Monday, 29 August 2016

Stop Thinking About It And Do It!

Sometimes I think I tend to over analyse things. I'm a worrier, like a dog with a bone I bother things until I've got myself into a real froth about whatever it is. This is often not conductive to a quiet, contemplative life and if I was that way inclined might lead me to drink or a nervous ulcer!

This naturally bleeds into my writing. I over think the whole process, picking away at it, destroying it and raking through the wreckage. It's no wonder I spend so much time doubting myself and my abilities. Once I've peered into the entrails of the writing process it's never going to look the same again, is it?

But this is all most unhelpful. It stops me from writing. It makes me doubt and question everything about what I write and what I want to write. I write a little, read it back, find it wanting and despair. My inner critic is constantly shouting 'You're not good enough!' or 'Who do you think you're fooling?' and I confess that I spend too long listening to her - there's another thing, why is my inner critic a woman? Shouldn't it be a man? Scary to think that I imagine a woman putting me down; must analyse that ...

I think it's part of my character to over think stuff. I do think I spend too much time musing over things rather than doing stuff. So my challenge to myself is to stop thinking about it and just do it. I've set myself a challenge of writing a short story every week for a year; that's not doable if I spend hours worrying about writing rather than writing. So I'm making a promise to myself - I don't need to analyse the process or the talent or the plot or the characters, I just need to write it down. I can look again later and analyse but if I worry too much about it there will be nothing to analyse!

So now I have to put that into practise, to go against years of habit. To trust in my own abilities in a way I find really difficult. To trust that I have the skills to write and don't need to question them every five minutes. All very scary but necessary if I'm to progress as a writer. So wish me luck as I attempt to do the impossible; to have faith in myself and trust my own abilities.

18 comments:

  1. It's a great idea to set yourself a goal like this, especially if you struggle with procrastination (which, let's face it, most of us do). Have you read The War of Art by Stephen Pressfield? He's really great on inner demons and blocks that stop us from writing. I just read it and am feeling fired up to get going again. Good luck with the challenge!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I think that's a great idea. It's one of the things I love most about Nanowrimo. When I meet up with other Nano-ers, we do 10 minute sprints and it's very liberating just bashing out the words. A lot of what comes out is crap, but you do get some little gems come out because you don't have time to over-analyse, you just have to go for it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I always enjoy having a challenge to keep me motivated.

      Delete
  3. The key to writing is just to go for it and not overthink it! BUT... I do think some thinking (though not overthinking) is helpful. For a short story, I usually like to figure out the plot (and characters) first, what POV I'm going to use,the tense I'll use, how 'deep' I'm going to go with psychic distance etc. which means I don't have to re-write/edit as much. (But I have written a fair few short stories now and I've learnt that this works best for me.) Also, I think it's key to set realistic goals. A story per week is manageable if you don't have any other huge responsibilies, but it could also be a bit disheartening if you don't live up to your goals. What I'm saying is... go for it, but maybe be flexible if things don't go as you expect them too. All the best, Marija x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sometimes the only thing to do is write, isn't it Marija? I'm bashing away with some idea where I'm going!

      Delete
  4. If you've read Big Magic Elizabeth Gilbert's theory is that your inner critic is you trying to protect yourself from being out there and vulnerable which sort of makes sense, though it's still hard to challenge it! Good luck with your Autumn plans:)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I wish my inner critic would take a break sometimes!

      Delete
  5. This is a great idea! I understand the overthinking thing and sometimes throwing yourself into something is the only way through it. Bet you'll rise to the challenge. Thanks for linking to #WhatImWriting

    ReplyDelete
  6. Oh, I could have written this post. I write horribly slowly because I have to edit/analyse it as I go along ... this is a bad bad bad habit. Wishing you luck with your short story challenge. #WhatImWriting

    ReplyDelete
  7. I think the more you write the more you understand your own 'voice' which makes writing and editing a little easier. I've come to accept that the first draft I write is fairly awful but I allow myself to layer on it until I get it right (to me). Good luck with your short story a week, and yes keep the faith in you writing as you go #whatimwriting

    ReplyDelete
  8. Ah this one gets us all doesn't it? We are our own worst critics! It is interesting that your inner critic is a woman... Does she remind you of anyone? And can you tell her to pipe down..? I hope you can find your inner cheerleader too, and good luck with the stories! Look forward to reading them :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know exactly who my inner critic is! As for an inner cheerleader - she's very shy & quiet!

      Delete
  9. Yes! That! I keep getting halfway through something and thinking, hang on, that's crap. Maybe it is, maybe it isn't, but stopping isn't helping. I'm driving myself bonkers! Glad it's not just me.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think there's a few of us in this club Cara!

      Delete
  10. I do this all the time! I can't tell you how many things I have written and then a voice tells me it's not good enough! Possibly the reason i struggling with writing my boo #whatimwriting

    ReplyDelete
  11. Oh I am very guilty of this. But since about June, with my 'novel' at least, I am just writing it down and leaving it, not even reading it back once I have moved on past that paragraph. And the words are coming. Practicing morning pages has really helped me with letting it all come out unedited too. Good luck Jo.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm trying to get a first draft down, after all I can't work with nothing can I? So I'll just write and worry about the quality later!

      Delete