It’s the first Wednesday in December, which means it’s time for the monthly round-up of writers in the Insecure Writer’s Support Group. The purpose is to encourage since we all have challenges that can us leave feeling a little (or a lot) insecure. Feel free to hop on over and check out the other participating writers.
I recently read a post by Christina C. Jones over at Being Mrs. Jones about her decision to not go forward (at least for now) with a follow-up to her first novel, Love & Other Things. Her words struck a chord with me because I had been planning a follow-up, or a continuation of my own with Graduation Day (GD) and found myself in a similar predicament. The story hit a block, but I wasn’t sure if I’m the block or if the first story was truly the end of the road for this particular character.
Maybe I was being selfish if this story was done. Kendall, her roommate Ameenah, and her cousin Reese have been around for many years, so I thought that maybe I could be trying to force a full novel. At one point, I completed a manuscript and even had the story edited and cover conceptualized. Then, I shelved it. Why???
Honestly, I got scurred.
I discovered in my process of getting ready to publish that I made several mistakes, one of them being a prologue that was about 90 percent backstory. Another was that I kind of blew through parts of the story and didn’t really devote a lot of time to character development. I wasn’t willing to risk publishing if it wasn’t right.
So, I began making some changes. Went back to the drawing board many times. Fleshed out characters. Took away some. Added new elements. Scrapped pieces that felt clichéd and overdone. Struggled with my own insecurities and perceptions about what I write and how I write. Now, with the exception of GD, I feel like Kendall’s story is my eternal WIP.
So, after years of trying to tell her story, was it really that a 2000-word short is ALL she’s got?
Or was it me? If it was me, then why was this story so effin’ hard to finish? Well, in the process of cleaning up this blog, I happened upon posts from a now-defunct blog of mine and found that my struggle isn’t brand new. And, it’s not just with this particular story. Follow-through, consistency, routine, even confidence or the lack of it, old fears…this has been my struggle as a writer. And the more I went through my old posts, and even revisited some story concepts, the more I knew…
I have to be able to deal with and push through those issues. Use it as fuel to move forward instead of allowing it to hold me, and ultimately this story, back.
So, how have you been able to handle those internal roadblocks?