Saturday, March 5, 2011

Just Gonna Do It

My goal was to finish at least the initial version of a novel-sized story before the end of my writing class term.  It ends this week.  I am super close.  Life has sucked over the last two weeks, so I have postponed writing the ending, although I plotted it out in my mind several weeks ago and am excited to get it on paper. 

Today, I will do it.  My kids and husband will be gone for a few hours this morning.  I can leave and work on it this afternoon if I need to.  I am going to write it even if it sucks and I have to tear it apart for hours to get it right.  I want to finish it and move on.  I have put myself in editing hell over the last two weeks - picking apart each paragraph of the preceding thirteen chapters.  I will finish this story so I can step away from it for a while.  I desperately need to find my happiness by writing again.  I need it today.

I have come to the point in my life that I trust my skills as a storyteller.  I've lived long enough with enough diverse experiences, quietly watching, to be able to take pieces of reality and weave it into a story without hurting anyone's feelings or calling them out (I hope).  I feel comfortable with my skills describing a scene and characters in words and walking the reader through a scene.  I am confident about my abilities to form chapters that work.  I love creating characters.  Today,  I still feel like I'm close but not quite there - that my writing is not good enough, that I need to work on my technique more.

Despite my waning confidence, I will finish this story today - I will finish it! - as soon as I finish this little post and my big cup of coffee and forget the stress of making sure everyone had cash in their pockets, adequately charged cell phones, an agreement on expectations of when they would leave and that they would stay together, and that my husband had diapers and sippy cup for my babes and a guaranteed plan for getting him out of the place without a full blown conniption fit. 

After I write my last chapters - starting tonight, tomorrow, or maybe next week - I want to work on a series of short stories.  Again, I know I can tell a story and I have several stories with similar themes in my mind. 

Instead of working on my story-telling over the next ten weeks, I want to work on technique, specific techniques - at least one for each story - point of view, dialogue, setting, etc.  I have a book from a college writing class I took and immediately dropped because of my overwhelming insecurity over my ability to write fiction.  Starting tomorrow I am going to consume a chapter of this book at a time, read a dozen short stories a week that use that technique, and work on that technique in one story. 

I think it will be fun.  I think it will push me out of my rut and my recent feeling of insecurity despite the two novels I have completed in record time.

When I did software development (with a degree in English Literature - no formal computer training except week long classes and mentoring from those who knew more than me), I often felt insecure about my abilities.  When I did, I immersed myself in one technical aspect of it until I nailed it.  Then I moved to the next until I felt I was competent.  As soon as that insecurity arose again, I repeated the process with more training classes or more immersion in whatever was tripping me up.  I think that same persistence will make me a better writer.  I can't imagine it will hurt....

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