I usually allow a 15 to 20 minute writing slot just before I go to bed. This is the time I write about writing. Sometimes I assess the progress of my current project, or complain about how tough some aspect of writing is (usually plot), or make excuses for not writing more, better, or more often. But sometimes, like last night, I admit to myself I'm afraid of failing.
I’ve recently begun a new project, the first three chapters of a first novel, and chapter one is done. It’s a decent start if I do say so. My fear was that I’d be unable to advance the plot beyond chapter one. I’ve been here before, you see. It’s the recurring nightmare of my writer’s psyche.
I don’t know why my ego is so invested in writing successfully except that it is one of maybe two talents I’ve been given. I do these two things better than I do most anything else, however well or ill other people might do them. These are fun things I do that don't require company. Lately, however, writing has been anything but fun.
So, having admitted my fear, this morning I whispered a prayer and started in on chapter two. In no time I had introduced a new character, setting, and dropped in a little backstory. (Hands-in-the-air hallelujahs—and hold on while I escort the proverbial monkey to the door!)
Now, I’d like to go back and clarify what I said about writing being fun. Sometimes it's fun and sometimes it isn't. And that's probably to be expected, no matter what type of creator you are. I’ve decided that I’m an Interpreter, one of several designations Carol Lloyd assigns to creative people in Creating a Life Worth Living.
Lloyd asserts that although each creative type (Leader, Teacher, Realizer, Healer, Interpreter, Generator, Inventor, Maker, Mystic, Thinker) is capable “of working through all stages of creativity, most people prefer a certain moment in the creative process.” (p.65)
An Interpreter, according to Lloyd, is someone who prefers the final stages of creative production. Interpreters supposedly make good editors.This squares with my experience. Once I get a project near to completion and can see how my tweaks or major revisions create a believable alternate reality—now that’s Art! And for me it’s the fun part!
The downside is that Interpreters may have to slog through the beginning stages of a project. This also squares with my experience. I sure hope it gets easier with practice.
Whichever type of creator you are, you are likely to find that part of the process will be difficult (if not drudgery) and part will be fun. That's the bad news. I understand and sympathize.
The good news is that some of your fear of failure may be the result of being stuck in the slog-through parts; if you keep at it, sooner or later you'll be having fun again.
So slog on!