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Thursday, November 4, 2010

I'm not a quitter.

Ok, so I am a quitter. I've quit a lot of things - Spanish, French, German, Japanese, piano, dance, high school (but I went back!), etc., etc, etc.  I always think it's going to give me motivation and drive me to do something wonderful if I make a big commitment - and a big announcement - and get to it!

Trouble is... the big commitment and the big announcement cripple me. The pressure is too much! The expectations - so high! The deadline - so suffocating!

That's right, I've changed my mind about NaNoWriMo. Here's the deal... my best friends and I are going to have our own LoNoWriFoMo. (It stands for Local Novel Writing Four-Months. Don't worry, I won't refer to it as that after this one time. )  Jennifer, Andrea, and I have all been called to the same fate - frustrated author - and we've each had story after story after story swirling around in our heads, threatening to destroy us if we don't get them out on paper and into the world. We're going to do it... in our own time (probably 4 months).

 I was feeling really guilty about not writing a single word since I announced my NaNoWriMo plan. I didn't even put out a single word on a single page... so I did what I always do. I sent Jenn a very whiney text and waited for her wisdom.

"I can't do it. The pressure it too much! I can't even start."

Do you know what she said? Something amazing, like always. She's a pro with the advice! And have I mentioned that she always relates to how I'm feeling in some way? We're way different, but somehow our brains run on the same wavelength. That's why we've been friends for 14 years and counting.

She pointed me in the direction of this author's blog: Words on Words. (Jenn is a serious fangirl and always knows how to track down the inside story.) Do you know what it says? If you don't want to read it, I'll just summarize. It says what I'm feeling: "Too much pressure! NaNoWriMo, you suck!" (Almost a direct quote...) 50,000 words in 30 days is probably doable. But the idea that it has a deadline - and that deadline seems way too close - stops me in my tracks.

I want to write something that expresses my very soul. I want to write something that makes it possible to understand where I'm coming from. I want to write something that is utterly and entirely me, with some minor improvements to my character. I want to be exposed, but it must be done right. It cannot be sub-par. I will do it to the level of perfectionism my family name demands, and I will spend a lifetime doing it if I must. (Ok, so I won't go that far.)

Have you ever attempted to give me constructive criticism? Well, you should know that I'm not great at taking it. A word of "advice" can easily turn into a sore spot for me, and an actual criticism is just destined to piss me off. This is a major problem in the writing world. (In the world world, for that matter.) I'm no good at hearing "do this better next time," even though I am very aware that I am not perfect. My ego sometimes gets in the way... or is it my insecurities? Maybe those are the same thing?

I have been a "writer" (under my own definition) since I was eleven. But I haven't written a decent, publishable thing since the ninth grade. I attribute it all to my fear of rejection. When did I become that girl who cares what other people think of her?? When did I quit being the "who cares, I'm awesome, and I don't care who disagrees with me" kind of person? I am the queen of "do what you want, let the consequences follow - and ignore them, because at least you're being real."  Honesty above all else.

Somewhere along the way, I lost that girl. I'm insecure. I'm scared. No... you know what? I'm terrified. I'd rather be a quitter - or should I say a never-starter - than get hit with criticism I can't handle. You know the book that expresses my very soul I was just talking about? That's its main flaw.

When my words are critiqued, they aren't just words. They are what goes on inside me.

Am I ready to be that exposed? Am I ready to put it all out there and stand up to whatever comes? I don't feel ready. Is it even possible to be ready for such a thing?

I really didn't mean for this to sound so "poor me." Here's my new plan: small, achievable goals, with rewards and incentives along the way. (Honey, can I hear a "there's a laptop in your future"?)

1 comment:

  1. I think that's a very wise decision - to pace yourself and take the time you need to say exactly what you want to say instead of settling for whatever you can produce in 30 days. I'll expand on that thought in a private email to you.

    Dad

    ReplyDelete

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