Saturday, 21 June 2014

Procrastinating ~ Unsure where to begin

I am the queen of procrastination, these days I can find umpteen alternatives to occupy myself other than to knuckle down and attend to the job at hand.

Why the procrastination? I am (trying) to write a book, a semi~biographical novel about our weird and wonderful life experiences to date. Why this topic do I hear you ask? Throughout the latter part of my life I have repeatedly heard people say to me that I ought to write a book about what we have been through. My sister has been especially supportive, giving me encouragement to finally stop pondering about whether I should embark on such a venture, to just do it. Also just a few months ago my therapist challenged me to convert my life story into a book.  She advised me to stop "thinking" about doing it but to take the bull by the horns, commit myself and just write.  That was the final nudge I needed and I decided to take up the challenge. However, after chatting to my girls about it we decided that I shouldn't make it a fully factual biographical book because they didn't want to have all their experiences catalogued in black and white for all and sundry to read.

So we decided on a compromise, to write a work of fiction but incorporating many of our life experiences and stories into it too. My initial plan was to write it via two of the main characters journal entries, alternating a teen and adult perspective of what was happening. I had written a good portion of the first part of the novel before deciding that I wanted to change how I was writing it to allow for more flexibility and a way to incorporate other characters more vividly with their different perspectives.  
So I have binned my initial draft and instead of alternate diary entries from the beginning of the story leading up to the present I decided that I want to start by working backwards from where we are now via reminiscences, conversations with others, journals and utilise using different characters internal thoughts and feelings.

My problem?  I just can't decide how to begin!  I am such a novice to it all and worry. Am I doing this right, will it engage the reader? What if I start but then get stuck and can't finish?  What if it's rubbish? Why should I bother? I know I am being silly after all how can I know anything unless I give it a go ~ right?  I am sure that once I get started it will begin to flow, I will be able to get my head down and won't want to stop until I reach the end ~ after all I am something of a control freak and can't bear unfinished business.  For me now, the tricky part is to face down my fear of re~starting this project and to commit myself again by putting pen to paper and starting afresh.  

So I procrastinate, I have made notes, decided on a title and done a hundred other unnecessary alternatives ~ I have many multicoloured doodles in my pad, designed the layout of my lounge once we have the log burner installed, formatted menus for family dinners, planned Christmas presents (I kid you not!) but as yet have not opened my fresh pad and started to write.
So, how do I break this fear, fear of doing something I have never undertaken before.  Fear of getting it wrong, of no~one wanting to read my story?

Any writers out there who can give this novice some writing tips and advice would be hugely appreciated.  I have decided to give myself a deadline to get started ~ I am going away to the peace and quiet of our coastal caravan next week and have packed my notebooks and pens to take with me. I HOPE that I can break this fear and start again, somehow putting the vision of what is in my head down in print on paper.

Watch this space...