By nature, writers spend a lot of time in their own heads. I'm one of those writers who takes this to a dark place. I'm overly analytical, highly critical, and I've learned that I'm getting in my own way when it comes to creating stories. My newest project is a perfect example of how I spend so much of my time being afraid to just be ridiculous.
As I've mentioned, I've been struggling with my current manuscript. It's one of those stories where I have to bleed over every line and I'm soaked in sweat before even one more paragraph is completed. Every time I try to think about it, I change my mind about 10 times and end up right back where I started.
I found myself taking another look at different projects instead, anything to distract me from this nightmare of a story. And I found myself drawn to the same project again and again, something I started working on before the Deck of Lies. I realized that I have a full outline and character sheet for the book, not to mention 5 completed chapters. Why did I ever stop working on this in the first place?
Because, I finally realized, I was afraid. The story isn't my usual genre. There's no mystery in it. If I had to call it anything, I'd say it was a fantasy. And that's different, for me. There's even some folklore in the story. Well, a lot of folklore. And other mythical elements that I'm not always comfortable writing about.
I had another chapter written before I even knew it, then another. And I realized that it's okay for me to feel a little ridiculous about what I'm writing -- and I'm fine with being ridiculous when it's coming to me so easily. Being a writer means being uninhibited. It means not worrying about what other people think, and sometimes it means you can't even worry about what you think. If the words are coming, write them down. Write the story that comes to you when it comes, and don't be afraid of it.
I have to tell myself this all the time, and it bears repeating: Don't think so much. Just write. That's when good stuff happens.