Recently I have been writing pretty well, but I definitely have a lot of fear holding me back.
I’ve complained about the results of being an English Major in college a few times. That isn’t always fair, because I enjoyed college, and I have benefited in a lot of ways from what I learned in my English Literature courses.
I am going to complain about one more thing, however.
At least in my case, I felt as though the attitude of most of the people I met related to my English Major was that writing was difficult, needed to be amazing on every level, and required a genius to work out. None of those things are true, at least, not for me.
Before I became an English teacher I wrote a book that appears to still hold up. I wrote that book out of joy, not genius. I would not call myself a genius at any point, and there’s proof not just in the number of mistakes I still make, but in the mistakes I have made. My early books are terrible. So are most writers’ first books. It takes time to learn this craft. Practice doesn’t make perfect though. Practice makes skills grow. Nothing makes perfect.
Anyway, I guess this is my complaint: Reverence of literature intimidated me out of writing for quite some time. I never stopped writing for long, but the joy went out of it. One novel and one novella I wrote during this time attest to the terrible quality of my college writing. I’m not sure if either of those is repairable. Perhaps one day I’ll try to make them work again.
AS it is, I really just want to feel free to create stories beyond writing the parts I know I’m good at. I tweeted yesterday that I feel like I’m good at beginnings, but until one writes a middle and an ending as well there is no book. This is true. Am I more scared of writing middles and endings? Or do I just muddle things through a little bit after a while?
I recently moved out of the beginning honeymoon stage of the book I’m working on, and got bogged down. I still have at least 65,000 words to go. I’m trying a method I’ve used in the past to get unstuck: I jumped forward and wrote some stuff a few chapters ahead. I hope this works. It definitely worked in the previous novel I used this trick in when writing, at least in helping me finish the manuscript.
I hope you folks are doing alright. We’ve all got things to do.
Thanks for reading.