Monday, February 27, 2012

My Writerly Fears

Even though I was practically born with my nose in a book, and even though creating a story from thin air is one of the most rewarding experiences ever, there are plenty of aspects to this whole writing biz that give me serious anxiety.

My biggest fears right now are these:

- That I won't get a single request on the manuscript I recently started querying.

- That the characters in WiP #3 will continue to give me the silent treatment, and I'll be uninspired for all eternity.

- That I WILL keep writing, and eventually realize all my characters sound the same and all my plots are cliche, predictable, and boring.

I've been thinking about that third one quite a bit. I think the reason my mc in WiP #3 seems to be cold-shouldering me is because she's so different from the last girls I wrote. I'm used to writing feel-good novels about girls who are spunky, a little self-centered, and a lot outspoken.

Not this time. The story is much darker, and the mc is quiet, shy, and introspective. Which, in all honesty, sounds a lot like me. So you'd think it would be a piece of cake, right? Not so much.

But then I'm worried that once I DO get a handle on her voice, the writing won't be different enough from my previous novels. Because, let's face it: to some degree, no matter how different we plan for the voice or the scenario to be, or who we base our characters on, they're all a product of the one brain in our heads. And we only have so many words in our vocabularies, so many catch phrases we're familiar with, and certain ways of thinking.

I don't want my stories to be different names and faces and settings, but interchangable dialogue, emotions, and reactions. I'm trying to figure out how to write not just a different story, but a different book. And it's kind of terrifying.

Is it more terrifying than writing a novel you're proud of and having every agent you approach tell you it's not for them? Well, honestly, I don't know. But I suppose I'll find out.

So tell me peeps. What are your biggest writerly fears?


  1. Right now my biggest writerly fear is my next SNI. It's sneaked into my mind months ago and I am so excited to write it! But I've never tried MG before (apart from two abandoned sentences), so it's terrifying. A fantastic challenge, but absolutely, completely terrifying.

    I guess the only way to find out exactly how scary it is, is to write it thought. So we'll see!

    Also, WIP #3 sounds awesome. You can definitely do it! :)

  2. Gina, would it help if I told you these fears are pretty common? I've had times when my WIPs all collapsed before chapter 10 -- just far enough into them for me to think I had something. And I wondered, am I out of ideas? Are all my ideas poorly thought-out and not worth writing?

    Usually, all I needed was to take a break, read some books, let my ideas simmer for awhile ... and something would come to me. Maybe it would be the solution to my WIP problems; maybe it would be a new WIP entirely.

    Good luck. I'm sure your characters will eventually show you the way!

  3. I worry that I'll write something, then someone else will write the same thing, they'll finish it before I do, and they'll do it better.

    And if my novel isn't even finished, do I continue, or do I give up, even if I'm 3/4 of the way done?

  4. My biggest writerly fear is that I'm not doing enough to 'get there'. I always feel like I should be writing more, querying more, trying harder. I'm always afraid I don't have enough motivation, determination, time or talent to succeed. I'll probably feel that way until the day I finally do make it, if I ever do:)

  5. I'm going to ditto Dianne (for you) and CQG (for me). I hit a roadblock similar to your #2 about six months ago. Another opportunity popped into my life, non-writing related, so I took it. Now, I'm getting back to writing. I feel like I haven't done enough--today is my first day back. *slaps head

    I'm telling you this because we all have those feelings. It's okay. The important thing is that you know your writer friends are here for you. :D Oh, and keep living while your characters are giving you the cold shoulder. Trust me; you'll find the answer in some everyday occurrence.

  6. G! You're like, having the same problems as me and L! She did a post on writing really different stuff and I did one on not knowing what to write!

    L was right--the shared CP brain really is going into overdrive today.

    I know what you mean, though--the MS I was working on had two characters who didn't really think like me, so I put it aside for a bit until I can figure them out more. You'll get it--just give it a little time.

  7. I worry that I wasted my time writing this book. I worry that no one will like it.

  8. I'm trying to figure out how to write not just a different story, but a different book. <--- THIS OMG SO MUCH THIS A HUNDRED TIMES OVER.

    You will do it. You will. And it will be AMAZING.

    Two big fears:

    1. My rejection depression will stop me writing before anyone outside my CP circle actually reads what I've written.

    2. All my stuff actually SUCKS, and for whatever reason, I don't realize it.

    But, yeah. Shared-CP-Brain overdrive. Because both of us had the realization that different is GOOD. And Chessie has somehow mined the deepest, darkest depths of my writerly anxiety. I'm a poser. Eeeep.

  9. I definitely share those fears. Sometimes it's so easy to feel like everything I've written is uninspired. Those are the days I just need to keep pushing through. Good luck with querying!

  10. *hugs* You can do it! WiP #3 will be amazing.

    My biggest writerly fear is being unable to write the story I want to write. I'm a horribly insecure writer, but I am as certain as I can be that my idea is good: layered and full of potential. However, I don't think my writing is good enough. I'm deeply afraid that I'll botch up a special idea with my lousy writing skills. But I'm telling myself that I can always revise revise revise, and my writing skills will never get better unless I write write write.

  11. You should join the Insecure Writer's Support Group!
    My biggest fear right now resides in what's going to happen tomorrow...

  12. I sometimes get a kind of existential paranoia about my writing - that a story is not a story, that the plot isn't a plot, and that the themes are just in my head; that the whole thing is just words tumbling out of my fingertips without meaning or purpose or direction, and that I'm shouting into the wind for no other reason than I've seen others do it.