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My dreams, how they mark me

I don't know if I should be coming back to LJ-land yet, but well, here I am.  I went offline to force myself to get some writing done, and I did, two chapters' worth (4.5K words).  But I'm still three chapters away from the end. I knew when I decided to write the story that these chapters would be the toughest, hence why I saved them for last. I'm not sure now that that was such a brilliant idea. It makes getting to The End that much harder. As if finishing a book needs to be any harder.

I need to do what all writers and concerned friends of writers counsel and Just Write the First Draft. I know that, but the fears of inadequacy, they cripple me.  And they have spilled over into my dreams of late.

In one dream, I had to infiltrate a diabolical sect, but I couldn't even worship the Devil correctly. He refused me!

Last night, I dreamed that I could not take a photograph to save my life. Everything was against me: the light faded; no matter how hard I tried, the image refused to be framed correctly; the camera malfunctioned. Lots of factors outside my control, but I stupidly just kept pushing the button, pushing the button. Finally I turned to another subject, but again, everything went wrong. I thought that I should stop and check my camera, see if it was on, if it had charged batteries, etc. but no, I kept pushing the button.

So I woke up this morning, secure in the knowledge that I feel inadequate, that I have performance anxiety.  Only, I already knew that.  What I need now is the kick to get me past it.

I don't know what to do besides accept that this draft will not be perfect--nor will the next--and just keep typing one word after the next. Yet, that feels frighteningly like pushing the button.

Any advice from the masses who have trod this hellishly hard way before me?

Comments

( 16 comments — Leave a comment )
queenoftheskies
Jun. 26th, 2010 01:49 pm (UTC)
Oh, how I have suffered with this problem.

Believe that with every single word you write comes improvement. If you put off that writing, you put off the chance to evolve and learn.

Write, first, for the love of writing. Write for the love of your story, the project you're working on. Finish it and then look at it with different eyes. Instead of only love, see it how you want it to be and then strive to make it that.
mnfaure
Jun. 27th, 2010 09:16 am (UTC)
Thank you for some excellent advice.

I have to hold the image of what I want this story to be close to my heart without letting the fear of inadequacy convince me that I can never match writing to dream. Hard to do when it is love of something that inspires the most fear, for me, anyhow.
pjthompson
Jun. 26th, 2010 11:34 pm (UTC)
You are a damned fine writer, Miq, with rounded, real people as your characters and some of the most intricate and interesting plots I've ever come across. Your fears of inadequacy are just that: fears. They have no objective reality.

But saying that won't be enough, I know. I am plagued with fears of inadequacy myself. The only thing I've found that works against them is to just keep pushing on. Every novel I've ever written is a piece of c**p, if I listen to the fears. According to them, I am inflicting myself on innocent bystanders if I ask them to read my stuff. Well, that last part may be true, but... :-)

Just tell those little f**kers to shut the frick up and let you get back to doing what you do supremely well. They are the voices of all the people in your life who told you You Can't and tried to hold you back, who told you to "know your place" and "not get above yourself." They are demons of rot and rotgut. They are crocks of shite. They are bags of hot wind. They are broken records stuck on a crack, they are destructive tape loops programmed into your brain. They have no objective reality.

Get back to work. It is the cure as well as the disease.

Love and kisses and hugs.
mnfaure
Jun. 27th, 2010 01:30 pm (UTC)
Thank you, PJ. Saying it isn't enough, no, but it certainly helps.

So, this is me, plunging back into my disease. :)
pjthompson
Jun. 27th, 2010 07:31 pm (UTC)
Excellent vector management. :-)
navicat
Jun. 26th, 2010 11:39 pm (UTC)
You know, I have this trouble with every single book! I try so hard to make my first draft as good as possible that I struggle just to get it out. And you know, I always end up having to gut and rewrite it anyway -- when my wonderful readers tell me to... :)

So, for the one I'm writing at the moment, I'm working on just letting go. Just HAVE FUN. It doesn't matter if I ramble, or of I repeat myself. Or how strange some of the scenes are turning out O.O Just enjoy the world and the characters and the writing itself will reward you. Honestly, I fought so hard to make bk 2 perfect as I wrote it, and then had to rewrite to SO MUCH. But this one I'm feeling a lot more positive about, and I think it is because of that letting go.

