When I saw this program title on my chapter website this month, I knew if I never went to another meeting, I HAD to go to this one. After all, I have been fussing about my current wip for so long, I’m even slicing my own cheese to go along with my whine.
So, I dragged my sorry butt out of bed last Saturday and drove fifty miles in the pouring rain because I was so excited. When I got out of my car at the hotel, my umbrella immediately blew inside out with the gusting wind. But I just knew the program would be worth it. The good thing is there were really a lot of great parking spaces up front. I figured maybe the rain had kept a few members home that day.
Can you even imagine how disappointed I was to find out I was there a week early???
Now, it’s not like I just joined DARA and didn’t know the meetings were on the fourth Saturday every month. I’ve been a member for almost eight years.
So, I’m telling you that story so you’ll know how anxious I was to hear the program today, Just Finish the Damn Book, by visiting author, Colleen Thompson. http://www.colleen-thompson.com/
I prayed she had the magic formula that would get me out of my funk and feeling good about my story. Why else would she come all the way from Houston if not to offer solutions?
Wrong, Kemosabe!! This lovely lady told us that of the seventeen books she has published, she has had doubts two-thirds of the way in EVERY single one of them. She calls her CP up and says “I need to send the advance back” every time.
NO! NO! I didn’t want to hear that. “Fix me,” I wanted to shout from the back of the room.
She went on to say we hit a brick wall when hard work is necessary. In other words, usually we know the beginning and the end, but we’re not sure where our muse is taking us in the middle. We have to work harder. Break those middle chapters down into bite-sized pieces, she said, instead of trying to pound it all out at once.
The best piece of advice she gave was to train yourself for deadlines. Decide how many pages a day/week./month you want to write and treat yourself when you accomplish it. Of course, if you don’t, well you may have to give up something you’d rather not.
I heard all that and will definitely put that deadline thing into practice in the next few weeks. But she had another interesting little exercise she does when she hits the proverbial writer’s block. She makes a list of the top ten reasons why she doesn’t think she can finish. She writes one every time she writes a book, then laughs about it after she’s sent the book off. I decided to give it a shot.
Liz Lipperman's Top Ten Reasons to Send the Check Back
10. What if nobody buys it after it’s published?
9. How will I ever write another one that’s as good?
8.The editor bought the series on proposal. What if she absolutely hates the finished product?
7.I’ve started reading other books from the publisher. Everyone writes better than I do.
6. I’ve run out of plot.
5. I’m stuck in the sagging middle.
4. The book isn’t as humorous as the first three chapters that sold her.
3. The book isn’t as funny as the ghost story she loved.
2. It was a fluke that she offered me a contract. She's trying to figure out a way to take it back as we speak.It's too early to say "April Fools!"
And the number one reason: Everyone will find out I’m a fraud and not a real writer.
Am I laughing yet??
Every one of these can be summed up in one sentence. I am so afraid of failure, I might be trying to sabotage myself. My goal this week is to mentally slap myself up the side of the head and snap out of it. A big help will be that as you read this I am on my way to Vegas for a few days. Woo hoo! I’m taking my laptop so I can see your comments. I plan on getting revitalized and recharged, and come back rich. (I should write fantasy!!)
In the meantime, my advice to you is just to finish the damn book. My advice to me is to practice what I preach.
Oh, and Colleen will be giving this same workshop at Nationals this year. I highly recommend it as there was so much good stuff, I couldn’t possibly hit it all in a blog.