I’m writing regularly again for the first time since the baby was born. It’s glorious. I always forget, in the lulls, how great I feel when I’m able to keep it going for more than a few days at a time.
The trick isn’t to eliminate those feelings of fear, the trick is to understand that they are the feelings that come about when you’re taking risks that might lead to creative growth. They’re the feelings that spring up when you’re broadening your horizons and getting to a level you haven’t known before. Fear is like the bloodhound that sniffs out all the cool shit that you should be learning how to do, that you should desperately and zealously be pushing yourself to do. But every time you find one of those new horizons, new risks, new cool shit, it’s not going to go well the first time. Or the first 50 times. [...] But don’t avoid it. If you avoid failing and fear, you will at best become someone who plays it safe.
It’s long, but the whole article is fantastic.
Next up, “The Big Thud” episode of Lani Diane Rich’s StoryWonk podcast, which I don’t remember to listen to often enough. This one was about finishing things, and that is, alas, something I need to hear loudly and often. (What’s the thud? you ask. This is the thud.)
And lastly, I was reminded a few days ago that I’d meant to read William Akers’s Your Screenplay Sucks!: 100 Ways to Make it Great. It sounds and is gimmicky, but it’s also fantastic. It’s a checklist of things to avoid in drafts and/or fix in revision, with a detailed explanation and examples of each point. They’re all things I’ve heard before from a lot of sources, but it is so damn handy to have them all in one place, I might have to buy a paper copy just so I can stick Post-It flags everywhere and keep it open on my desk while I revise. He also drops in quotes from others, like this great one from Quentin Tarantino: “When you’re rewriting a scene, cut the last two lines of dialogue.” Love it.
So, I’m working on the mystery novel, doing little backstory vignettes (which I desperately need, because I hadn’t worked out a lot of the details that led to the murder) to keep my momentum going when I don’t have time to work on a big scene. I’ve managed to write consistently for ten days now, which feels like a huge accomplishment after more than seven months of baby wrangling and business startup with no time for writing. It might not last, but right now, life is good.