Happy Halloween Night, all!
On a night that is reserved for masquerading and mischief, I’m relaxing at home in the remnants of my “Orange is the New Black” costume, reading and trying to summon the wherewithall to write.
Remember that book thing I was talking about earlier in the year? Yeah, that’s still on the horizon. It’s getting a little heavier now. Found a great quote in “The Accidental Creative” yesterday that accurately expresses my feelings on the matter.
“It’s great to sit on the shoulders of giants, but don’t let the giants sit on your shoulders. There’s no room for their legs to dangle!”
— Amma Marfo (@ammamarfo) October 30, 2013
Yup, the giant is there. Crushing me.
But it’s not writers’ block. The words are there. I have clear passages locked away that could hit the screen or the notebook at any time. It’s not a lack of confidence. I know this stuff well enough to explain it, and have the research to back it up. So what then? I’ve spoken it into existence a few times over the past two weeks, and I think I need to speak it a little louder. I’m scared to finish. I’m scared of what finishing the writing process will mean.
I think about editing my own words, a concept that has a thousand times the “ick factor” of having to listen to yourself on an answering machine, and I go:
The first major work is probably going to be bad. I know this. But that doesn’t stop the fear. I think about having to find a place to publish it, look at it in full print, and the page count, and can’t help but feel:
And having to see what others think of it once it’s all in one place? Ah, geez.
When it comes to friends who will support me, read this thing, and tell me truthfully what they think of it, I am aware of the absolute embarrassment of riches I have. But a thousand “what ifs” arise when I try to move already written passages into their designated chapter sections, or can summon an additional thought to add to the fragments already authored. I need a kick in the butt to get this thing out the door. “Shipping”, Seth Godin calls it. I can’t let the fear of the wrong amount of postage, method of delivery, or reaction of the recipient stop me from getting the product sent off. I’m hoping that owning that fear will be the first step in keeping it from crushing me from the shoulders down.
Some may ask, “How is it different from blogging?” I don’t really have an answer to that. There is a little bit of fear that comes with every post I write- I don’t think I’m doing it right if there isn’t. This post alone has been a long time coming, but I’ve been (natch) afraid to write it. But this book thing is on a whole other scale. Tens of pages of my words, without the chance to be buffered by the reader’s ability to click away, or snazzy animated GIFs such as the ones you see above? It’s a canvas that’s far bigger and more intimidating than the blog I turn to a few times a month.
So here’s my plan. Tomorrow, November 1st, starts National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo. While this work is less of a novel and more of a…well, I don’t know what, it could lend itself to the daily discipline of writing just as a novel could. I’m going to use November to buckle down and get the rest of my content written, and hopefully start editing. I may not make the 2013 deadline I set for myself, but I have to do something. I know the words are there, and I know that there is value in what I’m trying to say. But the value is null if no one can read it. So out it shall come, from my head to my fingers to the screen to your eyes. This thing is getting shipped.