This week the Crows of Doubt have come out in force. I'm smack dab in the middle of my current work-in-progress, sitting at the 40,000 mark. Usually I'm wrapping up a story at this point, and moving into the last chapter or two. Not so this time, because I'm writing something that is bigger than anything I've ever written before.
It's unfamiliar territory. My footing isn't so sure. And right from the start I knew I was going to have to embrace the "write crap" attitude and just get to the end so I can see what I've got. If I worry about things being perfect as I go, I'll never reach the end. I need to reach the end first and then see the work as a whole.
The whole problem in a nutshell is that I'm writing more external plot, more subplots, a bigger cast and about more than just the romantic relationship. Which is exciting and yes, I'm loving exploring the different bits that normally I have to forego in a 50,000 word book that is focused on the romance specifically. The problem for me is cohesiveness, making sure that scenes happen for a reason, that they all tie together in a certain way, in a correctly paced way, so that it all comes together in the end.
A few nights ago I tweeted the following: The crows of doubt are circling, ya'll. The "why did I ever think I could do this" variety. Sigh.
And it can be tempting to go back to what I'm good at. It's easier. It's COMFORTABLE. But I can't. For a few reasons. First of all, I want to do this. Really, really want it. If I give up, I'll always regret it. I KNOW THIS.
Secondly, I know that the only way through writing difficult books is to just get through them. It's not like each and every Harlequin Romance has been a breeze either.
Then there's the fact that I KNOW I've been keeping an insane pace for several months now and I may just need a day or two off to refill the well.
And perhaps most importantly of all, I know that I'm taking a risk. This book may never ever see store shelves even after I've invested a LOT of time into it. I remind myself that in the "old days" before publication, none of my writing was wasted. I tell this to unpublished writers all the time. Why should I be any different? If this book doesn't cut it, does that mean it was wasted? Of COURSE not. Because I will have learned something - probably a lot - by writing it. And like before, I just have to try again and keep trying until I get it right. Yes, it's scary because writing a book this size means taking time away from work that guarantees me pay. This is when I have to remind myself that it's OK to embrace failure. It's okay to accept that I might fail at this because that is where the most growth happens.
Oddly enough, and in a rather serendipitous way, my friend Barb Wallace posted on her group blog The Moody Muses that very day. Her post was about the best advice she ever got and it was "Don't compare your journey to anyone else's." SO timely for me. I see huge successes happening all around me and here I am struggling through a book that I am not at all sure about. But they have their journey and I have mine. I tell people all the time that things happen when the time is right. Doctor, heal thyself, right? (In other words, take your own advice, Donna!)
Then yesterday Katy, one of the other Muses, posted this about Failing to Succeed and how we have to be willing to suck in order to get better.
I needed to read those posts pretty badly. And in fact, I felt so much better after that I wrote a LOT of words yesterday. Because the important thing is to just DO IT and not let the fear cripple me into second-guessing every word I put on the page.
In the end, it'll work or it won't. But I KNOW I'll be glad I've done it.
What risk are you taking these days?