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Feb 08

Too Many Times Around The Mountain

I was going to regale you all with a tale of woe, given as pitifully as I could. I was going to tell of the terrible travails of being a writer of 30-plus years and dealing with a persistent demon. I was going to relate all the problems I was having with The Captain’s Chair.

But I’m not going to do that. Know why? Because I find that I have been walking around the same mountain of fear for longer than I thought. Same mountain, same steps, same insanity!

I was going to play the blame game, naming probable causes of my writing paralysis and debunking them one by one. Already did it:

What the hell is wrong with me?

Okay, I can chalk up a lot of the stalling to my various medical problems. An old wound reopened last year, and the healing involved a great deal of pain and anxiety. I wouldn’t undergo a treatment without being thoroughly stoned on pain pills. That lasted seven months. Adjustments in medication made me sickly and wrecked my appetite. You can imagine I didn’t have much inclination to write.

Add to that: numerous RA flares, Momma problems, computer problems. Life, you know.

Is writer’s block the problem? I know what writer’s block is, and this isn’t it.

I can tell you what it is: fear. Abject fear. Of what? Well, let’s see what the article says:

Yes, it’s stupid to think that way. But in my thirty-plus years of writing, certain themes show up repeatedly. Strong characters, byzantine plots, strong emphasis on character interactions (especially within families), paranormal powers, the air of the spiritual. Not always Trekian characteristics. A lot of folks are about the “boldly go” thing. I’ve been mostly about the “strange new worlds” thing. The one between your ears.

That’s why Tales is so hard to do sometimes. Because it isn’t “SLAM! BANG! POW!” I guess you can call it “Spockian Trek” as opposed to “Kirkian Trek”.

To save some time, I could have just pasted the whole thing over here. Yes, I’m angry at myself. I’m also embarrassed. Deeply. The same thing. The same mindless walk around the same mountain.

And I have no idea how to stop doing it.

  • trekfan

    Hey, IS, we all walk around our own mountains of fear. There’s absolutely no reason to be embarrassed or angry at yourself. That doesn’t do any good for anyone, especially you.

    I mean, I probably walk around a few mountains. I lack confidence in several aspects of my writing, like describing things; I feel like I have no descriptive skills at all. I look at a room and see stuff, but that’s about it. I find it really difficult to describe it in any great detail without infodumping; sucking at describing things is not a plus for a writer.

    I spend a lot of time beating myself up for that; you have no idea how many documents I got saved to my computer where I attempt to describe the room I’m in and fail miserably at it. Despite how much time I waste beating myself up about it, I still come back to it and still do it over again. Is it good? No. Is it useful? Probably not. But it happens to me, it’s the same song and dance over and over, and I still do it.

    What I find is that when I concentrate on what I think I am good at it, that everything else falls into place.

    Your Trek is a good Trek, probably a lot more in tune with TOS than NuTrek. TOS was about character interactions and plot, and moral debates, not a popcorn flick like NuTrek. There is nothing to be ashamed of there as everyone writes Trek differently and that’s what makes Trek so great; no one’s interpretation of it is wrong. It’s all good. 

  • kes7

    Oh, *hugs.*  I could have written so much of this post.  In fact, I have 900 words of a post for my non-fanfic blog saved as a draft, entitled “Fear is Scary.”  And I don’t have the answers, either.  But I can relate to real life drama, being loopy on pain meds because you’re sick and you have to be — even when you don’t want to be — and having an entire story laid out in your head but feeling unable to move it onto paper/into the computer.  And it really does all come down to fear.  Fear of failure, fear of judgment, fear that it won’t live up to the expectations you’ve built up for it.  I’m like this with my original fic right now, and it’s miserable, just a miserable place to be.  I understand completely.

    I’m mad at myself, too, and yes, embarrassed.  I wish I could do more than commiserate. Maybe someone will come along and share the answers here.  In the meantime, just know this — you are not alone.

  • janetgershensiegel

    It is definitely all good.

    One thing that I have done when I am stuck is, I sometimes skip over stuff. Oh, a death is needed? Nah, I’ll just work on the aftermath, and write the death later. Sometimes chapter 40 can get done before chapter 4. I dunno why. It just happens.

    Hope you feel better soon. Those people in your noggin? They’ll come out and onto pixels or paper.

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  • Ln X

    I know all about writer’s block. It comes down to three things: life, laziness and fear. Life usually is the biggest factor, I’m juggling getting through the second year of my math degree (and trying to get a first) with completing three stories a month. Sometimes the harder it (writer’s block) pushes against you, you just have to push back harder. Laziness is annoying because you know once you are in the rhythm things will work out. Fear usually stems from a really big or important story you have to write; it is scary to know that you have a really big story to write and rather daunting. I maybe rather prolific and have the luxury of a decent life and recreation time, but nearly everyday I’ve had to fight (on and off) writer’s block.

    The best way to overcome writer’s block is start small, and each scene you write stick with the first take (albeit for small corrections and edits). Nearly all the scenes I’ve written are first takes, and I dunno how or why but I’m just confident that that take, that scene, is right. Maybe I am crazy, but once a scene is written I usually never look back to see how it could be substantially improved. I’m at a juncture where the next story after the one I’m currently writing, is probably going to be 50000 words and even longer, and I sort of dread getting into it because it means fifteen or so days of intensive, mind-numbing work before it is complete. Yet I somehow find the strength to keep moving forwards.

    Hope this helps.