Many people are familiar with the basic concept of writer’s block. For those who don’t, it is a condition known to writer’s that ends in missed deadlines as a result of your characters going on strike. When they fail to work, fail to move, fail to assist you as their creator, you suffer.
Wikipedia claims: Writer’s block is a condition, primarily associated with writing as a profession, in which an author loses the ability to produce new work.
Dictionary.com writes: writer’s block (noun) a usually temporary condition in which a writer finds it impossible to proceed with the writing of a novel, play, or other work. Most claim it to be temporary and psychological in nature, at least in part.
Welcome to Writer’s Block! (We should open a bar and call it that. We could have group sessions that focus on plot progressions and writing prompts.)
What some don’t realize is that there is another form of writer’s block. This form is lesser known to published authors, but much more popular with writer’s such as myself. This form of writer’s block prohibits us from allowing others to read what we’ve written for one reason or another. I have this form of writer’s block. Yes, I know the irony of writing a blog and being afraid to let others read what I write. What you don’t know is that I wrote a book. Or at least 30,000+ words of a book. The one I talk about today is actually the second of three books I’ve written (or begun writing). It’s not finished even though I started writing it 2 years ago as part of the 2010 National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). I have a written beginning, several key moments throughout various stages of the middle and the end pretty well wrapped up.
This week, I began working on it again. I started by proofreading the first two chapters, which I then nervously emailed to my husband and my best friend (who did the 2010 NaNo with me). Neither have read it and I’m not sure CB even knows what it’s about. She wont be able to get back to me about it until this weekend, but my husband actually did read it. He praised it fairly well for a man who’s really not good with expressing himself about things he likes. Mostly, I get comments like “It was good” or “I liked it” with little to no elaboration as to what he liked, what he thought was good, or if anything in particular really struck his fancy. I’m hoping for more from CB, as she’s much more of an avid reader than my husband is.
Last night, while on Skype with my husband (he finally got a webcam and I’m SOOO happy that we finally get to see his beautiful face, if only for the few minutes before the internet connection cuts out), he asked “What are your plans with your book? … Do you just want to finish it so you can say its done?” To which I replied: “I’d be too embarrassed to publish it, even self-publishing takes a bit of time and patience and I don’t have the confidence to push it to the public. what if someone we knew read it? and it’s not like we could just not tell people I was a published author, that’s kind of a big deal, ya know?”
These small questions forced me to be honest with myself. I worry about what people think of me. I am terrified of what people with think of me if they read what I wrote. I love the story. I love the characters. Things are great in the little universe of my own creation. The problem is that my main character is a female serial killer who chooses her victims on a whim and tends to get aroused during the commission of a homicide.
Not exactly something I want to discuss with my mother-in-law or my church group.
“Oh Mrs. Noba, what do you do?”
“Me? I’m a stay at home mom who writes semi-erotic slasher novels in my spare time.”
That conversation just doesn’t play out well in my head. And it’s not like I could just NOT tell people that I was publishing a book.
This is where my writer’s block comes in. My characters are highly cooperative with my ability to shape their world for better or worse. I am simply unwilling to allow them to exist beyond my own hard drive. My main character is a great one, even if she kills people for no apparent good reason. She has a good heart and is known to be quite self-less from time to time.
Too bad I’m the only one who will see it.