Wednesday, January 3, 2007

Write On Wednesday-Get It Done

I've got a couple of interesting ideas rolling around in my head, ideas that could evolve into good short stories. The thing is, they've been just rolling around in my head for several months now, and I haven't done a single thing to bring them out and put them onto the page. So what am I waiting for? Why don't I just start writing and get it done?

One of the big reasons is motivation. There's much to be said for the power of the deadline. When I partcipated in NaNoWriMo last November, the scimitar of November 30 was hanging heavily over my head - write those 50,000 words by then or you're a loser! Added to that was the personal competition of several of my close blogger friends, making it feel somewhat like a horse race with our fingers pounding the keyboard like Secretariat's hooves on the racetrack. Now, as interesting as those story ideas are, I have so many other things to do - like traveling, and eating out, working and shopping, and writing this blog. There's no reason to hurry ~ I can write those stories anytime at all. But at this rate, that anytime could turn out to be the twelfth of never!

The other thing barring the door on these stories is my inner critic. That's the voice that says "Why bother wasting time on those stories? What's the point? No one's ever going to read them." In an essay entitled Calming the Inner Critic and Getting to Work, novelist Allegra Goodman wirtes that "the only way out of this trap is to concentrate on writing itself, for itself. The writer who is enamored of her material forgets all about censoring herself." Goodman also accuses this inner critic of being the writer's number one scapegoat. "There is no better excuse for getting nothing done than to lock yourself in battle with the the famous demons of self-criticism and doubt."

In Pen On Fire, Barbara DeMarco Barrett affirms this advice. "Write because you love doing it, because you like how you feel when you write... because the stories you long to tell are important." I would add to that last sentence, "even if only to you." As I learned in completing NaNoWriMo, the momentum of the story carries you forward, and you find you must learn the ending for yourself, even if for no one else.

Writing is definitely a challenge, and I need a challenge to myself - get those stories down on paper because they need to be told. Silence the inner critic that urges you to set them aside because they're "not good enough." Here's my challenge to myself, in black and white for all of you to see. I will complete one of those stories by January 31, 2007. I will get it done!

How about you? What writing (or other creative project) do you need to get done? And what's holding you back?

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6 Comments:

Blogger Jerri said...

You're so right about the push of NaNoWriMo. Even knowing that the only way to write is to sit down and DO it, it's tough to get started.

Can't wait to read these stories. Feb 1 post?

BTW---LOVED your "tart" comment today, Becca.

1/03/2007  
Blogger Bibi said...

Yes, deadlines work for me because there's always 'tomorrow' without!

What do I need to finish up? I finished a manuscript last year and want to polish it. Inner critic is one of my hold-backs (that whole, must be perfect thing that leads to procrastination, and that many of us deal with).

I'm going to call an editor I know right now and tell her to expect Feb 01. There ... deadline set ... thanks Becca!!! And Happy New Year.

1/03/2007  
Blogger Star said...

For awhile now, I've been flitting from one thing to another (with the added busy-ness of holidays and work thrown in). I was really excited and getting geared up for a new project, but as sometimes happens, I "overprepare" and the whole thing suddenly seems overwhelming and then I back way off to regain perspective.

NaNoWriMo was a really good experience for me, in part, because it was literally a last-minute decision to do it. No hype beforehand, no time for doubts to build, just open up a new document and go.

My goal will be to get one creative thing done instead of dabbling in one and then another and then still another. So by January 31, I will complete one creative project.

1/03/2007  
Blogger Tammy said...

Good for you Becca! I've been procrastinating on my novel and am searching for time. Good luck! xxoo

1/03/2007  
Anonymous Paris Parfait said...

Beautiful, wise words Becca. You can do it - write that story/those stories! Find the time - you already have the talent. Last year a French friend told me there are certain stories only I can tell - about people who have died too young; about unique things in history I've witnessed. She said, You have to tell these stories; otherwise they will be lost forever! Then she shrugged that Gallic shrug and looked at me like "What are you waiting for? Get on with it!" And you, Becca have your own unique stories to tell. And I'm looking forward to reading them. xo

1/03/2007  
Blogger Bug said...

Great post! I think all writers can relate. I definitely have things like this just waiting to get out of my head. Good luck with your deadline!

1/04/2007  

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