Tuesday, February 2, 2016

All Leap and No Look

When I first decided to write a book, I honestly wasn't sure if I'd be able to manage it. There are all of these really startling statistics spread across the internet about how 90% of people who start a novel don't finish, or how it takes years upon years to get everything right. I have no idea where I saw these statistics, and may in fact have made them up, so don't let those discourage you. If you want to write a book, I fully believe you can. I can't speak as to the quality of said book... but that's another issue entirely.

I've often said that my very best feature is that I am stubborn. Not stubborn in an argumentative way (unless you encountered me during my teenage years- sorry mom and dad), but stubborn in the way that I don't give up on things easily. I am dogged in my pursuit of the things that I want, and no lack of skill or myriad of obstacles will prevent me from pursuing the object of my desire. This is why cross country was always a good sport for me. Well, that, and the fact that no hand eye coordination was required.

Despite my stubbornness, I was worried about failing. I was worried that I would start a book and never finish it, and that I would be disappointed in myself. And that I wouldn't recover after that disappointment in the future, so I wouldn't ever try writing again. I toyed with the idea in the back of my mind, but I didn't really consider doing anything about it.

I'm the type of person who will walk to the edge of the cliff overlooking the lake and leap straight off. Its not a bravery thing, its that I know that if I stand and stare at the water and think about how cold it'll be, or how far I have to fall, that I'll psych myself out. So I'm the girl who just has to walk to the edge and plummet over without stopping to consider it first. When it comes to scary things, that's the best tactic for me. And is also why waiting in line for the Tower of Terror at Disneyland is the worst torture that I have endured to this date.

I started writing in June. I walked to the edge with a loose plot in my mind, and leapt off. In some ways, my tactic worked very well. I did, in fact, write a book length manuscript. Actually, I wrote 2. And a half. Because it turns out that my plot and characters required a triology to tell their tale. My goal is to have all three books wrapped up by June, one year after I began. And then to probably put them to rest for a little while, so I can come back to them and see them with fresh eyes.

In other ways, I know that planning would have served me well. Because I made decisions that will make this particular writing project difficult later on. I chose to follow four characters, each with their  own point of view. I chose to allow the story to stretch into a triology instead of curbing it into a novel. Planning would have prevented those things, I think, because they are challenges when it comes to the next stage. But having your characters tell you their own story is an exhilarating thing to experience.

But I don't regret it. Not for an instant. This is how I needed to start the process of determining if I can hack it as a writer. I needed to leap. And leaping into a complicated, self provided web of challenges is just my style.

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