On Friday I paid to have a man throw me to the ground repeatedly. On Saturday I gained several new bruises failing to dodge the blows of nearly 30 attackers, and on Sunday it was stick fighting followed by an elbow to my chin while wrestling for my life (and submission). Does life get any better than that?
Turns out the answer is yes because attending VISS 2013 (The Vancouver International Swordplay Symposium) also meant that I did all of the above with old and new friends, and got to attend amazing lectures that inspired me to get off my procrastinating, self-critical butt and write for God’s sake, write!
While I have been writing a bit more lately, I still find myself doubting my work, and suffering from a lack of consistancy. I know I could do more. I want to do more, and my weekend of bouting, bruises and education (Is there a “b” word for education? Google and my vocabulary failed me.) have provided inspiration and a burst of confidence which I intend to make use of before the doubt comes back to whisper that I’m not good enough. (I think adrenaline suppresses the part of my brain where doubt lives. I love the hands-shaking, can’t-stop-talking-about-it buzz I get after a hard workout, performing on stage; or, talking to a large group. After a wrestling match I could take on the world!)
Now, fresh from a weekend of adrenaline and inspiration I’m ready to attack a novel idea that I’ve been playing with for quite some time. The idea makes me gush with enthusiasm every time I think about it, but I haven’t taken action on the project for fear that I need to do more research to do the project justice. But, after some great advice from friends (and fellow writers) I’m going to give it a shot and accept that, on a project of this scale, it is perfectly acceptable to keep researching while writing and let the novel change with what I discover. After all, I know the basics of the characters and their lives. (They’ve been telling me their stories for nearly two years.) I’ve done some of the background research, and I know where to go when I get stuck. So now, before the whispers take over, it’s get-of-my-butt time.
I’ve also decided that it’s ok for me to love more than one novel project at a time and that when I get stuck on one if I have somewhere else to turn maybe I won’t feel so intimidated by each project alone…something to think about.
PS. I can already hear the whispers of doubt. I’m hoping the voices of the characters rise up and kick the ass of the doubt. “Use a hammerlock! Go for his legs! Submit damn, you submit!”
PPS. There needs to be more random wrestling sessions in my life.
When I read, authors give me the gift of characters they have invented. The characters are a gift that keeps on giving as I imagine their lives beyond the stories told by the author. And sometimes, when an author really captures me, it isn’t even the main characters that grab my attention and imagination but a secondary character that feels so alive that I want to know more. Choose a secondary or tertiary character from your favourite book. What makes them stand out? Why are they in the story? How were they effected by the circumstances of the story you read. Then ask yourself what happened to that character the day before or after they appeared in the narrative you’re familiar with. Step into the world of the character and spend twenty minutes exploring their unique life. Happy writing.