About 4 months ago, I bought an author bundle. It included ebooks, discount services, master classes, and pre-recorded webinars. I downloaded all the books, read them, took notes if they held nuggets of information, then deleted the files from my computer. None of the services were ones I use. I’m on the last master class, and about halfway through. Out of 20 classes, I got something useful from maybe 4 or 5 of them. Not that I know everything, but what they taught didn’t apply to what I write, or I already knew the information, or it was about process, and their suggestions don’t align with my process. They aren’t “bad”, just not what I need.
As the days go by, I can’t exactly put my finger on what happens to the time. I know my energy is affected by the endless days and nights of heat. Though I’m starting my day 2 hours earlier, my energy sags before my to-do list is done. So when I pick up my pen to work on the last few scenes of “Alphabet City”, it’s like I’m swimming through a bog. Images flash on my movie screen. I scratch out a few sentences, which seem to take an extreme amount of effort, then I look at how much of the page I have left to fill.
The other piece I noticed that gets in the way of finishing this project are the bits of information drilled out in those few master classes. What is the internal and external conflicts? What is the purpose of each scene? What is the “dark moment”? Is the ending satisfactory for the reader? How does setting play a role in the story? What details are worth mentioning and which ones should be left out? Is the dialogue different enough between the characters for the reader to know who is speaking if I don’t use dialogue tags?
It was all good information. While listening to the classes, I thought about my published titles and mentally checked off whether or not they met the criteria emphasized in the class. Nothing stood out. I managed to write all my previous titles with little difficulty. Only in the last year have I struggled with completing my manuscripts. I know why that is and have actively worked to correct that mental block. In each of my books, there have been a few things I’ve learned. For example, I didn’t know I had a love affair with “that.” Once I realize the issue, I correct it, and keep that in mind when I write the next book. While the information in the master classes is useful, I now need to overcome the critic who has even more craft “rules” to shout at me as I scribble the story. I think this falls under “analysis paralysis:” a massive amount of information that prevents action taken.
I know I can add/change/delete once the first draft is done. The next few days are predicted to be cooler. Tomorrow I’m meeting with a fellow author, and I’m looking forward to the shared creative space. If I can ignore the critic long enough to finish this story, then I’ll have another chunk of words on which to build my writing resilience. What has gotten in the way when you’ve tried to finish a project? How did you overcome that obstacle?