Permission to Write

I’ve not been writing much lately. Slowly poking at the final story in a series I’ve been working on for years, not eager to part with that world and that character. Also editing one of the earlier stories in the series and having a difficult time with it. I know what I want to do with it. I know why it doesn’t work the way it is now, and I know the direction it needs to go in order to avoid that thing that isn’t working. I’ve changed a few things already after really sitting down and thinking about how the characters would handle the situation (when I say early, I mean written early on, not just chronologically in the series, so a little rethinking was needed). So why am I only sitting here staring at the screen, reluctant to try to change anything?

It’s not because I’m married to the story the way it is now. I’m not. I knew it needed something when I sent it in, and the feedback I got confirmed that and helped me figure out what was missing. So why am I only sitting here staring at the screen?

At times, I suffer from extreme lack of self-confidence. The condition is chronic, but there are moments when it flares up badly, like the psoriasis on my hands. I refuse to believe that I possess any shred of skill or talent. I refuse to believe that writing is anything more than a waste of time. I refuse to acknowledge the passion that drives me to write in the first place.

But I know all that is bullshit. I can’t say anything about skill and talent because I’m a horrible judge of that in myself. However, I can’t argue with the passion. Writing has been my passion for over 20 years now. I’m also specifically passionate about the series I’m working on. I want every story to be the best it can be, and having lived with the characters for over five years now, I have a pretty good idea how to get it there. So why am I sitting here staring at the screen?

Part of me wants to scrap the whole thing and start it over, which wouldn’t be a bad idea, really. I could focus on the bits that are important and make the bits that should be tease actual tease. I should be reminding myself that this story was written quickly and was very nearly nothing but smut, although when it got to the end, the smut was unfeasible, so it never went there. But that’s not what I’m doing. I’m sitting here staring at the screen.

Sometimes I need to give myself permission to write. Sometimes I’m stingy with that permission. The hall pass isn’t official, get back to class. But this is in direct conflict with my motto for this year. So you know what? Fuck it. Permission granted.

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4 thoughts on “Permission to Write

  1. I am in the process of scraping and rewriting a trilogy. Originally it was all one book. It is going much smoother the second time around. Although it is more work, I highly recommend it. I also know how hard it is to part with characters you’ve worked with for a long time. I think separation anxiety is normal ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. I suspect that what’s holding you up — or at least part of it — is knowing the series is coming to an end. Maybe you shouldn’t be telling yourself it’s the last couple stories. Call it Book One and leave your mental options open for another ten stories, some rainy-day writing project. Make these last few projects a springboard to the one somewhere down the road. You’ll know how to make your springboard strong enough for the next bounce.

    • That’s definitely part of the problem. I’m deeply, deeply attached to Jack and to his city. I don’t know that I can imagine not writing about his adventures. There actually *is* another series, some of which is partly written but needs to be started over from scratch since I hadn’t really figured everything out when I started scribbling the ideas down. Still, it’s not easy. I think I understand why some writers write with the same characters in the same setting for so many books. ๐Ÿ™‚

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