Procrastination, and scaring the words away
Oh boy, have I ever been procrastinating. See this sparkly new website design? That was a massive procrastination task.
There’s my desk. I moved it from a much smaller space, and got a faster computer after the old one completely stopped working. All of those things were necessary, sure. But I’ll be honest: what I should have been doing was revising this big middle grade novel.
I love the book I need to revise. I believe in it. But I’m also scared of it. The revision I need to do is huge. I need to change character arcs and motivation, plot points, and scenes. I need to add new scenes and delete a lot of the old ones. I need to move a lot of scenes around. I know what to do. It’s not impossible. But it’s the biggest revision I’ve ever done, and in so many ways I’m scared to begin.
You know how when you’re deep in a book you’re writing, the characters talk in your head all the time? Sentences and paragraphs and chapters start writing themselves when you’re out for a walk. This isn’t happening at all for me right now. You know why? Because I’m not actually working on the book. I’m revising my website and cleaning my desk and setting up my new computer. My kids are home for snow days, my kids are home with colds, and I use that as an excuse. I should really be slapping on the noise-cancelling headphones and saying, “You take a nap, I need to work on this book.” But I’m not feeling compelled to. I know I need to, but right now I don’t have to, because I’ve been away from it for too long.
This is what stops “aspiring” writers from ever being plain old writers. The starting is too daunting, and if the characters aren’t hollering at you all the time (and especially if you don’t know that they will, once you’re writing), it’s hard to know how to begin.
The only way to begin is to begin. This post is as much for myself as it is for you. I just need to start already. For the record, I have started, and then I got sidetracked with another writing thing that needed to get done, so now I’m in the position of also having to figure out where I was when I stopped revising a few months ago. But I’m not going to figure it out by setting up a new website, or cleaning my desk, or folding laundry. I’m only going to do it by cracking open that three-ring binder, going over my notes, opening the file, and starting to get messy.