Stagefright

How many of you have spent a lot of time rehearsing to put on a show?  You spend weeks and months and maybe even years getting ready to go on stage and face the public and bare yourself and your creative skills to the judgment of the public.  To dare their criticism or praise is one of the most nerve-wracking things a person can do in my opinion.

And this is why I’m struggling so hard now that I am ready to launch my book.  Its so bad I am fighting very hard against throwing up my hands throwing what I have out onto the internet for free and hide under my bed sobbing.

I have stagefright, or at least the writer’s version thereof.  Apparently it’s an issue I’ve struggled with all my life and I’m putting it out here for all to see not to garner sympathy but in an effort to not let it ruin my designs again.

On another hand, this reminds me of two points friends have brought up to me in the past.

sheldon-cooper-freaking-out-reaction-gif-on-big-bang-theory

First, once again, Thank you Mr. Lawrence who brought front and center to my attention the Hero’s Journey.  Not as it only applies to my writing but also how it applies to my life.  “The treasure you seek is in the cave you fear to enter,” he said ever so sagely in his soft southern lilt.  And dammit if this isn’t the cave I fear to enter.  Which means I have to enter it if for nothing more than to avoid the SECOND bit of wisdom on the subject.

Another friend, Fran, she had reminded me a long time ago that God will continually bring us back to the same point in which we failed, hoping that this time around we will surpass the challenge.  Much like being forced to beat an challenge on the obstacle course.  So I have my very own angelic R. Lee Ermy shouting at my Gomer Pyle self to the top of the wall get my butterball ass over the top.

So.  The next steps are far harder than I thought they would be.  Who knew, right?  But it’s time for me to get on that stage and perform.

 

 

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Fear of Failure, Fear of Success

Nothing creative to post today.

Although I have a correction to make in my timeline to post coming up.  A small bit of significant history I forgot to include.  Oh well.

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The second draft of my novel, (currently titled Reimarsoga) is now in the can and I’m letting it cool for a few days before I dig back into it.  I need to give my brain a chance to rest and think.  I have sent it out to a couple of alpha readers for feedback and seeing if I missed some major things that must be addressed, and then we move forward for the third and fourth edits… which I hope will be the last of them thanks to each step involving outside input.

What made the second draft so hard was simply how much new content I had to write.  The first draft was great exploration but when I started learning about editing and better storycraft and functional use of the three act structure, I realized I had a beginning hook and great middle build… but no real conclusion.  Part of this might be because I had expected this to be only the first part of a bigger book (which the remainder is now to become an even bigger second novel), the other is just because of bad planning and storytelling on my part.

So I re-plotted and decided to look at all of the “Chekov’s Guns” I’d drawn in the course of it all.  I considered major tropes that fantasy novels loved to have in.  I thought about all the things that I loved in novels and said:

“Self, you need to fix this and write write write.”

“Okay… but only if you hurry this up, rational thought.  I have a deadline to meet.”

“Deadline, Schmedline.  It’ll be done when it’s done and that’ll be when its good.”  Rational Mind snapped

“Isn’t it always good?” Self whined?

“No.  Now shut up, here’s a Vonnagut colored crayon for your mouth.  Get writing!”

And that was the way of it.  I put out over 120 pages of new content, scattered throughout the entire plotline.  There were so many holes!  Not to mention converting the whole book over from first to third person!  Ugh!  You realize how frustrating that can be?  It may be easy to change “I” to “He” and what not, but just that delay in moving forward can be disheartening.

Then came the worst sensations of the edit:  I started to fear its completion!  One half of the brain was freaking out because the book could suck and I’d be just wasting my time.  Many times I spit the crayon out of my mouth or bit it in two, frustrated at my own inability to make myself coherent.  Time and time again, like many a good writer I suspect, I threw out what I thought was good, but in the ended up with a “this fish tastes funny” so I spit it out and tried again.  At times, I was fortunate enough to be blessed with two very precious people to give me feedback just when I needed it most (take another pair of bows Torfinn and Francois… aren’t they lovely folks?) and help me conquer so many questions that finally… FINALLY, the end was in sight last on Wednesday night.

Then fear of success jumped up and kicked me in the ding ding.  What if I did succeed?  Then what?  I started having a bit of a freak out over that.  Now although it seems to be rare for people to have anxiety over succeeding, I get it, and it can be powerful enough to destroy the whole creative process.  Why?  Because you get comfortable with the creative process and do not wish it to end for fear of not knowing what is next.  Or something else more fitting for your own situation.  So I wrestled with it as it stole my creativity and voice.  It did not want me to produce anything of good enough quality that I could complete the work.  It was not writer’s block per sey for I could pump out pablum and be done with it… but my conscience would not allow that.

Thankfully, I was able to have a small spark of inspiration and make a leap forward and those last pages shot out like a lovely last silver salute and chrysanthemum (know your fireworks), and I could relax.  The hardest work so far was done.

And I was surprised at the peace that I had.  Now it was clear how often I was fearing doing this novel right as much as I was fearing doing it wrong.  I am looking forward to the third edit and the beta read and the cover competition, and hiring an editor…

and finally maybe… just maybe…

making my ultimate deadline and book release dates.

So much more to learn and do.