Sunday, September 28, 2008

Hurdles and Getting Started

So I’ve written off and on for years now, notebooks of ideas piling up, but I never once considered myself to be a writer.

I’ve been wanting to tackle a book project for over a year now, ideas accumulating, characters forming, but it wasn’t until about a month ago that everything sort of fell into place. One epiphany and one established author’s advice worked together to tear down the mental blocks I had set up against writing.

Firstly, I realized that nothing I say can be wrong… in my story – in my world – I am authoritative. If I want maroon skies or gargoyles that eat, I can do that… there’s no reason to fear rebuke. (Well, I didn’t make any maroon skies, but the point is still valid).
Things don’t have to be scientifically sound in a fantasy world, so I could let go of the need to make everything make sense – the need to explain everything. Furthermore, I stopped comparing my writing with that of published writers. Sure, some basic principles apply to all of us (show, don’t tell, etc), but I don’t have to emulate them to be successful. I have my own writing style, as they each have theirs.

Secondly, I really liked Stephenie Meyer’s advice that you should write for yourself. She said in an interview (and I’m paraphrasing) that if you liked the story you were writing, then you were a writer and that it didn’t matter whether or not it ever gets published and others liked it. Well with this philosophy in mind, I found myself freed from the pressure of pleasing the crowd. Now I’m writing a story that I like and when it’s done we’ll see if others agree with me.

So now I feel I’ve jumped a few hurdles and taken a sledgehammer to those mind blocks. I have to tell you, it feels great. I began writing on August 29th and I’ve found myself writing 2000-5000 words a night, landing me halfway through chapter seventeen a mere month later. So far I am very pleased with the progress, though I’m already sensing my writing skills improving, which makes this book project seem like the first stepping stone on a long road of story-weaving.

I, for one, am anxious to get to step two.

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