Anxiety # 3 1/4
This coincides with my previous post about ‘just write, damn it!’ and not keep going back to re-read, edit, and then write some more.
Not to harp, but I took John Steinbeck’s advice to heart and for two days chose NOT to go over previous writing and just pick up where I left off and write onward and upward. I promised to follow this advice so that I could finally reach a goal: to actually finish a novel without giving up on it half-way through.
What is happening to me and my mind, to my creativity and even that poor, confused negativity imp inside my head, is relevant to this follow-up.
This is day three of the cold-turkey endeavor not to go back and edit what I’ve written thus far, and I’m starting to feel a break-down on the horizon.
Or maybe the negativity imp inside my head is the one suffering and that is why I’m suddenly plagued with issues, dilemmas, and self-doubt about my writing. He’s been thrown off balance by my new way of writing.
“Look,” he says, pacing inside my brain. “You know darn well the story has strayed off course. There’s more back story than you need, too. Or, maybe you changed your mind about writing a romance and decided it would be better as a quest that finally ends in a love story? Hmm?”
“But, wait,” say I. “Hold up there little, mean man. The two leads met first thing, the antagonist was introduced shortly thereafter, and the protagonist had to suffer through a time of self-doubt. And! He had sex with the leading lady in chapter 10! So … what is the problem?”
“Well,” says the negativity imp. “The problem is, this is about the time in your writing when I start to shine. You’re half-way through this piece, which is about as far as you ever, really get before I win and you quit.”
“True,” say I. “But, this time is different. See, I had this epiphany the other day, and John Steinbeck says …”
“Screw John Steinbeck!” shouts the imp. “You, my dear, are no John Steinbeck.”
“I’m bitter and resentful like he was,” grumble I. “Hey, you. I never claimed nor do I intend to be or write like another, so hush. The story is progressing the way it should, and I am sticking to my resolve. Now, be a good boy and take the Prozac I left on your nightstand. There will be plenty for you to complain about WHEN I FINISH.”
“You’ll fail,” grumbles he. “Prozac, you say?” he asks before slowly returning to the deeper recesses of my mind – leaving me in peace.
Now, he could be right and I may well fail, but not at typing THE END. The story really is giving me a hard time right now, too. I know, even without that pesky imp, that there are issues I should but won’t address. He’s right about it being too wordy, and with the occasional side-track due to there being more than just two characters with a protagonist tossed in the mix.
Keep writing I must, though, and keep writing I will. Write first, then edit.
Write first, then edit.
Hush, little imp. It isn’t that I disagree with your analysis, it’s that now is not the time for argument. Forgive me for having thrown your routine off kilter, but I have to do this. I made a promise to myself that I would finish this work, and that is what I intend to do.
Let the nail biting, hair pulling, finger drumming, and moments of anxiety-laced pacing begin. Withdrawal symptoms be damned.
Write first, then edit.
Mark Ravenhill: Pool (no water)