Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Fear of Writing

I started the year staring at a blank page. I hate this part of writing. It’s the worst. This entire book is in my head. I know it from beginning to end. I've been thinking about it for over a year, but when I sit down to write it, I freeze.

I love writing. I really do. Yet I know the minute I start typing, I’ll become so entrenched with the storyline and characters that I won’t really surface again until I finish the book. That could be four months. Maybe six. I’ll go to my day job and do my usual routine, create budgets, pay bills, ask my husband three, maybe four times a night, what he wants for dinner and finally listen when I hear that heavy sigh of impatience. I'm so mentally gone that half the time I can't remember any of it. Because I’m halfway there. At least, until the book is done.

People think because I love to write that it must be easy. Fact is, it’s exhausting. I’m not scared of writing the story. I’m scared of what it does to me. I never want to come down from that high. When I do, it isn’t pretty.

Seriously, what is the block? I promised myself I’d start this book today. I’ve set my deadline to finish it by July 1. I even told my CP today was the day. She'll probably email tomorrow to check my word count.

So just about the time I started to feel guilty about my in ability to start this book, I realized we had a half-inch of sleet and snow outside. A few hours after that, the governor declared a state of emergency in Alabama and most of the businesses in the cities are closing down for Monday.

I should be happy about this. I have another day off. Even the higher forces are making sure I start this novel.

Tomorrow I'll start, I swear. My husband said he's going to make sure of it. Meanwhile, I'm writing my friends and fellow blog readers about the most absurd fear of all time. I'm scared of disappearing into another world and not wanting to come back. I'm actually nervous about it. How ridiculous.

Have you ever loved anything this much? So much that it terrified you to lose yourself so completely? I write about characters who love like this.

I don't think I realized why until just now.


Christine said...

I tend to inch into my books the same way I inch into a cold lake. One toe at a time, girl! I fiddle with characters, do a mini overview, loosely plot, "research," and then I start building the story. The next thing I know, I'm in over my head and swimming like mad for the other side of the lake.

Baby steps!


Lexi said...

I feel your pain. I have a mini crisis every time I sit down to write. I dread it until I actually have the story open in front of me and start to work on it. But I dread the butt in chair. Why the dread of something I love so much? Because it's hard. It's work and it's not easy. And I know what you mean about the writing taking you over. I walk around in a fog half the time, half in and half out of this world. Not a good thing when you work and have a family!

Anne Gallagher said...

I'm at the same stage right now. I'm supposed to be working on a book, have the outline and some chapters already started but, I'm afraid.

Diving into the deep end again, and not knowing when I'll be up for air is stifling the forward momentum I had before the holidays.

Jane Charles said...

I've been editing when I really want to continue writing. But, I tend to block out the rest of the world when working. Hey, when did my kids grow up? So, ya, I kinda fear the getting lost in a book and am very careful to block time away from writing in the evenings to spend time with the family when dinner and homework is doen. When I can actually balance it, I don't fear or worry.

M.V.Freeman said...

I fear to write, but I fear I won't tell my story the right way. Its been a painful process for me.

But, fear of writing because you lose yourself--I can understand that. Your story becomes all consuming.

I'd say... take a deep breath and make a decision. Good luck..!

Callie James said...

Thanks, Christine. I'm trying!

Callie James said...

You're right, Lexi. My husband is understanding (somewhat) when I'm in a fog, but my job ... not so much.

Callie James said...

Nice to know I'm not alone in this, Anne! Thanks!

Callie James said...

I think you're right, Jane. If I can find balance this year, I won't lose myself quite so much in the writing. Here's hoping it works!

Callie James said...

I did start on the story Monday, M. I didn't get far but I started. With my feet back in the water, I should start gaining momentum soon. :)

Cari Hislop said...

First of all I just want to thank Romance Magicians for putting my name in the draw and letting me win Amy Atwell's story Lying Eyes. It was really good! It was funny and I loved the hero and Edgar the magician's bunny. Thank you!

Post Note:
It's amazing how fear tramples us. This fear of submersion into your stories; maybe when you were a child some authority figure tried to make you feel bad for being happy or daydreaming?

You'll never get lost submerging into you...it'll only make you a happier you!

Carla Swafford said...

My fear in writing is writing something no one will buy. Considering how many I've finished and still without a sell...well, it cramps my enjoyment.

Louisa Cornell said...

My biggest fear is getting on a roll with a a story and having to stop to go to bed or go to work and not being able to get back into that groove.

I love writing so much and my worst day writing is better than my best day at my _)({)_**&*^ day job. Even when my characters are refusing to talk to me or I can't find that piece of research I KNEW I needed and then forgot where I put it - even then, it is still good.

I am just terrified that no editor will ever love my stories as much as I do. I fear I won't live up to the hype of my contest wins, etc. I just want to be the best writer I can be and sometimes fear of NOT being that writer can be paralyzing.

Callie James said...

Cari, you might have hit it on the head. I think some of that goes back to the "no day dreaming" thing. I grew up in a very serious family so it's possible. I never thought of that.

Callie James said...

Carla and Louisa, I definitely get the fear of writing something no one will like. Been there and done that as well. It's like we go in cycles. We hope an agent will like our work. Then we hope an editor will love it too. Then readers.

On and on.

Good thing we love writing because the business of it can be terrifying. :)

Lisa D. said...

Can you talk it through? Maybe just tell your husband or whoever the story and get them to type until you get started? That way, no blank page.