May 21, 2010

Insight into the Aspiring Writer's Mind

Today's fright is my own damned panic. I just realized I only have 2 months left while I sit here mired in frustration and pressure. I got to that point this morning where I feel the need for a break. The calendar says: NO TIME.

The root of the frustration was chapter 31. I hated it and couldn't figure out why. The time it was taking ticked loudly like the countdown on a bomb. I finally figured out what was wrong with it. Reading one of my homework assignments last night and taking a moment to recenter my voice this morning helped. I got sidetracked by other people's ideas. It was killing me. In moderation, M, in moderation. This is still your work. Yup, it's mine. I believe in it. Time to shut those other voices out. Otherwise I'm slitting my own throat.

Yet here I sit in panic mode telling myself: there's not enough time. I'm not going to finish.

The optimisitc side says: 5/6 weeks in and you're almost half way done. You have 10 weeks left. If you need it, you can take 14, but you're not going to need it.

The panic says: It's only 10 weeks! I can't do it. I need a break. I should switch.

The rational side says: Just shutup and do it. You can do it.

PS: This chapter sucks.

RS: Did suck. You fixed it. Shutup and keep going. One chapter at a time. Keep going.

PS: The whole thing sucks.

RS: No, just chapter 31 sucked. You fixed it and claimed your voice back. It's back in there now. It was already in the other chatpers. Keep going.

PS: Ahhhhhhhhhh.

RS: Scream if you must, then keep going. Let's see if we can fit that into the chapter somehow. Your main character just bumped into some aliens. She must feel panicked, too.

PS: Hmmm, yeah. I should use it.

RS: Yes, keep going. It's going to be just fine. It's a good story. It deserves to be finished. The two rough sequels you wrote want to see the light of day, too.

PS: Maybe I can finish the second novel faster. It's a good fit for one of the agents.

RS: You'll lose your momentum and train of thought. Stick with what you're doing. This one is a better fit for two of the agents you're meeting and still fits the third. You can mail them all the second novel in the fall when you finish it. Next year you can pitch #3. And, you better start getting used to the idea of deadlines.

PS: I love this?

RS: You love this. The observatory opens next week.

PS: Cutting into my time.

RS: And helping to keep you calm and centered. You can do this.

PS: I can do this. Let's get back to work.

An example of a morning inner dialogue. Probably one I will repeat over and over until August. I didn't estimate the pressure setting in again until next week. I have a big rewrite in front me yawning like an abyss. I have to quit looking at the whole and break it down into smaller steps. Build me a bridge. I know this. It's what works for me. The pressure brought out some damn fine writing this morning. I have no idea from where it sprung. Out of the need to get it done? Out of a similarity to the homework I was reading last night that reinforced my confidence? Probably both.

Those nights at PMO will feel like a break and rejuvenate me. I need it. In a big way, I need it. Repeat mantras, M: Don't panic [Hitch Hikers Guide to the Universe]. Never give up, never surrender. [Galaxy Quest]. Shine on universe, shine on [an M original].

I also think I should seriously think about going decaf until August. :-O Sometime in July the inner dialogue should get really interesting.