The beginning of the end (but not in an ominous way)

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.

6 thoughts on “The beginning of the end (but not in an ominous way)

  1. July August 3, 2016 / 11:40 am

    I read the main reason why you want to write Incarnation and I wrote this comment mainly because of your last paragraph.

    I understand your fear, really. It’s also never a dream of mine to have a bazillion of achievement in life. And when something good happens, I fear it. I fear for the next disappointment that’s to come, for how I’ll handle the success, if I really deserve it. I’m asking a lot of whys.

    But Ais, gathering from what I know about your dream (which is not much), we both know this is your big BIG dream! You’ve begun what you wanted to be your footprint in this world, when you thought you only have years left. And you have courageously took the first step. Now it’s come to an end. Not much I can say to encourage you, except that there’ll always be something that waiting for you in the end, regardless of the end result.

    We, the readers, will be here because we like what you write. And I hope you’ll feel the sense of achievement and fulfillment too. Let’s believe in you. And in the end, I think that’s what’s matter the most. That you have given it your all. and you’re not alone 🙂

    I hope you won’t feel burdened by all this. I was meant to give you encouragement, not burdening you. I was just hoping my believe in you will help you move foward, even though I’ve never meet you in person and you don’t know me, because I like you as a person. And this is my way of saying thank you for all you did with ICoS and your life, because it has impact on our lives, no matter how “small” or “mundane” it is. I hope my feeling reaches you..

    #godthissoundssocheesy #amsosorry

    • Ais August 3, 2016 / 8:57 pm

      Thank you! I appreciate it! That wasn’t a burden at all, don’t worry! I definitely read it as encouragement 🙂 It was very sweet and I really appreciate it ❤ I'm a weird person because on the one hand, I'm so used to not being "normal" (as in, in line with everyone else) that I'm completely fine with being upfront about going my own way and I'm confident in my ability to go through with it; but on the other hand, because I'm so used to not being "normal" I also feel like I'm always in the way or a nuisance or bringing people down or distracting them from their true selves or who knows what the hell goes through my mind lol So it's kind of funny because I simultaneously have a lot of self-confidence and very little. I'm not explaining that well but anyway, I guess what I was trying to say is I liked your phrase "Let's believe in you" and I thought that was a cool way to think about it 🙂 And yet the funny thing is, if that was me saying that about someone else I could 100% run with it encouraging them, but if I think in terms of people believing in me I'm like "What?? No no let's focus on something more important, my god what a waste that would be of everyone's time o_o" XD It's so dumb.

      Anyway that's why I wanted to say I appreciate your kindness ❤

  2. LISA (@dahllm) August 4, 2016 / 10:01 am

    “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.” You did a perfect job. You sound like you are exactly where you need to be right now and you conveyed that clearly but uniquely to you as always!

    “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 love that you said this too. Again, you know exactly where you are, a general sense of where you want to be, some pride that you’re not where you used to be, and you’re sitting with the present even if it seems “not ideal” on a surface level. E.g. if an “ideal” situation is you would be writing every night, but you know what, that’s not authentic to YOUR process right NOW so it doesn’t need to be forced. It would be pressure coming from nowhere but you and that nobody needs that. So I love how you’re explaining that here. You’re letting the whole deal unfold organically instead and that’s really beautifully living in the moment. I think it will mean that much more to you this way!

    I read this quote recently and I felt like it was a great metaphor for the gift of a writer and their work: “It is one of the greatest feelings known to humans, the feeling of being the host, of hosting people, of being the person to whom they come for food and drink and company. This is what the writer has to offer.”

    You are a brilliant and fascinating host and this is going to be one of the best dinner parties you’ve ever thrown. So if you need to move the start time a little bit so the preparations can be more authentic to you, the guests are more than willing to wait. But I know you said this isn’t even for the guests, this is a book you’re writing for yourself, so it’s really great to witness your journey inward as you continue finding out and sharing your heart and mind. I really love this post!

    • Ais August 4, 2016 / 7:51 pm

      I love how you word things, Lisa! Everything you said sounds so beautiful and it’s such a cool way of thinking about things 🙂 I really like how you talk about things being authentic to the person. That feels right to me 🙂

  3. Rehan August 24, 2016 / 12:46 pm

    Assalamualaikum Ais!

    That quote from Boyd is effing brilliant. It suits the situation so well.

    But somehow this quotes that first came in my mind:

    “The way Gansey saw it was this:if you had special knack of finding things you owed the world to look.”

    You and Sonny gifted the world with ICOS.ICOS is slowly changing it.

    Example:Boyd made me realised I should feel comfortable being an androgynous gay teen.I did,I’m growing my hairs.It’s shoulders length now.Honey I’m so happy you don’t understand.I won’t traded it for anything,even for the potential of gay bashing in Muslim country that I lived in.


    “If you can’t be unafraid,be afraid and happy.”

    Take that leap Ais! Someone like me is waiting for your works.He/She just didn’t know it yet.

    • Ais August 24, 2016 / 7:56 pm

      Alaikumsalaam, Rehan! That was cool seeing that Gansey quote…I had forgotten about that but it reminds me of how much I liked that quote, and that whole idea, in that book. Thank you for bringing it up! It’s a really neat way of looking at life 🙂

      Wow that is so amazing that ICOS had that meaning to you, that Boyd was able to help you feel more comfortable with who you are! You are completely amazing and never let anyone make you forget that! I’m really happy to hear how happy you are! That’s wonderful that you’re growing out your hair 🙂 I bet it looks beautiful. We are all born how we are born, and we’re all important in the way we are naturally. It takes a LOT of strength to be able to stand up and say, “This is who I am!” in a world or society or situation where that isn’t the norm or isn’t expected. Inshallah, I hope you never forget the power of your own bravery and hopes and dreams. (I know I didn’t use that quite correctly; I’m sorry–I hope I didn’t accidentally offensively use that. I’ve always loved Inshallah as a phrase so I really wanted to use it to emphasize how important I think you and your current intentions are 🙂 )

      I also hope you are able to stay safe. The world still has too many problems with people who are different, but I truly hope we as humans will continue to work together toward a more open-minded goal. One way that will happen is by people like you being willing to be who you are, not apologizing for it, and showing everyone else who is uncertain or confused that there’s nothing wrong or frightening with you being you; you’re simply another human being on this planet, doing your best to strive for your version of happiness. I think it’s the lack of understanding, the fear of what or who we don’t understand, that makes people panic when confronted with someone who is willing to be themselves when that makes them stand out. But it’s by those people willing to be themselves that slowly over time, that understanding will follow. Islam has a lot of love in it and there are so many loving Muslims in the world, that I really hope their voices become the most powerful sound around you, so you can feel safe and welcome and comfortable where you belong.

      I’m wishing you all the very best! 🙂 Please stay safe and stay strong, and remember that you are amazing every day of your life! And thank you so much for your very sweet and inspiring message! I really appreciate the encouragement–you may not know how much it means to me 🙂 I just finished a chapter and have a bit more to go, but more and more I can see the ending in sight. It means a lot to know there are amazing people like you in the world who have found some sort of use or inspiration out of ICoS and who is interested in other things I’ll be doing going forward. I also love that quote–if you can’t be unafraid, be afraid and be happy.

      Keep yourself happy as best you can, and if ever you waver just remember I’m here and I believe in you 🙂

      All the brightest of blessings to you and yours, from a former Wiccan to a current Muslim friend 🙂

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