Friday, July 13, 2007

The Muddle of the Middle

I love to write. I love jotting down story ideas, coming up with 'what ifs', researching, plotting, and the process of just putting words to the page. I even love editing and revising. (I know, strange me!) But I have hit a point in each of the stories I have written where I panic.

It's the middle.

I hate middles. Beginnings are like the rush of a new relationship. Everything about your love object is charming and perfect. Endings are like the solid footing of a secure relationship. But the middle. Sigh. That's when you realize that this relationship that seemed so effortless, so natural at the start is going to take work.

Now, that's not a bad thing. I'm a hard worker, both in my writing and in my relationships. (I'm married to the same man for nearly 19 years. I know relationships take work.)

Middles are just a scary place for me when my internal doubter rears her ugly head. I worry about finishing. I fret about the plot choices I've made. I slow down and don't meet my daily/weekly goals and that starts the cycle all over again.

I have learned to accept this little inner voice and name her. She is fear and once I acknowledge her, she seems to have less and less power over me.

Now, I am reaching the middle of "Heal Thyself." I haven't reached my writing goals for it over the past 2 weeks. This time, I'm giving myself permission to relax. I'm writing some poetry and catching up on owed critiques in my critique circle. And I think I know how to procede without having a panic attack.

OK--I'm changing the metaphor now. When I start a story, I spend time developing a roadmap (an outline) for the project. But I only fill in the outer details, the first set of directions. (Like when I ask someone for directions to an unfamiliar place. I can't focus on more than 3 steps, so I concentrate on those, then smile and nod, get to step 3 and ask another person for directions from there.)

I've gotten as far as I have detailed directions in the WIP. So now, I need to fill in the map and return to outlining more fully.

Thank you to PBW whose workshop post today got me thinking about this.

1 comment:

  1. The middle can be kind of deep, no shore in sight, no sandy floor to walk on... depth and darkness beneath you... but it's just another part of the whole, an important part that gives meaning to the beginning and the end.

    CONGRATULATIONS on the award at Shameless Lions Writing Circle!

    Scarlett & Viaggiatore