I recently got overwhelmed thinking about writing my second novel. It seems so daunting... almost like labor the 2nd time around. The first time you go into labor, you're flying blind. Even if you have head knowledge about "first this will probably happen, then I'll feel something like that," etc., it is still all only a theoretical understanding. But after that first time, there is more awareness of what it takes to actually birth a child.
Now that I've done it once, I'm more aware of the cost- the difficulty of actually following through and finishing an entire novel. I know approximately how much time it will take. I know what "writing 75,000 words" really means. I know about the fast-and-furious times, and the slow, wish-I-didn't-have-to-edit times.
The difference is that, once you're in labor, you really can't stop it; the baby is coming. But once you start writing your second novel, you can procrastinate like wild and opt not to birth the baby. I don't want to opt for that, but right now, any writing at all is taking consistent acts of the will to get over that "I don't wanna" hump. The anticipation, and the analysis of it, has led to stagnancy in my writing.
Today I had an epiphany. I realized that part of why I've been putting off writing lately is because of a self-created pressure to say something brilliant-- the idea that I need to come up with a stellar plot, with cleverly-built theologically significant underpinnings, that will support a whole novel.
Well, yes. And no. If this particular story that I'm working on only wants to become a 20,000 novella, is that OK? Yes. Giving myself permission to just write- not "only write x#-word-novels"- felt very freeing this morning. Perhaps it will give other writers out there a bit of encouragement too.
And finally- as a confessed lazy procrastinator, I love this Geoff Dyer quote: "Have more than one idea on the go at any one time. If it's a choice between writing a book and doing nothing, I'll always choose the latter. It's only if I have an idea for two books that I choose one rather than the other. I always have to feel like I'm bunking off from something."
Which means I need to come up with another idea, so I can "bunk off" from one of them. What do you need to do today to get remotivated and moving with writing?