This probably isn't the most helpful advice (cuz you already know it!) but *HUGS* you're not alone! And we can totally do this together!

(ps nice to see you back in lj land. Sometimes logging onto YIM and venting with your fellow writers helps too...)
rabiagale
Jun. 27th, 2010 02:24 am (UTC)
Yes! Save the angst for revision. *eyes piles of manuscript all over the place* You'll be there soon enough. I'll keep a spot warm for both of you. :D
navicat
Jun. 27th, 2010 05:56 am (UTC)
Great. Thanks :p
mnfaure
Jun. 27th, 2010 01:32 pm (UTC)
It does help because you reminded me that this writing thing can be fun. Ok, the things I'm writing now are not very shiny-happy, but I can still take joy in the creative process.
rabiagale
Jun. 27th, 2010 02:22 am (UTC)
I don't know if my feelings of inadequacy have ever spilled over into my dreams like that. Maybe I've just blocked them out.

Seriously. Just Do It. It's the first draft. Use a timer for 20 or 30-minute writing sessions. Do dishes or sweep between sessions. That usually works for me.

Your brain might be differently weird than mine, though. :D
mnfaure
Jun. 27th, 2010 09:09 am (UTC)
*nods* I've effectively used the timer method before. Yesterday, I did the "just write a hundred words!" con, but yeah, not going to finish a book any time soon doing that.

Even if I can't do the emotions, escalation, and disaster right this time around, there is always The Next Draft. :P
clarentine
Jun. 28th, 2010 05:08 pm (UTC)
There is *always* another draft. Maybe you can get your subconscious convinced that the next draft is when it needs to be bothering you?

Or try just putting in a bracketed comment where you run out of forward motion. Sometimes not trying to get it perfect - indeed obviously (even to my subconscious) not even trying to get it perfect - will let me get past a me-imposed blockage. As long as you note what you were trying to get at, you should be able to pick up and fill in what's missing once the perfection pressure fades.

(Which leads to the multiple color-coded brackets in my later drafts, where I note the progress of various bracketed inserts: yellow means yet to be tackled, green means completed, pink means still needs some work, and blue means there's something mentioned that remains important, but the work in this particular spot is done. I don't usually erase the bracketed comments until the final clean draft; they provide clues in case I go astray.)
mnfaure
Jun. 28th, 2010 05:22 pm (UTC)
Very clever with the colored brackets! And yes, I need to just put the gist and move on. More time for layering--heck, simply getting down some basics--later on. :P
sunflower_sky
Jun. 27th, 2010 05:40 am (UTC)
Just pointing out that vivid, frustrating anxiety dreams are a common pregnancy phenomenon. ;) Elevated hormone levels do crazy things to a person. You may notice that I've been writing about crazy dreams lately also.

Don't let the performance anxiety cripple you the way it did me. I pretty much stopped writing because my expectations exceeded my skills.

~D
mnfaure
Jun. 27th, 2010 09:05 am (UTC)
hehe. I've always been a vivid dreamer. And normally, I really love that. Yes, I could do without the ones that center on anxiety and fear; however, I would not want to be like my m-i-l who *hates* to dream (even good dreams). But yeah, hormones=even more vivid dreams.

I pretty much stopped writing because my expectations exceeded my skills.

Wow. That is pretty much it, all right.
sunflower_sky
Jun. 27th, 2010 09:34 am (UTC)
Me too :) Add the hormones, and it makes pregnancy sleep kinda trippy... o.O

~D
( 16 comments — Leave a comment )

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