Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Chapter Malfunction

Many writers tell you that you should write every day. I firmly believe it to be true. But I have trouble focusing on what I 'should' be writing on. I should write a little something everyday towards the story, whether it is in chronological order or not.

What I shouldn't be doing is competing against the other writers in our group. And I shouldn't be writing just to have something to turn in. This isn't high school. It is supposed to be something I want to do, but lately it is more like something I have to do. I have a competitive streak in me that doesn't like knowing that I am far behind someone else in the group. Yes, I know that Brant has been working on his story for decades. I have a story like that too. But it became so hard for me to focus on putting that story on paper that I shelved it in favor of a new idea.

I became so charged with this idea that the first chapter came out easily. After writing it, I became so worried on whether it would need a major structural change that I became unable to write the second chapter. Now I have had a partial critique of the chapter, and they said it was okay to move on to the next. But I can't seem to put the next chapter on paper as easily as the first. I know how I want it to start, but all I can focus on is how they will hate the turn of phrase here... change that passive voice... they don't like what the character is doing... the list goes on and on.

For me, writing is one of the only emotional outlets I was ever trained to use. My mother had me in creative writing summer classes since I was in elementary school. I used to write sarcastic poems like "Radio Advertisement for Death," plays mocking tent revivals, and humorous histories in the span of a single day. That was when I was able to turn off both outside and inside critics and just run with a great idea. I need to stop being so competitive for no reason that I suck all the fun out of reading other people's creativity on paper and letting them read mine. I need to write my next chapter already, so I can finally find out what is happening in the third.

1 comment:

  1. You raise multiple points here. So many I may need to do a post just to respond to them all. The short reply is that you should write your first draft as if noone else will ever read it, then edit it for others. We are not a collection of competitors, but a community of writers. Our goal is help and support each other, not cause each other angst and stress. If what we are doing isn't helping you, tell us what would. I am committed to helping any in our group in any way I can.