I’m working on Lorlenalin’s Lies today when I realized something I wanted to present as a topic.
I just want to say, I don’t believe in Writer’s Block. I really don’t. This is mainly because I always, ALWAYS have something to write… to say… to plot away.
In addition to the six or eight book Tales of the Drui series, I also have “The Light House” planned along with “The Raven:” a Dark Romantic trilogy placed in 16th century Atlantic Seas about a girl who goes pirate-in-disguise to track down the pirate who killed her love. She ends up falling in love with said pirate before realizing that he is the one who murdered her love. She spends the rest of the series, looking to kill him while taking on a massive treasure hunt she plans to beat him to. It has a wonderfully tragic ending. I also have a sequel to Broken planned called “Breaking Free.” I also am brainstorming a Gothic Romance along with another fantasy stuck in my head. And then there is the Eladrin Stones. And I would love—LOVE—to write my own edition of Beauty and the Beast. I have enough writing to keep me busy for the next thirty years.
HOWEVER… Writer’s Block simply doesn’t explain why I’ve not been able to pick up pen and just WRITE for the last four weeks. Distraction was my first thought. But four weeks ago, I cleared my platter and have literally had NOTHING to do. I wouldn’t say I procrastinated (another issue writer’s face).
So what is it!? If not Writer’s Block or Writer’s Procrastination why have I avoided the pen? That is when I realized. This is a case of Writer’s Fear.
As I describe this, many of my author colleagues will reply with enthusiasm. They know this too well.
What exactly is Writer’s Fear? It is the incessant nagging fear that our next book won’t nearly be as good or as loved as our last. It is the overwhelming mountain of work laid out before us. Now that we know the amount of work laid out ahead due to the amount of work now behind us, we are apprehensive to start again. And again. And again. It is the mound of deadlines that await us once we get this book off the ground. And we know, we will have to face the fear the moment we take up pen and begin.
So how do we get over the fear and face it?
Well, here is my advice.
Start simple. Get Organized.
Clear your head of the future and just collect all your chapters into one place and review. I like to use Excel to compose chapter outlines, projected word counts, and track chapter descriptions. I also use this spreadsheet to list all the changes I need to make or check up on as well as the scenes I need to add.
In the case of Lorlenalin’s Lies, it is already written. I have to change some words, clean up the format (a lot), and add about ten new scenes to smooth out the jumps. I also had a major plot change introduced in Dolor and Shadow that I need to add to Lorlenalin’s Lies. Overall, it is not a lot of work in comparison to a book started from scratch, but still… I dread the beta reads, the changes, the edits…
My greatest fear… really… is the reality that I just spent seven years writing Dolor and Shadow (and Lorlenalin’s Lies). What if it takes me another seven years to complete each book? No matter that I just conceived, wrote, edited, and published, Broken literally within six months. I don’t trust my own proficiency. I don’t trust that I have improved at all from seven… now eight… years ago. It’s ludicrous, I know. Nevertheless, today, I’ve exchanged my fear for the pen.
I also have a fear I will forget pieces of this giant web I’ve composed in my head.