Sodaro's Stories

March 14, 2012

Begone anxiety

Filed under: Writer's thoughts — michelle sodaro @ 1:25 pm
Tags: , , , , , ,

So on Sunday, while I was enjoying the last day of my self-created Writer’s Retreat, I picked up Arianna’s Honor, to begin the arduous task of editing what will be my second published novel. For any of you who have had the “experience” of my editing your papers let me tell you now…I am kind to all of you — I don’t use red, I make sure to point out the good parts — I take your feelings and hopes and dreams into account (whether or not you realize this — I actually do…).
With my writing, the gloves come off. I don’t hold back. I edit in RED. I tear my words to pieces. I analyze my characters’ thoughts, words, and deeds. I ask myself, on everything, is this something this character would think, say, do??? I worry that my male characters are too colored by my experiences with men — I worry that my female characters are not feminine enough as well. I worry and change words and wake up in the middle of the night because I didn’t get the exact mannerism, speech, etc. This is all part of editing. It is what makes it so difficult to switch between writer and editor.
On Sunday, something kept preventing me from putting on my editor’s hat…I, in fact, was near to full-fledged anxiety attack each time I picked up my draft. Why, you may ask…well, quite simply, and I have said this to countless students; I was getting in my own way.
How long have I said I was going to be an author? That I was going to have it so my stories paid my bills and I could teach because I CHOSE to, not because I needed to (don’t misinterpret that…I love teaching, but if I got paid to stay home and write, I would in an instant). So it occurred to me that if I kept publishing my books, then it was a lot more likely that I would accomplish that goal. And that scared me speechless…and as all of you know, having a person like me be speechless is quite a feat. šŸ˜‰
One of the best books about writing I have ever read is Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott (coming in at a very close second is, of course, On Writing by my hero and inspiration, Stephen King). So on Sunday, I took Ms. Lamott’s advice once again. I told myself I needed a stronger opening chapter. I didn’t need to edit ALL 30 chapters…I needed only to take what I now knew of these characters I had created so long ago, and use that to make the opening scene stronger. Well, now, that’s not too scary of a task…good by anxiety; hello new opening scene…and oooh…lookie there, I made it all the way to chapter 11. I can so do this.

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