Ever since I said to myself “you’re about to finish the draft, Chris” the process has slowed to a near stop. Well, not really to a stop but words come to me a lot harder and I fail to meet my daily writing quota. Which, for a near-perfectionist on selective issues (yes, I know it sounds weird but I’m not a perfectionist in everything in my life) like me, it’s annoying. Mind you, I’m not as much a perfectionist as Patrick Rothfuss is, so no, I don’t go as far as making 80 drafts for one story (11 is the highest I’ve ever done for a short story and my average seems to be around 8-9). It reaches the point where I feel guilty for not meeting my daily word limit, which in turn makes things worse ’cause I push myself harder and that only leads to even fewer words. So, I thought, it must be the fact that too much pressure has accumulated inside. Which isn’t productive.

So, I decided to try (and I stress the word try because it won’t be easy and chances are I’ll fail at it miserably) to do as many of the following things as possible.

1. I will try to stop being so caught up into how much better other people’s work is than mine.

Ever since I started I always, ALWAYS compared my work to professional writers’ work. Yes, it’s good to have their skill and their work as a guide but perhaps a perfectionist in writing (like me) goes beyond that, thus making writing a living hell for him/her.

2. I will try to share my work with more people in my old critique group over at Scribophile or get me a beta reader (people willing to help, please comment bellow, thank you 🙂 )

I haven’t uploaded anything or written anything new since June, which is when I wrote the first line of draft for the novel I’m working on. I’ve put on hold all other short stories I had in my mind and dedicated myself to finishing the novel. It paid off, since I’m about to finish BUT at the expense of getting a pat on the back by getting a positive critique or comment about my work every now and then. All I had to go with was my inner critic and, being a perfectionist when it comes to writing, that critic may be a little bit too harsh. Probably. Not sure yet.

3. I must try to get in touch with “free writing” by using creativity prompts, usually visual stimuli like fantasy/scifi/horror images (in my case that’s what I like the most).

This used to be an exercise for me, before I started working on The Darkening. To help me write on a daily basis, I usually scoured tumblr and deviantart hoping to find an image that would stir something in me (btw, I love the word “stir”. I should make a mental note to pay attention on the number of times I have used it in my novel). Then I would sit down and write a small story, usually no bigger than 1000 words. I used to love doing that but it’s been ages since the last time I did it.

4. I must try not to worry about me having gone way over my original word limit for my novel.

There’s very little I can do about this but I have to somehow convince myself that when I start revising The Darkening, I will be able to cut the story down between 100k – 105k words. Right now I’ve reached 130k and I’m still not done. 5 more scenes… God help me, if I make it and an agent asks me to trim it by 10%-20%. I’ll probably cry if I see such a request or just throw my pc out of the window.

5. I must try not to think of the pressure the unavoidable rejections will put on me, when I’ll be querying agents.

I don’t think I have much to say about this. It’s just something I have to learn to live with. All the rejections in the world when it comes to submitting short stories are probably not enough to toughen me up when agent hunting comes. *Chris gulped nervously and made a horrified face.*

Have you got any other ideas about the issue? Some miracle technique that allows you to blow some steam off when you need it? If, so please let the rest of us know and comment below.

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3 thoughts on “How to blow some steam off

  1. For me, the hardest is #1: comparing my work to writers I admire. Many of these writers are in my writing group! When I read their work, I wonder why I’m doing this. Then I try to remember how much THEY like My work. Maybe we are always better at seeing the gift in others.

    1. Isn’t it strange, though, how much we try to achieve something we want and sometimes when we do it, we’re uncertain if we actually did it to our fullest potential. And you’re absolutely right; we do see the gift in others, easier than we do with ourselves. Strange how our minds work sometimes 🙂

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