FEAR—Is the Mind-Killer in Control of Your Life?

Oh boy. This post really hits home for me. Fear stops me from moving forward so often. Sometimes I afraid of not doing a certain plot twist justice that I end up with teeny tiny single sentences of progress in my writing for days on end. The longer I’m in the writing game the bigger the fears get. It’s something I’m fighting to overcome every day.

Kristen Lamb's Blog

Image via Flickr Creative Commons, courtesy of Noemi Galera. Image via Flickr Creative Commons, courtesy of Noemi Galera.

The single greatest challenge you will face in trying to accomplish anything great is FEAR. FEAR is nothing to be underestimated and we need to learn to manage it if we want to succeed. I remember being a kid and Dune was one of my favorite movies. At the age of ten I memorized Paul Atreides’ mantra:

“I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.”

At the time I just thought it was a seriously cool movie line. It was only when I grew older that I began…

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Shove it in a Drawer: The Importance of Taking a Break

Ever since I finished writing The Dreams at the tail end of 2016, I’ve been itching to go back and completely rewrite the whole thing.

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Even as I was writing the later chapters I started spotting things I wanted to go back and change. I told myself I had to reach the end before I started messing with the beginning again.

Usually, I’m all for using my enthusiasm for a project as fuel for a monumental task. Going into such a massive undertaking with little or no enthusiasm is a guarantee of failure. In this case, I’m forcing myself to give the draft some space.

 

The Dreams is getting shoved in a digital drawer for a few months.

It sounds cruel to me. This novel is my baby. Well, it was my baby for more than a year. Now I need to shed that attachment. If I was working on a physical copy I would put it in a drawer. Since my work is completely digital I’ve moved the folder out of my direct sight to reduce the temptation to check in on the poor thing.

I need to make sure I forget what I wrote before I read through it all. If the words are still in my head, I’m more likely to read what I meant to write rather than what I actually wrote. Letting it slip from my memory will allow me to see it with fresh eyes.

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Without fresh eyes, I can’t be objective.

I’ve already received some really great feedback on parts of the second draft from readers. I haven’t acted on that feedback yet because I want to look at my own writing without feeling attached to it before I decide if I agree or disagree with each comment and suggestion.

While I’m thinking like the writer I’m more likely to be defensive and excuse something because it was not how I intended it to be. When I’m thinking like a writer the story is my baby and I want to protect it from all the cruel words suggesting it could be improved. Giving myself some time to forget the story will allow me to see it from the perspective of an outsider.

I’m not sure how long of a break I will need. Right now I think I will be ready in the spring, but back in November, I thought I would be ready by February. Whenever I decide I’m ready, I’m confident that the time away will work to my advantage.

Do you take time off from your novel between drafts? What other strategies do you use to look at your work objectively?

 

Writing Progress January 9 – 15, 2017

DailyWritingProgress

January 9

  • Project: Inbetween
  • Total word count: 24,387
  • Today’s word count: 804
  • Thoughts: I had a pretty productive writing day considering I felt like I was playing catch-up for most of the day. I always seem to accomplish the most when I’m already slightly busy that day. If I’m too busy, it falls apart. If I’m not busy at all, I slack off. I need to perfect the business balance for maximum productivity.
  • Tomorrow’s goal: More writing! I’m going to try to keep the momentum I built up today moving forward. I’d like to see my writing productivity snowball this year.

January 10

  • Project: Inbetween
  • Total word count: 24,592
  • Today’s word count: 205
  • Thoughts: My word count isn’t as spectacular as I would have liked, but I’m still pretty happy that I wrote at all. I want to be able to set high goals, but after the days I missed over the holidays it is probably more reasonable to just try to write every day.
  • Tomorrow’s goal: I just need to keep writing. As long as I write every day this week I’ll be happy.

January 11

  • Project: Inbetween
  • Total word count: 25,679
  • Today’s word count: 1,087
  • Thoughts: Yay! This is the sort of word count I like to see! If I write like this every day I’ll have a draft finished in no time!
  • Tomorrow’s goal: Thursday is revision day. I hope I have the energy to keep up the writing momentum too.

January 12

  • Project: Inbetween
  • Total word count: 25,953
  • Today’s word count: 274
  • Thoughts: While the word count I reached today isn’t as high as yesterday’s, I’m still thrilled because I finished all the revisions for this week’s chapter in less than a day! It’s such a relief to have that done and out of the way already. Now I can get back to focusing on writing more of the story.
  • Tomorrow’s goal: More writing. I have some personal goals I’m trying to reach while writing this novel. As of right now I’m ahead of schedule, but I don’t want to lose my lead.

January 13

  • Project: Inbetween
  • Total word count: 26,172
  • Today’s word count: 219
  • Thoughts: I’m not happy with this word count at all. I should have written so much more today. My motivation just evaporated early and instead of doing things to get it back, I watched TV. I guess one day like this isn’t so bad, but I’m still disappointed that I let it happen unintentionally.
  • Tomorrow’s goal: More writing! I have a chapter to post and I’ll be stuck inside most of the day due to nasty weather so I should have no excuse.

