Just do it.

16 Feb

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.

The problem?

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…againBut! 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

Serena Ryder – Good Morning Starshine

UNT.

*I have two “fantasy”-esque stories in the works, too. They’re easier to write.

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19 Responses to “Just do it.”

  1. xnrsmommy February 16, 2013 at 4:36 pm #

    Been there, done that and still deal with it regularly. One of my most memorable was the baby blanket I crocheted for a friend. Stupid thing was kicking my butt for over 4 months. Persistence and stubbornest is the only way I got it done. ❤ Just kick it's arse and get it on paper!

    • Kim February 16, 2013 at 10:20 pm #

      At least you persevered! That is the important part. Especially after you got it done – way to go! 🙂

      We shall see how well the arse kicking goes on this project. I may forge a new “career” in Pinterest posting instead. 😉

  2. The Bible Salesman February 16, 2013 at 4:37 pm #

    I know the difficulty. I wrote six manuscripts in six years before I had kids… I have not written one in the last five years. And now I worry that I won’t be able to do it anymore–when I do sit down to write it just isn’t flowing much, and I can’t seem to get anywhere (not to mention not liking what I write anyway).

    Do you have a time of day you write best? I used to do my best work in the late evening–now I’m too tired to write by that time. I think a little gin probably doesn’t hurt either–not that it improves the writing (quite the opposite), but at least it makes you think you’re doing good work 🙂 best of luck to you.

    • Kim February 16, 2013 at 10:19 pm #

      No such luck, Mister. You’ll write more, you just have a lot of different things on your plate, that’s all. I do (completely) understand the “not liking what I write” standpoint, though. I have a hard time reading things I’ve written – they’re just so…meh.

      I used to do my best thinking and working first thing in the mornings, but it just about kills me to be creative in the morning now. I always want to work in the afternoon, but that’s when I’m at actual work…. Bad news.

      And gin makes everything better. 😉

  3. Cindy February 16, 2013 at 7:28 pm #

    No advice – but thanks for the Anne Lamott quote – that is so me – frozen by the need for perfection and getting nowhere.

    • Kim February 16, 2013 at 10:16 pm #

      Have you read Bird by Bird? Easily my favourite “on writing” type book (so far).

  4. Stephany February 22, 2013 at 1:51 pm #

    Oh, goodness. You are speaking right to me with this post. I’m so very bad at procrastination when it comes to writing. Actually, I had a story DYING to be written and it was so very perfect to what I want to write. So I wrote it for NaNoWriMo and good lord… it turned out horribly. It was just so bad that I haven’t written any fiction since then. I also haven’t opened the document once (actually, I tried to a week ago and I think the file only saved half my story. YIPPEE!) to even read through it. It’s probably not as bad as I believe it to be.

    I love that quote. I love Anne Lamott. I reallllly need to read Bird by Bird. Really really.

    • Kim February 22, 2013 at 2:04 pm #

      Stephany! Thank you, so much, for reading and commenting! 🙂 I’m sad that you’ve been here, too. Terrible feeling, right – The Perfect Story, but completely unwilling to cooperate. Ugh. And I’ve so been there with stories/things I write that are just very, very, very bad (imo). But…on a (much) later re-read? They’re actually usually not as bad as I initially had thought. A little distance from the tale is a great thing – I think you should go back and re-read it, I bet it’s a few edits away from freaking amazing! 🙂

      I LOVE Bird by Bird. It is, easily, my favourite of the “On Writing…” type self-help books. 🙂

  5. decoybetty March 5, 2013 at 2:30 pm #

    Hmmm, I have no real expertise in this. But when I’m faced with a big problem but I know where the solution is (ie the story should go) I try to break it down into manageable chunks. So maybe I’d try to write the plot points down or the arches and then maybe that would inspire to write a chapter or two here or there.

    • Kim March 8, 2013 at 8:33 am #

      That is a good idea, decoybetty. I actually really do need to sit down and re-imagine the basic plot of the story…it’s been a LONG time since I’ve outlined it and that could get the fire stoked again. 🙂

      Thank you for commenting! Really appreciate it. 🙂

  6. Alyx March 25, 2013 at 8:28 am #

    When I find myself in that situation (with writing, anyway… Not sure it’d work with other things… Like bungee jumping, for example), I tend to just start in the middle and then work my way back to the beginning once I’ve done the middle and ending. Doesn’t make much sense but it works!

    • Kim April 4, 2013 at 9:26 am #

      Alyx! Thank you so much for stopping by. 🙂 I’m late in replying, but I have to tell you that I was pretty thrilled to see you venture into my little neck o’ the woods. I LOVE your blog. I’m a good-for-nothing stalker. 😀

      Thank you for the advice and it does make sense. Sometimes it’s better just to dive in and start and then work your way backward later. Especially with a story…I know what I need to know for a lot of points, so it would actually be completely worth while to start in the middle and then flesh out from there. 🙂 I appreciate the comment a lot…and it probably wouldn’t work best for bungee jumping, you’re right. 😉

  7. kaysfairytale May 15, 2013 at 10:10 pm #

    I have this problem writing articles a lot. The only solution I’ve found is to start it with a really bad beginning and then wait like three days and edit it. Sometimes the best way to figure out what you do like is to fix what you don’t like.

    • Kim May 20, 2013 at 8:56 am #

      That’s actually a really great idea! When blogging I tend to write, quickly re-read and then post. It’s not necessarily the best move. I just read a comment about writing and then editing with an iron fist being a lot closer to true creativity than just writing…because it takes a lot of creativity to make the cuts (and then make it work again). (SOMETHING like that, anyway. I’m a terrible paraphraser.)

    • Kim May 20, 2013 at 8:56 am #

      PS. Thanks (so much) for commenting! 🙂

  8. Sascha May 22, 2013 at 7:55 am #

    This is why I don’t write books or anything long. I don’t have the patience. I find that, for now, blogging and journalism suits me very well because it’s small chunks of the same thing (even smaller when I’m doing copywriting). I’m not able to concentrate on the same thing for a long time. I envy those who have the perseverance to write a whole book. I have tried and failed! Maybe one day…

  9. denielle July 20, 2013 at 10:32 am #

    Have you tried ‘writing’ it orally? Like on a voice recorder or whatever. I haven’t written in ages, but I used to use the recorder quite a bit. I HATED listening to the sound of my own voice when I replayed it though!

  10. Karen December 4, 2013 at 9:20 pm #

    You’re not on Facebook, you’re not blogging. Where do I send pictures of foxes and funny/inspirational missives about creativity?

  11. Erin Nicole (@DudeThatsErin) March 9, 2014 at 4:01 pm #

    Good luck trying to get through this! I am sorry but I’m not much of a writer so I don’t want to give you any false tips! Let me know what you come up with though!~ (:

    http://erinnicole.nu

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