1. Angharad
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    Angharad New Member

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    My new novel is all planned, ready to start writing - but I'm too terrified to start!

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Angharad, Feb 7, 2009.

    Hello from Australia! I'm new to Writing Forums, and I'm really enjoying reading through a lot of the posts here - a lot of wonderful inspiration here, it seems like a terrific community.

    Sorry to make my first post here so woeful, but - well, I have a terrible problem, and I'm really hoping someone can help me.

    I have this new novel all planned, and ready to start writing. It's been ready for months - but I just can't bring myself to begin! I keep putting it off, thinking, "The time's not right - maybe I'll start tomorrow..." but tomorrow never comes!

    I desperately want to start, I feel so excited and inspired by the story - but when it comes to actually starting it, I'm instantly paralysed with terror. Even the thought of writing a "crappy first draft" fills me with inexplicable fear. Thing is, I've written 3 novels already (unpublished)m so I've proved I can at least finish a book...but this time, I really don't know what's wrong with me.

    I feel like I know my characters, and the story is all there, I can see it as clearly as watching a film. What on earth is causing this fear? I'm really scared of stuffing up what feels like a great story - it's as though I'm afraid I won't capture it on paper as perfectly as the story in my head!

    I'm happy to write ABOUT the novel in my notebooks, but I just can't bring myself to start writing the thing itself!

    Am I too in love with the idea of this novel, perhaps? Maybe it's "safer" to keep it in my head, rather than risk exposing it to the harshness of reality...

    I'm really scared I'm going to wake up one day and find that I'm 100 years old, and I still haven't started the wretched thing.

    Please help, I'm really going crazy...I'd love to hear your thoughts, and reassurances that I'm not the only person afflicted with this crippling problem.

    Cheers,
    Angharad.
     
  2. garmar69
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    garmar69 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Your not going to like my opinion because it's short and to the point...

    just start writing the darn thing!

    Wait too long and it will get stale in your mind. You say your enthusiasm is high right now, so write while the fire is hot and quit worrying so much.

    Best wishes.

    gar.
     
  3. Agreen
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    Agreen Faceless Man Contributor

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    To add to the post before mine, just write it. Don't worry so much about the first draft, that's what editing is for.
     
  4. fulfilling_prophecies
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    fulfilling_prophecies New Member

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    You have everything planned out! You should be fine! I'm usually the opposite. But, then again, I don't really write novels, I do screenplays. I usually come up with a scene or a scenerio, write it down, let it sit in my head as I create characters, settings, storylines. Then, I start writing everything and anything that comes to my mind and the tighten the plot from there.

    Start writing. If it's crap, throw it out, and start fresh. That way you get the crappy writing out of the way and have your mind clear to concentrate on better writing. I have to agree with the post above me, edits are a great thing! The problem with editing is learning when enough is enough.
     
  5. othman
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    othman Member

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    I know what you mean; I used to imagine these great drawing that'd look beautiful, only whenever I tried to sketch it, it would straight away look wrong. So I couldn't bring myself to give it a shot as it would look horrible. Just like for art homework I had to sketch someone I knew and because I knew them so well it just looked pathetic so I ended up drawing everything but their head ... hehe.

    I know this may sound silly, but I think you planned it too much, you know how the finished piece will be; perfection itself ... but whenever you try it just looks meh. Just give it a try and if you don't feel you can then try to write a bit that your planning left hazy then work from their. It may be a little unorthodox for most writers but it ought to work.
     
  6. Unsavory
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    Unsavory Active Member

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    I can't sympathize entirely because my issue is always with keeping the enthusiasm and finishing. I certainly think you should start writing too, but I'm trying to grasp why it's difficult for you to start in the first place. What I would try to do is use anything below your standards that you end up writing as inspiration. If it doesn't sound right the first time, and it probably won't, then recall the enthusiasm you have now and find a way to channel that into your story. Rewrite and rewrite until the feelings in your mind and heart are out on paper for the world to see.

    Writing something the isn't ready for publication on your first try is not a failure at all. It's the expected beginning to a long journey that will shape your story until it is something that you can be proud of. Good luck, and I hope you can find the inspiration to sit down and write those first few words.
     
