Any writing project provides new learnings – on how we write, and on what stops us writing. I haven’t been in such a continuous cycle of self-education and improvements since…oh…my school years probably.
Having come out of NaNoWriMo, and after fighting hard-drive crashes and bush fires (okay, the last not literally) to save my NaNovel, I’ve had some interesting learnings also. But these were tempered with some catchup reading.
I was reading October’s edition of The Writer magazine yesterday. This is the American writing magazine. I also get the two writing magazines that come out of the U.K. Australia doesn’t have a writing magazine as such, so I live in gratitude that I have entered an age of digital publication. I subscribe and pay for digital versions of all three magazines via various apps.
The Writer comes on the zinio app – and this app has a feature that amazon’s kindle app doesn’t have – you can read the text of any article as plain text – and send it to someone as an email. I’ve long been frustrated with the Kindle app, which doesn’t allow you to select or copy any text from books and magazines you may be reading on there. The amount of times I have wanted to share – with myself – certain tips, and not been able to. But on Zinio, you can.
So, October’s edition of The Writer has an article entitled “Set Your Writing Free” by Craig English. It’s about our writing demons, which masquerade as delay, procrastination, writing block symptoms and avoidance tactics in our writing.
Craig English suggests there are two types of demons –
- Original Demons – these are the synaptic discords which have lived in us probably from childhood. Things like the big FAF (Fear of Failure).
- Intimate Demons – these are relevant to the work project at hand. We don’t have them all the time, but strike them according to the project need.
English’s article goes on to suggest how to deal with these – Original Demons need to be sat down with a cup of tea and biscuits, got acquainted with; intimate demons need to be discovered – wrestled with to get them to reveal their secrets. He doesn’t state it as such, but giving the demon, once recognised, a humourous name, helps immensely (so I’m borrowing some of his too).
Read the full article for further understanding. The below is a small extract from this article, naming some of the demons many of us may be entertaining –
Here is a necessarily incomplete list of what Original Demons say:
• You have no talent.
• You’re not qualified.
• Your mother might read this.
• You can’t face rejection.
• You can’t face success.
• You can’t bear sitting alone with yourself.
• You are a fraud.
• You’re not worthy of an audience.
•- (fill in your own)
Here are tips for uncovering an Intimate Demon infestation:
• Notice which scenes/sections you are avoiding writing.
• Look for characters who lack fire.
• Look for clichés.
• When you read your own writing, notice which bits you have to read through twice.
• Notice which parts of a project invoke your avoidance techniques.
What are My Demons?
So, after reading the article it became more obvious to me what I had been struggling with within the NaNoWriMo project. These are things I had vocalised in several posts over the last month, as I wrote, but the article puts it more succinctly. Mine are, if I think about it –
- FAF Fairy – Fear of Failure (who hasn’t this particular demon?)
- Fraudalingus – I constantly feel a fraud, because I’m not published yet. But once published, I’m pretty certain that will not go away.
- PubeNessa– Public Nakedness Alert – I don’t want you looking at me (or my work)
- Hairy Monkey Butler – the inner critic and perfectionist (it used to be a cat, but these things change over time). Also can be called NoGoe – Not Good Enough.
- Creativity Cod-piece – I like to keep my first drafts all nice and creative and virginal. I have this idiotic belief that creative artistry shouldn’t be messed about with eg. by something like revision and editing. I protect my first drafts with my dying breath, and a cod-piece.
- Anal-Retentive Analysis – I like my characters to think.a.little.too.much. Too much self-analysis and angst, and the pace really slows down. But boy do I love to character-think. And I can analyse all day long – hence my own love for research, prepare and organise my data. I should have been a librarian (in fact, I actually look like a stereotype of one).
These were discovered during writing “Blue Popcorn” this month. I recognised them at the time, and am doing my best to train myself into improving upon the problems –
- Sex-Scene Discomfort – self-explanatory. I don’t like writing these.
- Action-Scene Avoidance – yeah, I don’t know what I was thinking of, either – having thrillers without action seems a little, er, odd.
So, I succeeded at my goals for the month, which was basically to complete 50K plus through the NaNoWriMo challenge.
I’d like to thank all the people who have ‘liked’ my NaNoWriMo Complete post of yesterday, and for the comments also. I have some cleanup work to do for the rest of the week, and I’ve treated myself to a couple of new writing software installs, which will hopefully help to quicken the revision process.
By Sunday I want to have a few things in place –
- My new writing goals for December – because of the time of year, I imagine these will be a little less intense for many of us ROWers.
- The majority of my online Christmas shopping done.
I hope that the other participants in ROW80 have had an equally successful month in writing and other goals. You can read about them via this linklist found at the ROW80 Blog.
Image credit: The demon used here is Doug’s Writing Demon. You can find Doug Dworkin’s blog at http://dougdworkin.com/monsters/2010/03/writing-demons/. I was so inspired by this, that I am about to get out my daughter’s plasticine and create myself a little desktop demon too.