The biggest priority for me in my life right now is working on my fiction novel, and yet I often find myself having trouble getting to work on it.
I want to explore why.
The first thought that comes to me about it is that I think there’s a lot of pressure to write well. But that’s not a very good reason, because I know that the first draft’s not going to be perfect, and that I’ll be going back through multiple times to polish everything up. And furthermore, I’d submit that the only purpose of a first draft is to get the rough ideas and story progression on paper. If I wanted to, I could probably write the first draft as an expounded-upon outline, and then go back through and write it to be a coherent story.
And that approach does indeed sound appealing.
My concern, however, is that the language comes naturally to me once I’ve gotten started and am in the heat of the moment — if I am merely going back through things later to essentially blow out an outline into something that reads naturally, I won’t have that initial vision driving me that drove the outline.
So that’s out.
Maybe the solution is to do exactly what I’m doing now: essentially dumping thoughts out without concern for how they read. I think something that often intimidates me is the idea of adding something to the book that contradicts something I said a hundred pages earlier.
But that’s also stupid, because I know it when it happens. And if I somehow miss it, I am sure that myself or my editor will catch it on a thorough read-through. So far this has happened only one time, and it was nagging at me the whole time as I was trying to resolve it — which I did.
So what’s the conclusion of this? I feel like I’ve run out of thoughts, but also anxiety in kind, which was ultimately my goal here anyway.
If there is a takeaway to be had — which I can’t promise you that there is — it’s probably to not worry about things and just fucking write. And if it takes writing a “warm up” blog post about why I’m struggling for me to be okay with that, it’s totally okay.