Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Unblocking the Mental Barrier

I figured I had to write in this thing, given that the cobwebs (and the photo in my last entry) were taking over.

I think I've finally named my demon, the real reason I've been so unproductive lately. I put entirely too much pressure on myself. I know that doesn't sound like much, but my whole life has been wrapped up in writing. I've been doing this since I was barely old enough to know what a plot was and it's been my dream to see my name in print for years. But the pressure I put on myself is greater than any outside barrier that could influence me.

The problem is that I want to be perfect. It's a fantasy, but I want to live up to it. I want to be a best-seller without any effort. I want to just sit and write and have the story come out nearly perfect in the first draft and have every person who reads it love it from the first sentence and be showered with awards which I will humbly accept and live on my money from that so I don't ever have to work an hourly wage or live with roommates or worry about car payments or mortgages or any of the other crap that "normal" people are plagued with. It's silly, but it's a dream.

I can't lie. I've been holding on to this unreal fantasy for so long, training myself to let go of it will take some doing. But I have to. If I want to write professionally, I have to get over this illusion that I can do it without putting in the work. That's what I'm forcing myself to start now. I'm looking at old stories I've written and trying to rewrite them. Not just the ones with a few typos here and there, but the ones that need major restructuring. And I have to let myself acknowledge that they need that level of work instead of saying that people should like them in spite of their flaws. I have to force myself to see the weaknesses in my writing and be willing to put in the hard work to improve them. And I have to learn to forgive myself for not writing near-perfect first drafts. I have to be willing to change my entire way of dealing with these issues if I ever want to have a chance at a writing career. I don't want to be one of those people who talks about writing all the time and never produces anything. It's a sad way to be.

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