  7. Asuran
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    Asuran Member

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    Try starting in the middle.
     
  8. Cheeno
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    Cheeno Contributing Member

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    I'd usually jump in here with 'just write', but I'm gona come from a slightly alternative direction, which has helped me in the past. How about 'not writing'? Take a 'vow' of non-writing and non-reading for at least a week, being distinctly aware of withdrawal symptoms as they occur, and see how the battle between your desire to write and your fear of beginning turns out. Then, if you're still unable to dive in there (which I doubt), go in from an oblique angle - using the daily experiences of your characters to create 'off-stage' scenarios. You say you've planned your novel so you'll know where the line is between that which you're 'terrified' to cross, and the 'safety' of being a step away from the 'on-stage' action. A little alternative, but it worked for me. Good luck with your writing.
     
  9. tehuti88
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    tehuti88 Contributing Member

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    I think you hit the nail on the head with figuring out why you can't start--you have such a perfect idea of what you want the story to be that there's an overwhelming fear you won't live up to that in the writing itself. Been there, done that, except that I didn't let it paralyze me since I just love writing my stories too much. I've gotten bogged down near the end of stories though when I began to worry that they wouldn't turn out as I hoped. Nevertheless I kept writing, and guess what? They turned out as I'd hoped. All my worrying was for nothing. This has happened with my first two serials, and it's happening with my current serial. I imagine this worrying will all be for nothing too. :)

    There's really nothing to be done but start writing. Somebody advised starting in the middle--I can't write out of order lest I mess up the continuity, but perhaps it'll work for you, especially if the beginning is giving you trouble. Why not start with Chapter 2 or something? Or write a random scene from somewhere else in the story? See how it turns out? One way or another, the only way to get the story written is to write it, no matter how imperfect it might seem.

    Think of it this way. You love this story so much, don't you owe it to the story to get it written? If you love it so much, how can you let it just stay stuck in your head...?
     
  10. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Have you written any smaller projects out to completion? Maybe you need to start smaller, to build confidence.
     
  11. Vayda
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    Vayda Senior Member

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    Whatever you do, even if you don't write your novel, write your ideas down! Write down all the details of scenes and characters and settings. You will eventually forget!! I know how it is - I've been there - and even though it's all there right now, eventually it'll fall out of your head!
     
  12. Atari
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    Atari Active Member

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    I can't imagine your fear. . . well, perhaps a little.
    I refuse to begin the writing of my own until I have detailed things as much as you have ostensibly done.
     
  13. dthomas
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    dthomas Member

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    I'm not sure if you have a definite starting point that you would like to begin with, but sometimes it helps to write other sections of the story that pop into your head (no one said you had to write a story in order, necessarily). If you have a great opening sentence but it doesn't work until chapter three, just go with it, write what you can so that you can get into the flow of writing the story. Then, with a little bit of momentum, you can go back and start where you wanted. It works for me, anyway. Good luck!
     
  14. NaCl
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    NaCl Contributing Member Contributor

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    Your "fear" is no different than anyone else's, yet people overcome "fear" all the time. It's not an accident. It's a choice. In life, you can confront your fears, (stealing a bit from Shakespeare) "and by opposing, end them." Or, you can move on, allowing your fears to dictate your life. It's really that simple.

    By the way, what if your actual writing fails to capture the vivid images in your mind? What then? Simple...edit! Edit the damned thing until you get it the way it should be. If you struggle with writing or editing parts of it, use the Review Room in this site to seek assistance...or borrow suggestions from a mentor like mammamaia...or read similar stories for both ideas and encouragement. Do anything EXCEPT to sit on your ass worrying about starting. Please don't think me harsh...it's just a bit of Gestalt Therapy. LOL

    Good luck.
     
  15. Holliemouse
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    Holliemouse Member

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    You are in good company if i am not mistaken JK Rowling also felt she might not be able to portray Harry Potter as well as in her mind. She worried her skills would not match up to the stories!

    So if you feel like that perhaps you as she has, got a best seller on your hands...get writing x
     

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