Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Fear and failure

I recently had a sit down with a new writer colleague. She had written a short story, and I had given over a piece of mine. The reason I had submitted something to her was she held a group activity discussing "show vs. tell" which is a trend in writing that trips up a lot of authors. It generally comes down to saying something explicitly (telling) rather than describing the thing and letting the reader infer (showing), usually through active voice. Her own effort was something she had been working on and was looking to improve on. I had read the first few chapters of a novel she was working on, in exchange for her giving me thoughts on my published one. That went a bit poorly (she cried), so this time I was focused on doing a better job.

And I think I did. There were no tears, and there was much productivity all around, with her saying after the meeting that she felt like we had a lot to give one another, and she felt we even had similar styles. I'm still mulling that over. It feels like, in my gut, we have more to learn from people who are different from us, but I don't have any evidence at all to that.

The monitor for my desktop is on the fritz. It has been for a while, honestly, and I somewhat ignored the problem getting consistently worse until I had to accept that it needed replacing. It's been about a week, and I realized that while I don't use it very often, I do depend on its use in the back of my mind. It cuts down my entertainment options by about half, which was pretty devastating once I did the math. Some days went by as I worked that into the reality of my routine.

Then today I woke up with chapter 20 on my brain. I laid in bed, wondering what that was about, tossed and turned for a couple hours, then I got up and wrote. In retrospect, it all made sense. I lament my lack of productivity because I always compare it to one summer, years ago, when I totaled my car. I had nowhere to go, and worse, no way to get there. The lack of doing anything gnawed at me, as I've always tried to hold myself accountable for my part of my own success. People have to read, but I also have to write. So I did. I forget if it was June or July, but I wrote a chapter a day for that entire month until I was done. I've never been able to produce such an effort since, but I've also had transportation since then. Things to do, people to see (want and need). Life. It really can get in the way.

I'm not sure what I'll do with this information moving forward, but I'll probably write more. My monitor isn't getting replaced anytime soon, and that, I realize now, isn't necessarily a bad thing.

In other news, I discovered my greatest fear (so far). It snuck up on me, the way those things do. That was the other reason for the tossing and turning, and also why I went to bed so early and so listlessly. I feel better about things today, sort of like finding a hornet in your car on your commute to work. Just have to hope it doesn't sting me; sideswiping a bus isn't really an option.

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