January 14

I posted this week’s chapter, but otherwise, no writing progress was made. Throughout the day I was tired, distracted or often both. I need to figure out a better system for Fridays and Saturdays as they are my most chaotic days every week.

January 15

  • Project: Inbetween
  • Total word count: 26,490
  • Today’s word count: 318
  • Thoughts: Not a spectacular word count to end the week, but I’ll take it. It’s better than nothing. At least next week will have a good jumping off point.
  • Tomorrow’s goal: More writing! I feel hopeful for the new writing week.

Inbetween: Chapter Five

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Back on track! I’m so glad I didn’t let getting off track for one chapter snowball into all my chapters being late.

I owe a huge thank you to my fantastic supporters for being here and believing in me. I wouldn’t be doing this if it wasn’t for you. Check out my Patreon if you want to support my writing and help my creations go from first draft to maybe someday a real book you can hold in your hands.

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Inbetween: Chapter Four

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It’s here! It’s late, but it’s here. I was so upset when I could not post this chapter on Saturday. This is the first chapter of 2017 and I wanted everything to go smoothly. Of course, nothing goes as planned. Chapter Five should be ready to go on Saturday so we won’t be off schedule for too long.

I owe a huge thank you to my fantastic supporters for being here and believing in me. Thank you for all the love and support in 2016. I wouldn’t be doing this if it wasn’t for you. Let’s work together to make 2017 even better! Check out my Patreon if you want to support my writing and help my creations go from first draft to maybe someday a real book you can hold in your hands.

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Writing Progress January 2 – 8, 2017

DailyWritingProgress

January 2

  • Project: Inbetween
  • Total word count: 22,303
  • Today’s word count: 41
  • Thoughts: I wrote. That’s something. I’m not terribly thrilled with the low word count, but I did have a lot of computer maintenance work to take care of.
  • Tomorrow’s goal: More writing. I need to get back into the groove of writing a reasonable number of words every day.

January 3

  • Project: Inbetween
  • Total word count: 22,720
  • Today’s word count: 417
  • Thoughts: We’re getting back on track! I can build up from this and make some serious daily progress. Let’s make it happen!
  • Tomorrow’s goal: More writing. Let’s see if I can top 500 words.

January 4

  • Project: Inbetween
  • Total word count: 23,388
  • Today’s word count: 668
  • Thoughts: Better! I’m pretty pleased with this word count: I’d still like to do better. It’s something I’ll keep working at. I’d like to get to the point where 4 digit word counts are a regular occurrence.
  • Tomorrow’s goal: Revision! I have another chapter to post this week after all. Hopefully I can wrap it up quickly and write more too.

January 5

  • Project: Inbetween
  • Total word count: 23,510
  • Today’s word count: 122
  • Thoughts: I added more words than I thought I would considering I was revising.
  • Tomorrow’s goal: Finish revising the final scene for this week’s chapter and get back to writing new words.

January 6

  • Project: Inbetween
  • Total word count: 23,572
  • Today’s word count: 62
  • Thoughts: This just was not my day. The Internet stopped working and still isn’t working. It looks like it won’t be fixed until Monday. For now I’m trying to focus on reading and writing and trying not to think about the fact that I won’t be able to post a chapter this weekend.

January 7

No writing progress made. I don’t know what happened to be honest. I just shut down and played games and watched TV. To be honest, something about not being able to back up my work to the cloud makes me nervous.

January 8

  • Project: Inbetween
  • Total word count: 23,583
  • Today’s word count: 11
  • Thoughts: My internet came back tonight! I was excited, overwhelmed and had a lot of catching up to do. I think it showed in my word count.
  • Tomorrow’s goal: Get caught up! Get the chapter posted! Write so many things!

Psychology of the Hater—Using our Naysayers to Fuel Greatness

Love it! Stay positive!

We have better things to do with our time than hate on others. All writers are in the same boat. We’re all trying to do the same thing and tearing each other down for doing it a different way helps no one at all.

Sometimes I do feel insecure. I feel like I’m a failure compared to other writers with more readers or more books out there, but it’s better to figure what they’re doing right than to hate them for doing it.

Kristen Lamb's Blog

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All right, I spent last post addressing HuffPo’s latest snooty rant regarding self-publishing and that’s cool. I don’t like giving attention to haters and click-bait. But, I also know there are a lot of emerging writers who follow this blog, who are finding their way in this crazy world of publishing. I’m here to keep you ON FIRE and to tell you not to let ANYONE steal your sparkle.

So today I want to milk a bit more out of this horrible post, because I think we can all learn something that is going to make us all better. And baby we need to be better. This is a tough world and we gotta STICK AND MOVE! No time to stand still!

Love Your Haters

If everybody loves us we are doing something wrong. We are blasé. We are the mediocre middle and nobody cares or even notices the mediocre…

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