Self Sabotage: The Fear That Binds
Lately, I have been surrounding myself with plotting, because then I can at least pretend that I'm behaving like a writer.
Scenario: I turn on my computer, all set to write. Then I write a few words, and...freeze. I wimp out, because I am afraid that what I have written is drivel. More than that -- I KNOW it's drivel. I know that I haven't yet begun my story. I have no idea how to begin my story. Everything I write, I hate. It's not what's in my head. The thought of actually finishing anything terrifies me. I am afraid that it will all fall apart at the seams, as it has, so many times. Thus the page stays blank. Thus I sabotage myself, fearing to write, and writing nothing at all.
So, I dash back under the warm security blanket of planning. Plotting characters. Plotting conflicts. Trying to prize out the boundaries between each of my series ideas. Trying to do character back stories. Et cetera, et cetera. Well, the fact is, this is no more than productive procrastination. I'm a pantser. For me, there really is no substitute for walking around in a character's skin and speaking with their voice, is there? That's how stories breathe. Blueprints have no heartbeat.
I refuse to fear the computer any longer. Yes, I will write drivel. In fact, I wrote 838 words of drivel today. I know they most likely will not make it into the final story, but they're words, and words are the only real way to make progress. A plan won't make it onto the printed page.
What I recall most poignantly at this moment are several moments during NaNo 2010 when I was there. The story was building itself before my eyes, as long as I kept writing. It was like a ton of butt ugly bricks suddenly flying up into the air and building a fractal pattern of endless complexity, but tangible meaning, before my eyes.
Unfortunately, just like a ton of bricks on an unstable foundation, it crumbled just as November ended.
I guess I am just not one of those people who can write a complete story in a month. I just need to keep going, and write a little every day, so that in time, I won't be so rusty. Today's words came out stilted and awkward. The characters talk like me, and not like themselves. That will improve.
Even now, I see glimmers of what goes through my characters' heads, and maybe one day, I can capture them as I want them to be captured.
In other news, I've cottoned on to Richard's secret identity. Richard is my Muse of Logic. In fact, I don't even know his real name. He won't tell me.
"Richard's" job is to clean up the plot holes that Henry leaves behind. I knew Richard looked like Iain, the future Emperor of Calor, though they are not the same person. However, there is no mistaking that his sense of humor, work ethic, and certain mannerisms belong to Mike. Mike is the main character of the first novel I was ever serious about writing, now called Deus Ex Machina.
Even Henry shares some qualities, whether physical or personal, with a lot of my female characters. I should hardly be surprised that a part of Mike's identity has turned up now in Richard. Mike has, after all, been quietly in my head for eight years, and is very, very good at being patient, and very, very good at solving other people's problems without them ever knowing about it.* It's almost like he doesn't care about the credit.
Incidentally, like Iain, Mike is also a future ruler of humanity. Way to look like one dictatorial emperor that controls the entire fate of humanity and behave like another, Richard.
Two people who hate not getting their own way in the worst possible way.
What's creepy is that knowing Richard, I am not surprised.
I sense imminent trouble with Beyoncé the Plot Hydra.
*(This is very, very bad writing, and I know it. It's a deplorably incurable habit of mine never to edit blog posts beyond spot changes.)