Monday, September 29, 2008

Just Do It—Get Vulnerable

Creative Procrastination only takes me so far. At some point, I need to take action, or the decision will be made for me. And then it's a decision made in weakness, not strength.

These moments come into the lives of writers on a regular basis.

One of those moments occurred the first time I sat down to write and transfer the brilliant, fascinating story in my head to paper. It looked wonderful—because I still had it in my head. Not the paper. My moment of truth came when, after learning a bit more about the craft of writing, I re-read the thing. Ouch.

Do you remember the first time you submitted your prose to a critique partner to read? Did you do it with confidence or trepidation?

The first time I entered a writing contest, I was so green I was still sticky. I knew I had a winner and some lucky duck was about to discover me. In the two short months after I entered, my learning curve shot to the moon and I recognized my dewy-faced (if not snot-nosed) entry for what it was. I would have been supremely disappointed if I had won. My faith in the organization sponsoring the contest, and what it could teach me, would have plummeted.

I needn't have worried.

The next writing contest I entered, I placed second and felt validated. (I take my victories where I can find them.)

So. Now. There's this little short story contest. The deadline is tomorrow. They've asked for people not to wait until the last minute.

And here I sit.

I'm waiting for this blast of brilliance. For the words to plow into my head that will weave a stronger character arc and maximize the danger. It probably isn't gonna happen.

But I also know this. I must enter that little contest. I need to exercise my vulnerability muscle or I'll lose it.

Such is the life of a writer.

CR: Still reading Life Expectancy.

Working on: Moving back to normal after two weeks worth of company and four days worth of flu.

It's all better with friends.

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