Labor of Love aka Writing is Hard

Preptober is officially underway! And with it — the inevitable crushing fear of complete failure!

Okay, maybe that’s just me.

I have been diligently working on my outline for this year’s project, Bordertowns. I crossed what I think is the midway point of the story last week, and when I did I came to a couple scary realizations.

The first is fixable: the plot is a little thin. While the main story line has been percolating in my brain for about two years, it hasn’t really been a creative focus until I decided last month that it would be my project of choice for NaNo. And, as it happens, less than a month hasn’t been enough time to formulate some good subplots.

As I mentioned in my last post, new threads are hard to come by for me unless I’m already in the middle of one. So while I’m committed to both saving the writing itself for November and solving this problem before the challenge officially gets underway, I think I might have to pencil in some writing exercises sometime this month to get those creative synapses firing.

Otherwise I’ll just be crossing my fingers and hoping any new ideas that might form late don’t derail me long enough to fail the month.

The second epiphany is not so cut and dry. See, I realized that while I am really enjoying the process of putting together the outline, the idea of writing the story itself is filling me with great dread.

Usually I’m itching to get started. A lot of times I already know which turns of phrase I’m going to use in what scenes, and some striking dialogue to include. But not this time. Now, whenever I try get myself amped for this story, I just get this ill feeling in my stomach.

And what’s even more strange is that I feel like I’m more prepared than ever this time around. While there are still a few question marks to fill in (see above) and the outline is still incomplete, I know more or less how to proceed from beginning to middle to end. I can see traditional story structure in my plot, though I have been careful not to keep it in mind while I work (since that tends to sap my creative energy when I do).

So why is it that right when I’m poised to finally reach two goals I’ve had since I was a teenager, successfully completing NaNoWriMo and also writing a complete first draft of a novel, that I’m truly, unequivocally dreading the process?

The only reason I can come up with is straight fear. Fear of failure, of letting myself and those who support me down yet again. Fear that my story idea is hot garbage. Or maybe even fear of the hard work necessary to achieve my dream.

I want to promise that I won’t let those fears keep me down, but honestly my track record is not great. What I can say is that I’m not going to let myself waste such a great start. Even if I fail to cross the elusive 50k words in 30 days, I can at least utilize the month and the community to kick me over the hump.

And, anyway, if writing wasn’t such a massive struggle what would I have called my blog?



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