Into the flames…

Nothing is ever as simple as it seems.

After my last post, I sat down to work on my novel. I had discovered my fear of failure – great, time to move on. I had the babe on me, sleeping but feeling yucky, so I would work with one hand, but it’s editing – no problem. Slower, yes but doable.  But, wait, there was more fear, lurking. I was scared to begin.

Yup, scared.

One of the things that has plagued me since I gave birth is death (it was the same thing with the birth of my other two children as well). All of sudden life seems too short. I feel too old to be having children because I won’t be around that long (I’m 36 so not such a logical conclusion, but I never said this was rational). I become terrified of loosing them, and of the possibility of their suffering. All the common angst of a new mother, I believe. Sleep deprived minds are not very functional, I have noticed, and they tend to latch on to irrational thoughts.

My novel that I began a little over a year ago is about motherhood, loss, denial of self, and deep deep pain. It is taxing, and emotional draining, and without a doubt the most difficult piece I have worked on. It has a lot subtleties, and complexities, and requires me to give myself completely over to it. I was petrified to come back to these characters and their suffering. But I did.

It was not as scary as I thought it would be. In fact, it wasn’t scary at all. Some time ago after a little hiatus from writing I mentioned that my return felt like I was back home. I felt this way again. As if my characters had been waiting for me to join them, with fresh eyes, clean eyes.

I saw some mistakes, but nothing major, but of course I am only at the beginning of the novel. I have about 400 pages to work through, and I’m excited about it now.

These recent posts of mine remind of writing down one’s thoughts and releasing them by burning. I might have done that once or twice as teen, but I’m not certain (I have a terrible memory!). Yet, here there actual people receiving them. Thank you.

Have you struggled through emotional moments in your writing? How do you do it?


13 thoughts on “Into the flames…

  1. Strangely enough, fear seems to be a highly motivating emotion. Unchecked, it lacks logic from a literary standpoint. It also seems to more than often lack logic in real-time situations.

    But it does dredge up thoughts that we perhaps try to leave hidden, buried in our psyche because perhaps we feel that they are unnatural. Tapping into our fears puts us face-to-face with our deepest motivations.

    I recently wrote (while in the midst of unemployment which has since been rectified) an EXTREMELY dark transgressive novella about a laid off television ad executive who turns to day trading as well as serial rape and murder. When my wife (who is also my editor) read it, she had to remind herself of the loving husband and man that I am. We had a discussion about it, the idea behind it, where it came from, etc. It was as beneficial a discussion for me as it was for her.

    Your post today references ideals of the irrational and yet you express them in a clear and precise manor. That “momentary lapse of reason” (to steal from Pink Floyd) marks you as a well-balanced and self-realized human being.

    I’ve known this for some time. And so have you.

    1. Mr. tikiman, I can always count on you to say the right thing. thank you.

      and thank you for sharing your own story. Amazing what comes out in our work. And amazing how your wife had to remind herself who you really are – you’re story must be very vivid.

      “tapping into our own fear puts us face-to-face with our deepest motivations.” wonderful and so true. thank you for the reminder, it’s an inspiration. (and so true of our characters and how their own fears are their driving post. You just gave a future post. 🙂 )

  2. Yay! Another Canadian writing blog I’ve found! (I’m Canadian but living in London, UK).

    I often have heart-in-throat moments when I’m writing – that anxious feeling when I wonder if it’s good enough; if I can do it. I force myself to push through it.

    1. Hi Talli, and thanks for the comment!
      Push through it, yes.
      I read something once about how a writer’s relationship with his/her writing is just like any other relationship. And it really is, isn’t it??
      Good luck with you upcoming debut novel, and congratulations!

  3. Oh I know about that fear!
    When I finished writing the first draft of my novel I was terrified- terrified of the book being bad, of revision, and mostly terrified of not being able to write another book.
    But fear can be motivating, if you don’t let it paralyze you.
    I’m glad it wasn’t scary for you and I wish you the best of luck 🙂

    1. thanks, Lua – I suppose it’s something all writers experience now and again. It’s comforting to know it’s just a ‘thing’ we can all go through. One of the great things about the blogging community.

  4. I wish I could say that emotional moments of my writing with ease, but that would be a terrible lie. In fact, I hum and haw, procrastinate and generally hide from them until I get so disgusted with myself that I do them out of shame.

  5. Writing has always been emotional for me. I fight off OCD tendencies, fear of failure, fear of success, worry that I’ll die before I can complete a story of great beauty, frustration with my amateurish habits, etc. It’s like writing time is my life condensed. How do I manage? I think of the alternative. I don’t want to be the person who didn’t try. Anyway, I am actually moodier when I don’t write.

  6. Good for you getting back to it so fast. Yes, I mean fast. I know how distracting all those little voices and hands are. Now, if you can just find even 15 minutes each day to read a sentence or think about what a character might do if…, you can stay connected and it will just get easier and easier. And I think writing about it here counts too!

    Usually with the emotional stuff, I don’t think about it ahead of time. I just plow into the words and then I’m in.

    1. don’t forget those little mouths. lol or should I say big mouths?

      thanks, Cynthia! I appreciate that a lot. Just this evening a friend said I had ti cut myself some slack – I do have a 3 month old after all.

      so, you don’t think about it – just do it. Good moto. getting those little bits and pieces in of writing….

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