I have gone through a lot of emotions in the creation of this novel. I have felt happiness at the completion of the various drafts. I have felt nervousness in turning chapters over to D.W. for his pass at them. Yes, nervousness. Have you read any of the earlier posts? I have felt consternation at the prospect of the work not being well received. I have felt fear that everything I was doing, everything I am doing, is just not good enough. What if nobody likes it? What if it gets panned? What if we can’t come up with a strong second novel? What if, what if, what if? Our whole lives are dictated by “what ifs.” It is clear to me, as D.W. and I continue to develop the Necromancers’ Pride world, that “what ifs” are the real killers to the creative drive.
I normally will find some personal space in which to meditate on what I am about to write. Now, don’t take that to mean that I go on an exsistential vision quest to find some hidden truth. I just take myself back to that place in my mind that remains childish. That’s right, childish. There is a lot to learn from children. They tend not to let little things like “what ifs” get in the way of their fun. As I write this, my son is the 49ers starting quarterback, and he is right in the middle of the game winning drive against the Cowboys for the NFC title game. Do you think he has time for “what ifs?” Damn right, he doesn’t. He has to get his team down the field.
I have learned so much from my children, like how to get my team down the field. Sometimes, it is just about getting out of your own way and letting creation take control. D.W. and I both marvel at how our children go out and conquer their surroundings, letting nothing stand in their way. They do that because they truly believe they are as special as we tell them they are. I hope they always feel that.
The problem with “what ifs” is that, the older we get, the more we listen to others who tell us we are not that special. What if that barista at Coffee Bean was right; there is too much competition in the literary world? What if my sophomore college professor was right; I don’t know structure well? By the way, that one was just a for instance, my knowledge of structure is superb. But it illustrates my point, outside forces cause us to step out of our childish minds and into the adult world of worry and doubt.
What if you never tried at all? That would be sad and you would say, “I could have, I should have, I would have.”
“What ifs” are real killers. They make us feel old before our time. How can you equip yourself to battle the “what ifs” that might creep up in your writing? Well, knowledge for one. You must be equipped with the best information you can find. To that end, I have a great link to share with you about some tips to great writing. They are simple and accurate. Arm yourself with this knowledge and you will go a long way to stomping on the “what ifs.”
Trust me, you will thank me for this one.
Now, once you have the knowledge, you have to give it to your childish mind. Then, let your mind go play.
I don’t have time for “what ifs.” Do you?
What has gotten in your way? What have you done to get past the doubts in your own mind?
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