Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Performance Anxiety

If you've done any kind of sport, you know what I'm talking about here. I'm talking about that crazy nervousness that sets in before you compete, before you cross that Start Line or enter that stage. Ever been so scared of performing your best that you freeze? I'm right there.

In my writing, I mean.

Immortal, Beloved is at 70,000 words. (That's {hold on, lemme open my word doc and check to be exact, here} 239 pages.) I'm a mere 20,000 words away from my finish line...and for the life of me I can't seem to move forward.

Typically the endings fly off my fingertips. I can push through 50 darn near polished pages in a few days to reach The End.

But that's not happening this go round. It's not that I don't know what needs to happen, because I do. I know how and where every single loose end is going to tie up. I know where my hero and heroine will have their black moment. I have the scene in my head. I know who is going to die in the final battle and who will live and who will be changed forever.

But I can't seem to write the darn thing. I'm having major performance anxiety.

Yesterday I chopped apart the pages I wrote for Nano and rewrote them. I finally reached Chapter 17: The Unwritten Blank Page. But before moving forward I had to know if my last 50 pages were up to snuff. (Oh, I forgot about that song. Snuff, that is. It's one of the only Slipknot songs I lurve. Check it out.) So I sent my last 50 to my crit partner.

Oh, it was bad.

She'll say it wasn't, but it was. It was exactly what I needed to hear because, come on, really, I knew deep down it wasn't good enough.

And now I still can't move forward. I've got to delve back in and make those 50 pages shine. Now, though, I'm not sure if my lack of drive to move forward is because of the way I edit and write, needing to perfect everything before I write something new, or if it's due to this darn Performance Anxiety.

What about you? Do endings fly off your fingers? Are they the hardest for you to write? Do you get the same nervousness I'm talking about when you're about to write your climax? Have you written The End yet? I wanna know...

5 comments:

Kaitlyn said...

Aw, I'm sorry to hear about your anxiety over the ending. =( If there is anything I can do to help, let me know.

I usually get that anxiety when I go back and start editing. I'll think to myself "maybe this is horrible, maybe this will never be good enough, maybe it's impossible to edit" Once I get through the first initial edit, then I'm fine, but that first one that I do on my own before I send it off to any crit partners kills me.

Aubree said...

one time my friend and i wrote a book but she lost interest near the end so i finished it all myself. i remember doing it pretty quickly.
the first book i wrote myself that i finished a month or so ago, i'd been like you for a while and knew what to do, just couldn't do it. then all of a sudden i wrote the last few chapters in pretty much one sitting and finally got to type 'the end.' twas fantastic feeling!

you can do it! i have faith! and i just realized december is almost over and then we're officially in the year of dark tide rising's release! if i'm that excited to buy it i can't imagine how you're feeling!

Shallee said...

Yup, I always get performance anxiety when I'm about to hit my climax. Every moment in my book has led to this point, and I sit there for days, sometimes, staring at my document, terrified to write a word. Because...what if I ruin it? What if I can't pull through and make this worth it? Then I have to take a deep breath, and write it, crap or not. At least in writing, you get do-overs. :)

Good luck. I hope you can make your ending just how you want it!

A. J. Larrieu said...

This happens to me all the time. I heard it called "i-suck-itis" once, and I thought that fit perfectly. I sit down to write, and my brain pummels me with whiny insecurities and I freeze up. My newest cure is to take a break and write a "secret project," something I honest-to-God never plan on publishing, or even showing to anyone. I just let myself have fun with it, and I don't worry about plot holes or continuity or whether or not my dialogue is believable. It unblocks my brain.

Good luck with your ending. I know you're going to nail it!

Kristin Miller said...

Thanks so much for the support and encouragement ladies! Reading your responses really made my morning.

Yes! The year of Dark Tide Rising's releease! Can't wait...

"I-suck-itis". Oh yeah. I've got it bad and I'm still looking for the cure. :)