Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Terrifying



I'm currently reading Traveling With Pomegranates by Sue Monk Kidd and Ann Kidd Taylor. The book is nonfiction- a mother/daughter account of writing and traveling. The first part of the book takes place before Kidd published Secret Life of Bees. I've only read a few pages, but already this passage jumped out at me:


I felt like my writing had gone to seed. A strange fallowness had set in. I could not seem to write in the same way. I felt I'd come to some conclusion in my creative life and something new wanted to break through. I had crazy intimations about writing a novel, about which I knew more or less nothing. Frankly, the whole thing terrified me.


I think most of us start off our novel writing knowing virtually nothing about the craft. And looking back, beginning the endeavor was terrifying. In fact, staring at the first blank page as I began my second book was also pretty petrifying. I'm sure I'll feel the same way when I start Book #3.

What about you? Was starting your novel terrifying? Or is another stage of the process scarier? Querying? Finally seeing your book on the shelf?

13 comments:

Amalia T. said...

I'm totally terrified of actually getting a call from an agent. Anticipating and Hoping and Praying, and also QUAKING IN MY BOOTS. That's the scariest part for me.

Dangerous With a Pen said...

It's all scary to me, but I haven't finished yet, so I haven't even gotten to the really scary stuff like... SUBMISSION. So far the blank page at the beginning was pretty scary. Oh, and the moments where I've fallen out of love with my WiPs and just put it down for a bit to hope that the thrill comes back. :/

Jill said...

I get terrified BEFORE I sit down to begin a new story. Once I type that first word, fear goes away (and is replaced by frustration, impatience, and many other things!)

Aubrie said...

The querying is terrifying for me! Especially opening all of those emails from agents hoping it's not a rejection.

Rick Daley said...

The scariest part for me was finishing the first draft, and then finding out I would have to re-write it.

Once I started the re-write, I realized how much I have progressed as a writer and a storyteller. What came out was 1,000% better.

Caroline Tung Richmond said...

The hardest part for me was querying. Eek! It was so scary to finally put my book out there for agents to see. I was afraid to check my email most of the time! Haha.

L. T. Host said...

Definitely rejection. I sort of love querying, but I'm terrified every time I get an email that it will be a no. And it usually is. :)

Bane of Anubis said...

The middle. Starting and finishing and revising I can do, it's figuring out how to crunch those abs that gets me frustrated.

Elspeth Antonelli said...

I find finishing the most terrifying - saying that's the best I can do and now it's time to start querying. I always think it can be better. Sooner or later you have to trust yourself and believe what you've written is worthwhile.

Shannon O'Donnell said...

yes! Starting was truly terrifying. There is nothing warm and fuzzy about blank pages. Ugh!

Cort Ellyn said...

The scariest part? Definitely that first page or two. Once, long ago, that used to be the funnest part, then I learned that the opening page is so important b/c it makes the first impression on the reader, so I think I doubt myself or at least every word I write, until I'm on page three or so. :( The best part is the editing. Whacking away at something you know is terrible and see it become, well, less terrible. :D

Steph Damore said...

Bring it on. I'm not scared of any of it! (And I'll just keep telling myself so...)

Libbie H. said...

I have a bit too much confidence for my own good, and have never felt any fear over my writing (yet). I've felt convinced of my inevitable success, but this conviction is tempered with a smart attitude about improvement. I am NEVER done improving. I can always do better. Always. I adore critiques, the harsher the better; I love every one of the rejections I get.

But I've always been a person who loves the struggle as much as -- or maybe more than -- I love the reward. It's fun. Getting there is a good 90% of the joy for me. So because every step along the way is another step of "getting there," I haven't yet felt like sweating it.

Lucky me.

That being said, I am working on a literary novel right now that is tough. I haven't outlined this one, and it's a story that's very near to my heart. I want to do it full justice, so progress is slow and careful. I haven't experienced any fear yet, but the challenge is bigger than it's ever been before!