Monday, July 29, 2013

The Writing Challenge 1,000 Words in 1 Hour

I've got a wonderful friend named Lizzie, who is a very accomplished writer/author.  Every so often she challenges her writing buddies to write 1,000 in one hour.  Oh how I had that gift!  To write 1,000 words that flow together and actually make sense.  Can I do it? 

I know that I can do anything I set my mind and heart to doing. But there will always be a seed of doubt in my mind.  When someone I loved responded negatively when I told them I knew what I wanted to do in life - write a children's book series for pre-school and kindergarten aged children - my dream was all but completely squashed and self doubt came rolling through me like a crazy train running out of control at 200 miles per hour.  That day I closed my laptop and didn't open it for over two months to write. Ever since that time three and a half years ago, I can't seem to get it all together and as Larry the Cable Guy says "Get 'er done!". 

These days I tend to doubt my own writing abilities.  So many days I sit down, open my shiny, relatively-new laptop and then I just stare at the screen wondering what exactly I should write about.  I can start a blog page and by the end of the first paragraph I have run out of steam.

I have so many great authors that I look up to. I would love to replicate their style. Heck, I'd even love to be able to sit down and finish up the children's book I started about two years ago.  But then that over-powering fear grabs me by my throat.  The tingling sensation moves from my throat upwards to my neck and shoulders and slowly overtakes my brain.  Writer's Block as they call it is the bane of my existence!

Try as I might, I cannot find a way past it and I save the blank page and I close up shop.  Days, weeks, months and even years pass and I don't reopen the partially finished work.  I glance past it when I am on my computer as if it were just a bad dream or a bad time in my life that I wish never had happened. 

Do I have works that I am very proud of? Of course I do!  But those unfinished works, that's what I use to judge myself.  It is what haunts me.  I know in my heart I can write a good story. I've done it before. But I worry way to much about what my audience will think, how they will react and what kind of comments will be left. 

Courage. Yes, that is what I need.  It lacks in my life, in so many aspects. And one thing I am lacking the most courage is to put myself out there for the world to see.  I fear letting my readers down.  I am afraid of being a disappointment to those who support me.  I am afraid of sharing my writings with those literary folks I look up to as my muse.

I have a very long, deep, dark novel sitting in my heart.  I've played the entire novel over and over in my mind. I know who my characters are, where the story takes place and the time frame in which it occurs.  So many details all bottled up inside of me, but I am too afraid to share.  I can't even bring myself to do an outline of the story for fear of not "getting it right".

Where can I find that courage? How do my idols do it?  How do they take that first step off of the ledge and land safely on their feet? Is there a store of courage that they secretly buy all of their super powers?  If so, how does one find admittance to this private shopping facility? I'll gladly pay dues to their special club. But then again, would I be good enough to become a card-carrying member? Or would I be just another drain on their talents?

I recently reviewed all of the drafts I have sitting in my To Be Finished folder.  Man what  a lot of junk I was working on.  Trying to fill shoes bigger than mine will ever be.  Those authors I look up to have the drive, desire and courage that I pine for every time I write. So many times I doubt myself, I lose the desire to finish the piece I've worked on painstakingly for several days. Never to be finished or published on my personal blog.

See? Even writing this meme I doubt myself. Will I finish what I started? Will I make sense? Will someone want to sit and read what stories I have trapped in my head? If they are willing to take the time and read what I've written, will they be genuinely interested?  Will I put forth my best work? Will I be proud of the work I finally finish?

Someday I know I'm going to find a little bit of courage and start that outline. Maybe I'll find a way to block out the entire Universe and just let the words pour out of my mind, heart and soul.  Maybe I'll fill up several thumb drives, each chapter puling you further into my story.  Maybe each chapter will mean even more to someone else like me than I could ever imagine.  Maybe I'll share characters that you love, hate, become jealous of or that become an inspiration to the reader.  Maybe I'll write the next great American love story. 

Once I get it all finished, maybe, just maybe, I'll share it with the person who gave me this challenge to write 1,000 words in one hour and ask her to review my first finished piece of literary art. I'll happily sit there quietly and smile, enjoying the sight of Lizzie's rolling eyes as she reads my novel which will lovingly be dedicated to her and her stubbornness on pushing me to write as much and as often as I can.

Love you Lizzie Walker! Thanks so much for the challenge tonight.  It's time to forget the world and what they say and think about what I've written. It's time to just let the words flow from the brain to the screen!!

No comments:

Post a Comment