I’ve got my outline ready to go and I’ve done a full day of character and concept development (not so much that I know what’s behind every door, but enough that I know how my characters will react to whatever comes their way), so I assumed I’d feel revved up this morning with my mojo flowing.
I assumed I’d bust out a sloppy five chapters today to get this story underway.
Three guesses as to what didn’t happen today 😉
FULL DISCLOSURE: ALL THE PREPARATION IN THE WORLD WON’T KICK YOU INTO GEAR LIKE THE DOSE OF REALITY FROM REALIZING YOU’VE WASTED A WHOLE DAY DOING NOTHINNNNNG
As promised, I clamored into the Writer’s Trench with my outline and development notes in tow.
I scurried to my desk with a fresh mug of coffee and sat down with every intention to spit out as many chapters as possible.
But as I fidgeted in my seat, eager to bring Snowe Storms to life but hesitant to fuck her up, I began to feel the pressure of my anticipated journey and clammed up. I glanced frantically between my laptop screen and handwritten outline, begging either of them to lend me a hand here.
When I finally accepted my isolation in the moment, I began to stab at my keyboard as if my hesitation was its doing (poor thing) and, one too many loud clacks later, that’s when I realized: today would not be my writing’s day to shine.
WHETHER YOU THINK YOU CAN, OR YOU CANNOT, YOU’RE RIGHT
I sat back with a loud huff and pondered why I had suddenly shutdown.
Was I never a good writer to begin with, thus, this moment was an inevitability?
Was my story absurd, thus, everything I attempted to write became frivolity in my eyes?
Was I doomed to fail Snowe Storms like I had failed my first book by not writing it well enough either?!
Then it occurred to me: I didn’t want writing my novel to at all resemble a hoard of Wookiee’s barreling onto a battlefield; I wanted my experience to be fun and filled with curiosity and love.
So I calmly walked my ass out of the Writer’s Trench and spent the rest of the day pondering my story.
I didn’t want to charge into my book like a bloodthirsty brigade from the medieval era, determined to force the story out of me at all costs. That’s what I did the last time and I ended up with a book that I didn’t altogether enjoy and an experience that left me exhausted.
No. This time would not be like the last.
SO WHAT WAS MY FIRST DAY IN THE WRITER’S TRENCH REALLY LIKE?
It was filled with creative, one-liner, movie trailer-like statement sentences describing each chapter.
It explored character dialogue snippets and action sequences with the spontaneity of a butterfly in flight.
It was a lot of attempts and backtracks, pivots, stutters, and spontaneous jump abouts.
It was feeling like I wasn’t good enough to write this story, then that I didn’t get the outline good enough, then that neither of those things mattered (they’re both just weak excuses) and I should just sit down and write, then that I was wasting time for spending any of my time on poor writing…then…
Then it was a need to love myself and the process.
It was a realization that “loving the process” might mean respecting all facets of it, even the ones that frustrate us or make us feel unworthy.
For in those moments, we learn who we truly are: quitters or twirlers.
I WHIMSICALLY TWIRLED MY WAY THROUGH DAY ONE IN THE TRENCH LIKE A HAMMY KINDERGARTENER IN THEIR FIRST DANCE RECITAL
And because I listened to my instincts and spent the day further exploring my story from multiple angles, viewpoints, stylings, and settings, I’m left feeling even more confident that I’ll be able to truly do Snowe Storms justice!