Thursday, August 13, 2015

The Battle Worth Fighting

The mind is a persnickety thing. I wish I understood more how the brain works, but I know that not even neuroscientists can fully understand the intricacies of it.

But sometimes, I really wish I could make my brain just behave already. (If you said that in Austin Powers' voice, you get 10 points!).

The plot for the novel I'm working has given me fits. I've deleted several chapters and started over - twice.

But then the angels sang and suddenly, there it was: the plot I'd been searching for. And as I began to draw up a basic outline, all these terrific scenes kept bombarding me and I got so darned excited about this novel again that I experienced a giddiness that is part and parcel of why I write.

Fast forward to the next day's writing session. I didn't even want to open my laptop. Tonight, I don't want to, either. Fear, or resistance (Steven Pressfield's The War of Art tackles this topic and is a book every writer and artist should read), keeps holding me back.

But why? Why do I have this unease in the pit of my soul when I think about actually writing that lovely plot I came up with? It's utterly bizarre to me. And I can only think that it boils down to one thing: that what I write will not be as good as what is in my head.

That's a pretty common fear for every artist. I have struggled with this in the past and I know I will continue to struggle with it in the future. What we create is usually not going to be as good as how we envision it in our heads. I'm sure it has something to do with those neurons and synapses and all the rest of that complicated yet perfect creation called our brain. What we envision in the mind that creates such vivid, incredible dreams somehow doesn't quite translate perfectly to the physical world of reality.

Every time this happens to me, I have to fight it. I have to give myself permission to create anyway. Let's face it: perfection doesn't exist. We can always change a word, delete a sentence, and tinker endlessly with a manuscript even after we've been through it sixty times or more. Giving ourselves permission not to be perfect is the key.

It's hard, which is why it is a continual battle.

But it is a battle worth fighting.

It's okay to whine and moan for a bit and say, "Why can't it be easy?" Relieve some of the pressure and let the air out of the balloon, so to speak. But then, you must get to work. Start writing, ignore that voice in your head that says you're doing it wrong, and immerse yourself in the world of your story.

Remember that perfection doesn't exist, but neither will your story if you don't write it.


  1. What an interesting title--The War of Art. It's so true, though. Writing is a battle of the mind. I've been struggling with the same thing.

    1. It is a VERY good book. I highly recommend it.

  2. It can be really hard, can't it - but we have to get it down on paper! good luck x

  3. Unfortunately for my currently WIP, real life has totally moved the goalposts and what could have worked very well as a government conspiracy now needs a lot more work. I did almost abandon it, but several people convinced me to carry on.

    1. If it's a story you feel very passionate about, then it will demand you write it. :)


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