I am currently 227,500 words into Incarnations, the first book in a series I am working on (the second book of which I had already partially written before I realized it would be part of this series). For a while, what really slowed me down with writing Incarnations was that I knew how the book would end, I knew everything that happened thousands and hundreds and singular years before the book started, but what happened in the book itself and specifically how it should lead to the ending of the book was something I was determining as I wrote. Because the plot is pretty complicated or at least layered.
Then, finally, I had a breakthrough and figured out how to plot out the steps from the chapter I was on, right through to the end of the book.
“This is amazing!” I thought at that time. “This is what stalled me before! Surely it will be much faster writing the rest of the book now!”
And yet, I find myself stalling again.
First, I stalled in figuring out how to write the chapter I had to write before it started the plotted parts. But I got through that chapter on Friday. So this past weekend I should, theoretically, have been gung ho about running forward into what I had plotted next.
Except I wasn’t.
Except, every night I am faced with the possibility of writing and I pause for lack of inspiration, even knowing what I should write. I had thought that lack of inspiration was a lack of plotting, but it wasn’t.
I realized that it’s actually because this next chapter will start the last arc of the book, and that’s… intimidating. A little scary. A bit worrisome.
I’ve always been the sort of person who gets a bit intimidated when I realized I can finish something. This will be explained better if I ever share some of the stories I have with my struggles with anorexia over the years. But it also comes up in a lot of parts of my life.
Thing is, I’d written stories, even really long stories, before–but a lot of times I didn’t finish them, or I did finish them but then I started a sequel I never wrote or finished. ICoS was the first time I wrote a really long story with a potentially solid ending, and even then I co-wrote it. I had someone else with me the whole way.
Incarnations is pretty meaningful to me for my life. Why? Because this and other reasons.
What’s interesting is I’m not worried about if other people will like it, because I know everyone has different opinions and that’s cool. I’m not worried that I will do a terrible job and it won’t live up to my standards, because I was able to release a lot of that hold for perfection over my writing over the years and now I can look at it as having fun and this just being one of many steps on a learning curve going forward. I’m not worried about a lot of things, and yet I stall.
I think it’s for two reasons:
- Once I start this last arc, there will be no going back. I’ll be ending this story, like an end of an era for me, even though it will also open up an entire series. It will be a weird sense of closure and intrigue for the future. But it also is a change.
- I really want to go strong into this last arc; make sure I write it well. I can tell the difference between when I’m into writing something and when I don’t feel like writing and I’m forcing myself. I get a lot more poetic when I’m inspired; I get really redundant when I’m not. And the thing is, I’ve been looking forward to writing a number of those chapters for months or years, so I do have expectations but mostly the expectations are I hope I can enjoy it and write it well.
But you know, I’m still going to write it. I may hit pause for a few days, let myself kind of refocus and rewind, but I’m going to finish it because I’m looking forward to it, even though I stalled before doing so.
I’m encouraging myself with, I suppose appropriately enough, a quote from narration I wrote for Boyd in Fade; a quote I put up on my wall to remind myself to keep going.
But that was the way it went any time a person was on the precipice of change. The fear of the future mixed with the loss of the past. At those times, all a person could do was step forward.
I don’t think I did a good job explaining my thought process in this, but at the same time, right now I don’t know how else to explain it. Or rather, to explain it in more detail would mean going on a number of tangents that would lead to even more tangents, and it could turn into the neverending story.
I guess what was most interesting to me is that I don’t stall because I’m afraid of failure–instead, I tend to sabotage myself because I’m afraid of success.