The Will to Write: If In Doubt, Fake It!
It's all too easy for one's early enthusiasm to wilt long before completing a novel. There really isn't any easy way through these times, but there are tricks you can play to ease yourself out of them. One is to indulge in a little self-deception.
A while back, the Wall Street Journal posted The Case for Lying to Yourself, which is worth a read. The gist of it is that:
"Benefits tend to come, research shows, when people simply block out negative thoughts, envision themselves enjoying future successes, or take an optimistic view of their abilities—all of which tend to improve performance."
As a teenager I was frequently coerced into participating in school plays, but the only way I could deal with the inevitable stage fright was to 'become' my part long before I had to go on stage. That way, it wasn't happening to the real me, who felt so inadequate, but to the character I was playing, who was totally up for it, whose lines had already been written, who knew what to do.
I'm trying to finish a book by the end of August, but today I ground to a halt. I just couldn't seem to get started. So I referred to my backup: 50 Questions To Consider When Writing a Novel (a worthwhile free download from Writer's Digest), and wrote in my novel journal to identify my doubts and brainstorm solutions.
Then I pretended to be a well-published author with scads of eager fans waiting for this book. Someone who had done this a gazillion times before and made a good living from it. Someone who knew what they were doing, and didn't doubt their path through the story, who instinctively knew what should happen next.
I gave myself a writing prompt, set the timer for 30 mins, and let myself free-write nonsense, just to get my fingers moving, while pretending to be this Famous Author Who Knows What She's Doing.
And it worked.
I just had to get myself out of the way, and let Someone Else do the writing for a while.
Writing is really, really hard. Don't let anyone make you feel bad for struggling! You're not alone. We're all struggling. But we can do this! And the Muses—all eleven of us—are cheering you on.
Top image source: Morguefile.com
A British expat, she's currently finishing a fantasy adventure for young adults. You can find links to her online haunts on her website.
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