Writing, Motivation, and Fear

Here I am, making a public commitment to writing again! I just caught up with a high school friend I hadn’t seen in months. One of the things we did together in the past is served as editing buddies for each other for our NaNoWriMo novels. It was actually extremely effective and motivating to get stuff written and get excited about our stories.

We just decided to be writing buddies again! I’m excited to get back into writing, but also apprehensive. I feel a bit like I have a fear of commitment in writing- not wanting to commit to a project in case it isn’t good or isn’t the “right” one. My friend has been working on editing the same novel I helped her edit two years ago. I wrote another one in the meantime, and now want to start fresh writing a third. To be fair, my novel idea is one I tried to novelize before (and failed miserably), have been thinking about for awhile, and just finished a Pathfinder campaign in this setting.

But still. It makes me think Is this the right project? Am I choosing the right thing to spend my time on? I’m going to outline this one before I just jump into the writing. I started some outlining work and have a LOT of questions still about the way this story is going to go. I know a lot of the characters, but there are already a lot and I will probably need more. I also don’t exactly know who the main characters will be and from those who the POV characters will be. As I’m thinking about the overarching plot for the story- there are three major plots and it’s kind of a complex story. It makes me wonder if it is too much for a single novel or if it should really be a trilogy or some other number of serial books.

That question terrified me enough to stop my outlining and write this blog post instead of finishing my outlining first like I had planned.

That question also makes me angry. I’m angry at myself for doubting myself. I’m frustrated that every time I start making progress on something I love, I doubt myself. I stop. I don’t trust myself. It’s hard to understand why. It’s even harder to combat it.

So I’m making a pledge here and now to work on this novel, this project. If it’s the “wrong” one, I won’t have wasted time. I will have learned a lot of things about outlining and about writing. I will enjoy working on this project, even if I don’t edit it and even if I never publish it. Even if it’s three books. Even if it should have been three books but I wrote it in one. I’m giving myself advance permission to fail. It’s okay if this book is terrible. It’s okay if nothing ever comes of it. It’s okay to write because I like writing. It’s okay for this book to not even be good enough to submit to be published.

I’m giving myself permission to write for myself. To not be perfect. To not succeed. To put in a lot of effort, even if it comes to nothing- or less than I expected.

Hopefully these permissions will be enough to finish this project- however long it takes. That’s what success will look like for me.

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