Making a goal to finish three books this year is a slightly daunting task at times. It shouldn’t be quite as difficult as it sounds; all three books have been started, and two of the three books are at 100+ pages. I know where the story is, and I know where it’s going. There is no long thought processes left, no story boarding, no major plot points still in development. I have even planned what I will say when the book hits the best seller list and I am seated next to a perky morning talk show host addressing my millions of devoted fans. All the work is done save for the writing. And therein lays the problem. I need to be, bum in chair, hands on keyboard, writing away. Unfortunately it is difficult to write when you may be part fish.
Obviously, I’m not really a mermaid; I wouldn’t be blogging if I were a mermaid. While I imagine a mermaid would have the brain capacity and imagination that comes with the human half, the electrical connection to allow access to a computer and some sort of internet connection would be a potential disaster. Granted, I would love to read the blog of a mermaid, but the chances of it turning into the short memoir of a fried fish would be too great.
I suspect I am part fish due to my inability to concentrate for long periods of time. To put it simply, I am attracted to shiny objects, and flit about in my tank looking at whatever attracts my attention at the time. For example, within the first paragraph of writing this entry, I completed the following tasks:
Write to do list for day
Fill water bottle
Did “fact check” on fish attraction to shiny objects
Danced to cheesy 90’s song
Changed music again
Tweeted about writing and doing laundry
Took turn in Words with Friends
Giggled when only available word to play was “Shit”
Trimmed split end randomly noticed in ponytail
My only defense to the large number of distractions is being shockingly fast at completing menial tasks when I do them in the middle of my writing time. What would be better of course would be blocking them out entirely until my writing time was finished.
I’m not sure how I became someone so completely unfocused. Is it a case of undiagnosed Attention Deficit Disorder? Could I be a product of a culture that offers instant gratification, making me incapable of waiting for anything? Is it possible I am simply too busy to work on a novel? Sadly, no. I’m fairly certain none of these excuses are even close to correct.
Simply put, my distraction is a product of my fear. Completing my first novel was exhilarating. It was wonderful to finally take the step and put the words on paper (or screen as is appropriate here). Writing my first query letters was terrifying. Now, as I wait to hear from potential agents, I’m almost too afraid to continue writing.
I’m allowing myself to be blocked with worry. After all, what if no one signs me? Ever. What if I receive the worst kind of rejection letter; a personal message telling me that not only does my story stink, but my writing is ill thought out, grammatically grotesque, and derivative of the contents of a toddler’s diaper?
I’m well aware of my own faults. I know my writing is not perfect. I have no illusion that I wrote the next great American novel. I wanted to share a story, hopefully one people will be able to connect with on some level.
While I wait, writing something new may be the best plan. Maybe I should finish my other stories because they will actually be better. Not everyone is able to publish their first novel ever written, so I should have other works ready to try publishing as well.
Unfortunately, knowing what causes my limitations does not erase them. For now, I suppose I’ll do what I can do. I’ll place my bum in the chair, my hands on the keyboard, and attempt to put the blinders on to block the shiny objects.