Thanks to Alex J. Cavanaugh for organizing and hosting the Insecure Writers Support Group every month. Go to his blog to see the other participants, and understand what the group is all about (well, we writers basically get together and support each other through our posts and comments).
Here’s my post for the support group:
For the last week, I’ve written zero words on my #WIP. Zip.Nada. Zilch.
Yesterday, I wrote about a 100 words. After a whole day of showing up at the page, mind you.
I know what happens next, so that’s not the issue. I know the characters, so that’s not the issue either.
Or maybe that’s where the problem lies—I know what my characters are about to do next.
I know I now have to write about the sort of thing that would make me extremely squeamish and horrified in real life– and my way of writing is to be it, be the character and write what comes—and at this point in the novel, I’m terrified to be the character. I can be that character for the span of a flash fiction (those who have read A to Z Stories of Life and Death would know what I’m talking about), not a novel– but the problem is I’ve now signed up for it– and I’ll have to go through it.
And I’ve got confirmation from very good quarters (Anton Chekov, no less) that it is the right thing to do:
the writer is not a pastry chef, he is not a cosmetician and not an entertainer. He is a man bound by contract to his sense of duty and to his conscience. Once he undertakes this task, it is too late for excuses, and no matter how horrified, he must do battle with his squeamishness and sully his imagination with the grime of life. He is just like any ordinary reporter. What would you say if a newspaper reporter as a result of squeamishness or a desire to please his readers were to limit his descriptions to honest city fathers, high-minded ladies, and virtuous railroadmen? To a chemist there is nothing impure on earth. The writer should be just as objective as the chemist; he should liberate himself from everyday subjectivity and acknowledge that manure piles play a highly respectable role in the landscape and that evil passions are every bit as much a part of life as good ones.
Wish me luck, people.