Thursday, March 7, 2019

What Are You Avoiding?

Awhile ago, I took a class by Becca Syme called Write Better Faster. (My course was offered via the Margie Lawson Academy, which has a fantastic breadth of offerings and I would highly recommend.) When I signed up for Becca's course, I was hoping it would be a magic bullet. That I would finally figure out why my daily word count is so pitifully low and, more importantly, how to fix it.

*Narrator: It was not a magic bullet.*

But I did figure out why my word count is so low - I screw around on social media when I should be writing. Did I need a course to tell me that? Absolutely not. What the course DID teach me, though, was about "essential pain" and how that factors into my decision to avoid writing.

Without going to deep - and because Becca is qualified to teach this and I am not - essential pain is basically this:

However for me - and maybe for you? - social media is only part of it. My other way of avoiding essential pain? Revising to death.

Case in point: I'm about 55K into my projected 65K novel. I've rewritten the first 100 pages twice. I'm at the "black moment" and I know how the story ends. What I don't know? How I'm going to resolve this situation I've created in a believable way. Talk about essential pain. So yesterday while drinking my coffee, I had a lightbulb moment. Maybe the reason I'm struggling lies at the beginning! Again. Why, yes, I think that's it! I went eagerly back to chapter 1, rewriting, changing my hero's motivation, even changing his name! It was going to be a big job, but I'd edit accordingly, starting from the beginning.

Thank goodness my son had a school football/soccer game yesterday that took me away from my computer. By the time I sat back down to write - after scrolling through social media again, of course - I realized what I was doing. I'm avoiding the essential pain of resolving my black moment and finishing writing my book. Because, let's be honest, there's a whole lot more essential pain waiting on the other side of finishing, too - editing, rewriting, copyediting, formatting, marketing, publishing. Reader reviews.

Does recognizing it make it easier to deal with? A little. I am going back in my manuscript to add a scene because it plays into the black moment I've already established, but the truth is, the only way through it is, well, to suck it up and do the work. I'll see you on the other side. And probably on Twitter.


Carrie Beckort said...

Oh how I relate to this. I finally figured out this was part of why I couldn't get those last few chapters done on my current manuscript. The downside is it took way too long for my light bulb moment where I figured out what it needed. Now I am also going back to the beginning. It's not a complete change so the edits are challenging as I have to check how it changes everything - including dialogue - all the way through. Cheers to the joys of writing!

Brenda St John Brown said...

Good luck with your revisions, Carrie. I'm right there with you. Not sure if that helps or not, but I'm over here cheering you on.

Cheryl Oreglia said...

This was so applicable to my way of writing in the world. I have often wondered why it takes five games of solitary on my iPhone to finally get down to business. I'm the avoidance queen. Thanks for the joyful reminder. Onward...

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