Okay, so in May of 2010 I had an idea. It was brilliant. It is still brilliant.
It’s a story. A young adult story. (Real world fiction, not fantasy with elves and dragons, urban fantasy or in any paranormal romance sense.*) Sort of a coming-of-age thing.
I have characters I love, a setting that totally works for me and enough of a plot to journey through my protagonist’s life (well – the part I’m going to shed some light on in this story).
Seriously, this story has not left my brain. For almost three years. It’s always there, always evolving.
I can’t fucking start it. I’ve tried, from all kinds of different angles, multiple times. I’ve tried starting at the beginning, I’ve tried starting in the middle, I’ve even tried penning some small character vignettes to get into the groove of the story.
Has this ever happened to you? Have you had an idea (for anything: writing, sewing, scrapbooking, music…anything) that you just can’t get out?
I’m not worried about “the perfect story” here, folks. I put that dream to bed a long time ago. First drafts aren’t supposed to be pretty, that’s not what they’re there for. They exist to get the sketch of an idea on “paper” so that you can go back six or seven (hundred) times to flesh out and prettify things later. (Ask any writer, they will tell you that their first drafts of anything are pretty dismal. If they don’t, they’re lying to you.)
How do you overcome this obstacle? Do you pour yourself a cup of tea (or gin) and plow forward? Do you have a meditative routine that helps you centre your creativity and motivation? Do you work on something else, exercising your mad skills, until this project is actually ready to be created?
I am going to try to plow through again. I’m going to start writing, however ridiculous and inconsequential the subject matter, and hope that I can get into the groove of this story. I’m going to try…again. But! If you have any tips or tricks, I’d be thrilled to read, or hear them!
Happy creating, Lovelies!
Perfectionism is the voice of the oppressor, the enemy of the people. It will keep you cramped and insane your whole life, and it is the main obstacle between you and a shitty first draft. I think perfectionism is based on the obsessive belief that if you run carefully enough, hitting each stepping-stone just right, you won’t have to die. The truth is that you will die anyway and that a lot of people who aren’t even looking at their feet are going to do a whole lot better than you, and have a lot more fun while they’re doing it.
- Anne Lamott Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life
*I have two “fantasy”-esque stories in the works, too. They’re easier to write.