I’m back, as promised! (Wait, I can actually keep those??) A bit later than I promised, but I made it back, so that’s a win in my book.
DIY MFA Book Club has actually ended, but I still want to answer all the prompts (im)patiently sitting in my inbox, and no one can tell me otherwise, so hah! 😇
Today’s prompt is a bit harder to tackle:
“Resistance comes from fear, and fear has a purpose.”
Certainly rings true. But how do you break through the fear? Do you break through the fear, or work around it?
I suppose I’m still in the midst of resisting my novel. It’s only been what, a mere five years!? (Minimum.) Yikes! Even writing this post took a week longer than I anticipated! Resisting the Resistance… does that make me evil!? 🤔 (Presuming the Resistance is always a force for good… Moving on!)
Every time I sit down to work on said novel, I either start somewhere else, exhibit A:
- “I’ll review my notes, get an idea what the timeline and flow should be like.”
- “I’ll just reread this chapter and write what follows.” (cue hair pulling because half the things need serious editing)
- “Maybe I’ll just research (a thing) and then I can keep writing…”
or I just staaaaare at the blank (ish) page forever. Scroll up and down between bits and pieces of story and scattered notes. Back to staring. “Oh hey I’m hungry!” Rinse and repeat.
And thus it’s been for a long, long time. (Disclaimer: slices of life do vary in length and subject.) To me, that’s writer’s block. (Sorry Gabriela, agree to disagree? At least for the moment. She states, “For the record, ‘writer’s block’ does not exist. It’s an excuse lazy people tell themselves to justify not writing.” A topic to re-explore another day.)
Thus, my terrible procrastinator still drives the car, with the writer in the trunk! But is my procrastination actually fear in disguise? That, or my Resistance (aka fear) feeds the procrastination. I’m in too deep, and I’m stuck.
That’s not to say Resistance hasn’t been helpful. I’ve resisted too many essays far too often to know that the huge wall fear builds up in self-defense is only going to crumble the minute a crappy sentence makes it alive onto the page. The rest (usually) follows shortly after. All part of the process?
But for my novel, I’m still building a wall while trying to kick it down at the same time. I’m SO very excited about my novel (all the feels I’ll have reading it when finished, not to mention the possibility of others liking it too!), and yet so deathly afraid of it. Afraid of the plot and the many possible plot holes, of bad character development, and most of all, afraid that the finished product will ultimately be disliked, heavily criticized, ripped apart, stomped on, and promptly set on fire (for starters). 😬
But is it worth avoiding my novel completely for the (mostly irrational) fear that a few will dislike it?? I know we can’t possibly please everyone, ever, but if I think in terms of comments on fanfictions, as much as I get an endorphin high (research needed 😜) from positive comments, it only takes one negative comment to stop everything in its track and kick the self-doubt to lightspeed.
I’ll answer with a big fat no. What am I waiting for!? The world needs my book! (Big head deflating in 3, 2… 1…) Part of being a writer, and indeed, any creator (or let’s be honest, person) is to come to terms with criticism. We can let it hit so deep it’ll cripple us forever, or we can armor up and learn to deflect, counter, or embrace. Constructive criticism still hurts, but it’s necessary pain. A learning curve that leaves a mark. But we can still grow tall and beautiful, and indeed, we must! How else will you spread your roots and share your wisdom? That it is possible to weather gale winds, tempestuous rain, and arid summers, and still come out in one piece on the other side with your beautiful finished creation?
I don’t know about you, but this certainly has been an enlightening post for me! My ramblings have led me astray into my own fears, which is one way to break down the wall, right? Identifying them and working from a place of knowledge? That’s pretty powerful. Or I’m just making stuff up. (Entirely, nay, definitely, possible.)
Nonetheless, I know that birthing this novel is, and will continue to be, a painful, arduous process, but oh so rewarding. Why? Well for starters, when compared to those essays I resisted (out of bad-grade fear), my novel doesn’t have such an inflexible deadline, the topic is entirely up to me, and I’ll probably be a lot prouder of the end result! 😇😎
So yeah, Resistance is a tell-tell sign of the troubled times/mind/heart, but it sure indicates a promising future! Acceptance is the first step. You know what you must do…
Have you encountered resistance on a writing/creative project? How did you tackle it; in military gear ready for a blitzkrieg, or with reluctance but an open mind? Did you pursue, or not pursue, that project, and how did it turn out? Let us know in the comments! 🙂