January 27, 2016

Trying too Hard?

By Vickie Carroll

All my life my German DNA has been at war with my Irish DNA. When it comes to writing that became a problem. Part of me wants to let my creative side alone, to let it develop naturally, to listen, wait, and trust that the story will come. That is my Irish side talking. My German side says get busy, get it done, and work your plan. I walk away from the computer many days with a headache as my two personalities slug it out. This combination has served me well at times but has made my writing life difficult at times. I do meet those deadlines, and I follow through, try hard, and edit and over-edit.  My finished product is fine most all the time, but somewhere along the way, I killed the joy of writing with my attempt to control everything. I had to ask myself, am I making it harder than it has to be?

I made a vow (my new year's resolution) that this year I would sit back and listen to what my characters tell me and allow my stories to develop without so much editor-me interference. I was determined to allow the muse to visit me and welcome her with open arms. I swore I would stop editing as I wrote and just let the creative process be what it was. I was successful about half the time.
One day I sat down at the computer and realized my entire body was in a clinched state. I love writing, so what was wrong with me? Why did approaching the computer stressing me out? What was blocking me from the idea and outlining process to the actual story writing? That is when I understood what I was doing. I was setting expectations for the outcome before I even sat down to work.

Now when I approach the computer I am not frowning and my stomach in not roiling. I sit down with only one purpose: let me get this character on the page, or let me get this great action or location scene down...the rest will come. When I took that pressure of final expectation away, it allowed my creative side freedom while it satisfied my "business-side" to know that I was getting something done that was important.

Lesson learned: stop trying so hard and remember the joy of the process and the reason I write--the love of sharing a story.  

Vickie lives in the Atlanta area, is a native Georgian, and worked for a major university before leaving recently to write full time.  She has written and published many articles and short stories but she has recently ventured into the world of fiction. Her first fiction book, The Ghost of Kathleen Murphy, released on Amazon January 1st, followed by her second book, Murder at the Peach Blossom Inn late June. Connect with her on her new blog page just up and a work in progress at:  Twitter:  @vlcarroll67 Her webpage coming soon.  Vickie - Writing by Moonlight

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