Wednesday, December 17, 2014

I Hereby Banish You, Inner Critic

Okay, maybe not entirely because an inner critic can be a little useful in moderation.
I find that writing advice/information that I didn’t realize I needed, pops up at the right time. I’ve seen lots of mentions and advice about inner critics the last couple of months, which is perfect timing. Mine has been nattering.
My last blog on New Story Jitters is an example of the inner critic preventing me from starting a new project. Now that the novel is underway, I fret that I’m missing elements, that my characters aren’t right, that my plot and sub-plots aren’t unfolding or meshing together or any other things that could prevent me from finishing.
Be still, Inner Critic!
When the nattering starts, I remind myself that this is only the first draft. It doesn’t need to be perfect. That’s why we revise...and revise...and revise...oh wait, need to revise some more. For me, the point of the first draft is to get the story out, then go back to flesh out the characters and story, rewrite, tear chunks out, maybe cry a bit from frustration, and keep remoulding until it’s a masterpiece – at least until I read it again and start the process over.
If your inner critic is rearing its ugly head, don’t worry, you’re not alone. The most important thing to do is give it the finger and forge on, reminding yourself that rewriting is always an option once you have the story down.

Friday, December 5, 2014

New Novel Jitters

It’s been a trying and busy time on many levels, which has kept me from posting. But here I am!
As mentioned in a previous post, I had started the sequel to my first novel a few months ago. I’m proud to say the first draft is finished and a completely new project is underway.
Before I started my sequel and my new novel, I was very nervous, almost afraid. My first manuscript was finished over four years ago and tucked away when I got pregnant with my second child along with the rest of my life. When I was able to get back to it, all I had to do was revise (easier than it sounds).
After revisions, I started the sequel in September. I found I was very resistant and worried that I couldn’t write another novel. I knew where the story was going, though hadn’t worked out all the details (I’m more of a pantser than a planner). I reminded myself that I had written a novel once and could do it again. Finally, I started the story and wrote the first draft in three months; it’s now resting, awaiting the revision process.
My new project is different from the first two and has been percolating in my brain for several months. It’s time to write it. Again, I was very nervous to start. The resistance was almost like a wall and I found myself doing little chores to put off starting my new manuscript. All sorts of doubts plagued me. What if I can’t do it? What if I get part way through and hit a wall? What if, what if, what if? The list goes on.
I recalled a quote from Stephen King: “The scariest moment is always just before you start.” I relate to that.
The most important thing though is that I realized it, sat down, reviewed notes I had made on the world I was about to start creating and started writing. Now that I’m aware of it, I hopefully can accept it and not let it hold me back.
It’s better to have something on the page because I can always go back and revise. That’s not possible with a blank page.