February 12, 2012

A Confession: ROW80 Check In

I need to put some real energy into tackling my manuscript. I'm excited about writing it, but I can't seem to find that energy. It's a weak excuse, I'm fully aware. Yet the problem remains. I sit down to write and can't focus.

This was part of my original blog post, and it went on and on about why I couldn't focus lately or find time to devote to writing. I've erased it all, because the truth is I have a confession. I'm afraid.

I knew those words were true the minute I typed them. Tears started forming, my throat felt three times too big, and my hands were trembling. I wanted to retract those two words, pretend they didn't come out. But I can't. It's the truth.

My father had a favorite saying, one he repeated to me often growing up.

You have the audacity
to doubt my veracity
to insinuate
that I might prevaricate.

Thanks to my father, and for a lot more reasons than this saying, I don't look kindly on liars--it's the easy way out. There's nothing about easy that I want to be. And I'd never want something that took dishonesty to achieve.

But back to fear. I'm afraid of failing. I love to do something for the first time, because it's new. Nobody expects you to knock it out of the ballpark on your first try. There's little to lose. When I first met my husband, I told him I'd try anything once. Then I immediately asked him to remove the smirk off his face.

Thanks to moving to new places all my life, I was conditioned to do firsts well. What I don't do well, what I have no practice doing, is repeating successes. I even married my first love, the man I met at eighteen. No complaining here, it worked out really well. Maybe I'm just lucky. Or is it beginner's luck?

The crazy thing... I had no fear about putting my first novel out there. Seems silly now. I really should have been more afraid. Now, after a few awards and good reviews for Depression Cookies, I am absolutely terrified to write something else. The fear is keeping me from it. Am I a one-trick pony? Did all the writing in me come out in one piece?

I'm my own worst critic, and I'm afraid to put out a sophomore effort that doesn't live up to my first novel. What if I found the one four-leaf clover in a massive field?

I guess it's good that I've never been the give up sort of gal. I just need to figure out how to let my love of writing push down the fear that keeps rearing its ugly head.

Any other suggestions for conquering fear would be greatly appreciated.

My ROW80 Update

Writing: Fear sidelined me. I need to beat it back. Wordsprints really help me, I get lost in the energy and focus of them and forget to be afraid.

Blogging: Daily here, and I posted a new review on Mom in Love with Fiction on Friday. I have two more in the works, both quite overdue from when I intended to post them. Sometimes it's so much easier to gear up to write a post than to sit down with my manuscript. I know that's wrong, but there's something so rewarding about blog posts and flash fiction. They are complete. Anyone else feel that way?

Social Media: Thanks to Kait Nolan, I'm now exploring Triberr. Jenny Hansen, a true ROW80 cheerleader over at Cowbell, wrote a great post about it. I'm still wading my way through the learning curve! I just wish there were more hours in the day, because it's so easy to get sucked into social media outlets. Especially now, because I just rejoined Rachael Harrie's Writers' Platform-Building Campaign. There's still time if you want to join! The Linky closes February 15.

Reading: I started and finished a book yesterday. I haven't done that in a long time, so I'm really looking forward to posting about it! It was a nice reminder why I write... because I love a good book. But sometimes the really good ones are also a fear enhancer. There are some amazing writers out there. Several of which I've now had the opportunity to get to know through the writing community. I feel honored and a bit of a fish out of water at times.

Diet and Exercise: As far as exercise, I did well. Unfortunately, I had a week of horrific eating. I think this picture from my daughter's 10th birthday slumber party says it all.

I don't know what I'd do without the writers I've met since publishing. Writing in seclusion may have been a bit less daunting, but it was never as rewarding.


Hildred Billings said...

I think the most important thing to keep in mind is that....everyone's scared, to some degree. It's just some people are really good at not showing it, or keeping it in check. Hell I'm petrified that my novels will bomb and people will look at them like "well, it's a good effort, but not good ENOUGH". Do you know what I mean?

Every time you get too scared to write, just imagine the outcome of when you're finished. The pride, the joy, the feeling of accomplishment - you can't have those until you're finished!

Elise Fallson said...

I agree with Hildred. Everyone has doubts that translate into fears. You're not alone. One of the reasons I'm such a closet writer is due to my fear of failing. If no one knows I'm writing, then no one knows how terrible I am. But then I remember this: the difference between the impossible and the possible is determination. I'm determined to get through it and so are you. Plus, think about how amazing it will be to put your second book into the hands of your children. (:

Juliana said...

Whenever I'm stuck, sprints are the best!
And I'll agree with Hildred and Elise. We all have fears and doubts at some point.
I've been reading the same book for 2 weeks now---I just can't get through. I'm thinking about tossing it aside and picking some other book, but I hate not to finish ...
Oh, I want some of that chocolate fountain lol
Have a great week!

Tia Bach said...

Hildred, Elise & Juliana, Thanks for your comments and encouragement. I felt better as soon as I wrote this, confession being good for the soul and all.

I'm tackling the manuscript this morning and again at 2pmEST (#teamsprinty). The fear is there, but I only let it win by not writing.

Neil Vogler said...

Hello from the campaign trail! Good blog you have here. And like the others, I agree with what Hildred said. If you let it, fear will stop you doing almost anything. But if you don't try, you'll never be fulfilled.

Natalie Hartford said...

Girl, I so hear you!!! I think we all face that fear. We put ourselves out there and...it's scary!!! I totally get it that with book 1, you had nothing to lose and now...the fear that you've set a bar you can't hit can be overwhelming...when I read that, a video and post I saw/read from Elizabeth Gilbert immediately sprung to mind that might bring you comfort!
Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=86x-u-tz0MA
Article: http://www.oprah.com/spirit/Elizabeth-Gilbert-on-the-Importance-of-Curiosity
Hope they helped!! And FYI, I am with you on the blogging. Yesterday I got soooo frustrated with my writing that I set it aside and got lost in writing a blog post and twirling around in social media land. You are right, it's instant gratification that's hard to step away from it and go back to the frustration whose reward is so far off!! I feel ya....
Guess all we can do is make the commitment and stick with it. :-)
Chin up!! Writing sprints will rock you out!

Julie Glover said...

I think you just voiced what a lot of people feel. (What if I'm not a good enough writer?) Don't we all have doubts at times?

I've been stalled with my WIP because I can't seem to pull good words out of my head onto the page. Isn't that the writer's job description?

Anyway, we get back on the horse and ride again. That's the only way to know that we are good enough. Best wishes this week, Tia! Happy writing.

Tia Bach said...

Neil, Natalie & Julie - Thanks, your words mean a lot.

Natalie, Thanks for sharing the youtube. I hope to watch it tomorrow.