Tuesday, March 23

My Constant Battle

In writing this blog, I use it as a way to battle my own writing demons. I like to think of this thing as therapy. One of my biggest hang-ups in life is my fear of rejection. I know I have said this plenty of times before, but this fear is so strong that it was dug itself deep into my thought process, and the tiniest things will set it off. This fear is also rooted in my perfectionism. I hate that I can’t seem to get over this insane cycle. So this here is a list I created to deal with these issues.

(This is me talking to myself.)

“It’s not perfect.” So what. Nothing is perfect. Look at the movie industry. Every movie created has its own share of flaws, and they have hundreds of people working on them. You are one person writing a book with endless possibilities. Stressing over every imperfection will leave you banging your head on your desk until you pass out from severe brain trauma. Whether you consider yourself an author or not, the struggle for perfection is in all of us. The real battle is to march on in the face of mistakes. Again, so what if your work is not without its flaws. The real tragedy would be to give up on your dreams in the shadow of your fears.

Break the mold. I have seen and read plenty of articles and books that talk about the proper ways of writing (fantasy, horror, so on). But this is where it can go from instructional to opinion with the flip of a page. Anyone can write an article called “The Correct Way to Write Fiction” and go on to explain how you must write. But this is their opinion. The methods and styles of writing are as alive as you and I. You can’t look at writing as a template created by someone and placed out there for others to use as a guide. Break the mold. Take risks. Don’t stop and think, “I’ve never seen it done like that before. Better change it to be on the safe side.” No! This “safe side” crap is for those who fear risks. Be different. Make an impression. Look at it from different angles. Millions of years ago, writing didn’t exist. Writing is human entertainment. But if you fail to entertain someone, it’s not the end of the world. For every person who dislikes your work, you will find others who will salivate for your next installment.

Make it your passion. Don’t let anyone’s opinions deflate your dreams. If you have a passion for writing, then hold on to it as though it is your last tether keeping you within this world. Your passion should be the air in your lungs and the blood in your veins and all that other clich├ęd crap. You began this journey for one person—yourself. Ignore the irritating chatter of others. You know what makes you happy, and any attempts to deter you are nothing more than wasted energy on their part.

Life is too short to be afraid. When you’re laying on your deathbed, looking back at the life you had, wouldn’t you like to say, “I did what I wanted and I have no regrets.” Years pass and you keep saying, “One day I’ll get serious and pursue my dreams.” There is one quote I have posted everywhere to help push me along, which reads, “Don’t be afraid. Be fearless.” This goes back to the opinions fear. What is that one saying I keep hearing… Oh! “Opinions are like assholes. Everyone has one.” And that is the beauty of this world: diversity. Everyone has their own opinion, and no matter how much it stings, you shouldn’t use it to grow from. This is very different from constructive criticism, however.

Have fun. This is the biggest and most important driving force behind your passion. No amount of money can fill the void if there is no fun to be had. This also brings me to another quote I use a lot: “It is better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self.” You have to be selfish about your passion. You have to protect it. Get inspired, entertain yourself, look forward to getting up in the morning and slipping into your “world”.

Don’t compromise. I have this other fear of disappointing my friends and family. I’m afraid they will reject me because of the subjects I write about. When someone asks about my books and wants to read them, I feel my stomach drop. “They won’t like it,” I tell myself. So when I write, I sometimes hear that voice in the back of my head that says, “Leave that in and your readers will judge you—hate you because of it. Change it! Make it ‘friendlier’.” Well, I’m not much on the friendly side when it comes to creating my characters or stories. I like to think of myself as a sadist god, feeding on the conflict and pain I bestow upon my creations. If I decide to compromise, then I will be doing an injustice to my characters. Their luster will dull and leave a foul aura in my brain.

Stay connected. Write everyday, even if it’s 100 words. As long as you have something written, it will keep you connected to the story. I like to get at least 2,000 wpd (words per day). Though most days I end on something around 300. But 300 words is still a word count! It still keeps you connected to your story. Don’t fret over the small things; “Does this sound right? Should I add more here? Is this comma really needed?” This isn’t writing, this is editing. Editing should come after the darn thing is finished. Just write and move on. It’s like that one story in the Bible. Don’t look back or you’ll turn into a pillar of salt. (Paraphrased, of course.) So don’t reread until you’re finished, and then editing madness can begin. It always seems to be the case when you go back to something you have written a while ago, read over it with fresh eyes and start to see the things that need changed. So ignore that stray comma. It will scream at you later when you have that red pen in hand.

I really can’t think of anything else. I probably repeated myself many times in this post, but I need to get it through my thick skull.

Now it’s time to slip into god mode and torment my creations.