I stare into space imagining a scene.
It’s a scene of one of my story ideas.
I get so excited that I start to brainstorm and plot my novel.
I realize my idea doesn’t have a story arc.
My characters are boring.
The plot is cliche.
Another story idea will pop in my head. But then the cycle just goes on and on.
Another story idea, another brainstorming, and then I end up not writing the story because it just doesn’t make sense. I can’t tie the loose ends.
It’s disappointing and frustrating.
I’ve started to think maybe I’m not cut out for this.
Maybe I should forget about writing stories.
Maybe I’m just not good enough. How dare me to dream about becoming an author.
But I know I still have that dream in my heart.
To hold my own book in my own hands.
To see my name on the book cover.
To tell my stories.
I couldn’t give up.
I had another story idea simmering in my head and like before, I can’t tie the loose ends. So out of frustration, I posted in the Facebook group for writers that I’m a member of.
“Do you know every detail and beat of your story before you write? I’m creating an outline for my first novel and I’m almost wanting to give up because there are details I just can’t figure out!”
One of the wonderful writers there made a comment and told me, “No. I outline but I don’t know the details. Find your own way by trial and error.”
And that’s when it hit me.
This is why I’ve been so stumped for so long.
I couldn’t get my stories to flow because I didn’t want to go through trial and error.
What trial and error means
Trial and error means hard work.
It means writing down your story now, and then figuring out in the editing process about the loose ends.
I was trying to perfect my plot during the planning stage instead of just starting to write.
Don’t get me wrong. I know planning and outlining are important before you write. But there is beauty in writing the scenes in your head, rather than trying so hard to know everything from the start.
Because at the start, you may not know all the details yet.
When I started writing scenes, new plot ideas came to me. The ideas would flow as soon as you start writing because you get to familiarize yourself with your characters, the plot, your story world.
The problem was, I was trying to have a perfect story outline and when I hit a dead end, I scrape the story idea altogether thinking I can’t write a story.
I realized I had to cut myself some slack. This is my first attempt to write a novel anyway. (Okay, not the first. The first one I wrote years ago totally sucked.)
And I don’t want my new story to suck, too.
But I realized that I wouldn’t be able to mold the story if I don’t start writing it.
Fear of Editing
Editing is a lot of hard work. I wanted to do less of it.
But, let’s face it. Developmental editing is a must. Especially for new authors.
I didn’t want to do the hard work
There. I said it.
Writing and editing is a lot of hard work.
I was afraid to go through all these hard work, become emotionally vested in a project for months, and then only to realize my book is crap.
But I needed to get over that mindset.
What I’m doing instead
I am embracing trial and error.
I am still a great believer of outlines. But I am not giving up on my story just because the details aren’t complete. I have something to start with and I’m going to go with that.
I am accepting the fact that I will have to repeatedly revise my story.
I’m blogging about this journey to keep myself accountable.
Despite my fears and doubts, I still want to write stories.
Yes, I may end up writing crap. But at least I know I was able to commit to a project.
At least I’ve learned a ton about storytelling and maybe by then I can attempt to write again and strive to become better.