Thursday, September 30, 2010

I’m a Huge Chicken—And Not the Delicious Kind

Though I guess I probably wouldn’t want to be too delicious. ;)

WARNING: This post is served up with a large dose of crazy…

So I was making chicken the other night and thinking about my WIP—always thinking about the WIP—and I started wondering why I can’t finish the dang thing. I’ve been within 5000 words of finishing for over a week (within 10,000 words for close to a month, and more than halfway done for, like, for-ev-er). It’s really pathetic, especially since I know exactly how it’s going to go. None of that pantser business holding me back.
The ending is all mapped out, and I’m excited about it, but every time I sit down to write, I read through the last few paragraphs, raring to go, and then I just sit there, staring. And then my mind wanders and I click over to my email and Facebook and my Google Reader… You can see where this is going, right? So I thought maybe it was just distractions holding me back—that pesky procrastination. But as I thought about it more, I realized it’s just that I’m a big chicken.
I can’t believe I’m admitting this, because it’s so stupid, but the real reason I can’t finish my story is because I’m scared. Scared it won’t be good enough. Scared the ending is going to suck. Scared the last two years—writing it, revising it, scrapping the whole thing, and rewriting it from scratch—have all been a waste of time. Scared I'm just deluding myself that I can write at all.
Yes, I realize this is just my neurotic writer self shining through and I’m over-thinking the whole situation, but that doesn’t change anything. I’m still a huge chicken.
What is wrong with me!? Wait. Don’t answer that. ;)
Seriously though, I’m hoping that by getting it out of my head and sending it out into the ether, I’ll be able to let the stupid-ness go and just finish the dumb thing.
That was all. Thanks for listening to me whine.
So, what about all of you? Do you find that fear holds you back sometimes?


  1. More than I'll ever admit to. I can write like the wind and have a book through a first draft within months, then sit on it till hell freezes over. The revisions get me, I have to stop trying for perfection. Nothing is ever perfect, close but not. (Hugs)Indigo

  2. Oh, yes. I put off the last few revisions of my MS for MONTHS. When I finally bit the bullet and did it, it only took two days to finish. But I had wasted MONTHS of time because of fear. :-)

  3. Wow, I could have written this post. I think that's a lot of the reason it took me so long to finish my first draft. And now that I'm on revisions, I find myself procrastinating when I'm supposed to be writing. Deep down I'm scared that it's no good and I'm wasting my time.

  4. I'm feeling like that with this middle I'm working on. I sit down to type, and I make myself pour out words, but I'm not sure how much the story is following my original vision. Not that the change away from that original vision is a bad thing but until I finish, I won't know for sure.

    Le sigh!

  5. I worry that I'm wasting my time at least once a day and that's a good day!
    I've resigned myself to the fact that I'm always going to be insecure, so now I just try to ignore the evil little voices who whisper that I'm a total hack.

    And, for what it's worth, I love Embrol hardcore. I certainly don't think you're wasting your time.

  6. I have no idea about what you're talking about. (NOT!!)

  7. I do the exact same thing whenever I get to a big climactic moment. I'm so terrified I'm going to ruin it, it takes me an extra week to write it! Good luck, you can do it!

  8. Hmm, I do know what you mean. When I started writing at first, I was like that all the time and it totally froze my writing. But now, I just try to focus on the things about my writing that are good for sure -- it's a good outlet for feelings and excess energy, it gives me a sense of accomplishment, and it makes me very very happy. So that's all for now. And I know that is not a waste of time.

    As for getting published, I do hope so and whenever I'm not sure I just say I'm learning and getting better : )

    As for Embrol, you can always tweak, always add more. You've got most of the framework so far, you can always decorate it later : )

  9. that might be what's holding me back, too. and it's nice to know someone else is stuck at 5000 or so from the end.

    btw, yes, you do know how to write. you had me wanting to know what happened next.

  10. Really, Abby, I think you and I are the same person sometimes. I just struggled with the exact thing. I couldn't finish my rewrites, then I couldn't finish my revisions, and now, I can't seem to finish my edits. I'm a big old chicken too, and it doesn't feel very good. Here's to us both getting a little long overdue courage! :)

  11. This is a timely (and great) post. I've been struggling for some time now with revising a short story, and just like you, I can't seem to get this round of revisions done. Every time I think about sitting down and working on it, I just...don't. I could blame procrastination, but I think what you're saying here is probably closer to the truth. Maybe we both need to just toss this fear to the side and get busy, huh? Thanks for the inspiration, Abby.

  12. It's great thinking about finishing a wip but the reality is different. For me, it's more that I know the revision road is just as hard and there is a certain anti climactic depression that hits me after I finish a manuscript. Don't know why.

    You can do it! You're so close. Now that you know it's the big chicken, you can shoo him away.

  13. The great thing about writing is that nothing you write is in stone. Unless you carve it into a stone. :)

    Consider a double-edged approach. Tell yourself you can always change those last 5,000 words, but that you have to write all 5,000 (or until you reach the planned end of your story).

    At that point, you'll have a complete draft that can sit for a while and cool off. You can judge its effectiveness after the cooling period. Or give it to betas if you still feel too close to it.

    Good luck!

  14. Ohmigod, I TOTALLY feel the same way! I haven't been able to work on my MG WIP because I keep thinking, oh, what if it sucks!!! Gah! So silly--I need to push through.

    So, yes, I'm a chicken too. Extra crispy. ;)

  15. Fear does hinder me, especially when I know the planned scene isn't right, but I won't be able to evaluate it for what's wrong until after I have something on paper.

    Part of that fear's likely because I'm the type of person that smacks my face on a tree and misses that there's an actual forest. Once something's written, I have a harder time viewing things any other way. But practice seems to be making it easier to do that... once I remember that it needs to be done.

    (Found your blog thanks to Janice Hardy's guest post, btw.)