Thursday, September 22, 2011

Do You Suffer From Writing Commitment-Phobia?

From the first time I read Judy Blume's hilarious Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing back in third grade, I knew that if Judy actually got paid to make up stories for a living, that's exactly what I wanted to do.

But as much as I dreamed about writing novels, I didn't make any serious progress until 2006. Sure, I had plenty of "valid" excuses (I'm a journalist, so I already write all day long, I'd rather hang out with my friends than glue myself to my computer all weekend, et. al.) not to make any real progress. But when January 1 inevitably rolled around once again, I still was majorly disappointed that I wasn't really any closer to my goal. So I set yet another goal and hoped for change in the new year.

What I eventually realized, however, was that I was rather commitment-phobic about the whole process. The reason that I wasn't making any progress is because I'd failed to get in the proper mindset. See, actually committing to one novel idea (and seeing it through) can be a scary proposition. In fact, you find yourself (or at least, I did) asking the following progress-hindering questions:

*What if I really get going with this idea and end up not liking it 37,563 words down the road?
*What if the market really changes in the midst of writing and my once-phenomenal idea seems dated?
*What if NO ONE on Planet Earth thinks my book is the proverbial best thing since sliced bread?

What if? What if? What if? I guess what I eventually figured out that not putting pen to paper and giving it a real shot would be much, much worse. There will always be a million reasons to convince yourself not to write what's been on your heart, but making a bold attempt to do so will at least give you an opportunity to say "I gave it my best shot."

And for me, my best shot led to the publication of two novels I still adore to pieces. :)

Need further inspiration on how to overcome your writing commitment-phobia? Check out this fantastic article from Huffington Post writer Arielle Ford, and trust me, you'll be inspired.


  1. I've never thought of it as a commitment issue, mine is more fear of not being good at it. Although, the way you describe it, I may also have a commitment issue . I have been working on my WIP pretty consistently the past 2 weeks despite my commitment phobia/fear. I hope working on it becomes habit :)

    Do you have any advice on choosing how many POVs to have? My natural inclination is to be 1st person w/1 POV but sometimes while in plotting (trying it out) I get this feeling that 2 POVs may be a good   possibility too &  I'm torn. I'm not intending to write a straight romance, I'm going for more chick lit/rom-com,  so I'm not sure about hero/heroine POVs. I also thought of doing antagonist/protagonist POVs but I. Dont.Know how to decide? And that's also easy means for procrastination. Advice?

  2. I think the number of POVs is really up to what serves the story best. I chose to have several in my books because I thought it would be interesting to get several different "takes" on different events that play out. There's advantages to first person, namely that you really get to know that character and his/her perspective on things. But you can also be more objective with a third person. Really, it's a matter of personal choice and what you feel will be the most successful way to tell the story. I know you'll find exactly what works for you...and if not, try it a couple of different ways until it feels right. :)

    Keep writing, my friend,

  3. Thanks. I may have to try a few different things before i know,I wish there was a clear cut answer.
    Can you have hero/heroine POVs without it being strictly romance?

  4. Sure, why not? I think anything is possible if you make it work. :)

  5. My commitment problem is that every time I do commit to an idea - not just for writing, for anything - I have a tendency to either (1) leap ahead of myself and have it fall apart from lack of preparation; (2) over-prepare until it's no fun and I'm sick to death of said idea; or (3) get prepared too early and end up starting a whole new plan while waiting for this one to go into action.

    Yeah, my strategy could use some work :P

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