Giving It Away

About six months ago, my therapist looked at me and said, “You give away your power a lot, don’t you?”

“Um,” I said, and then babbled out something that got me a skeptical look.

Honestly, I didn’t have a good answer for her then, but six months on, I do now.

Yeah, I do. All the time.

Just writing this post is hard because I want to talk about what I accomplished in writing this week, but a part of me is saying it’s dumb and who’s going to listen? Or the flip side — oh shit, what if someone does listen but I say it wrong and they get the wrong advice and make the wrong decisions? I think that’s worse.

So anyway, let me tell you about what I accomplished in writing this week.

Aside from blogging pretty consistently all week, I dissolved a knot in my WIP. It’s been sitting there, angry and annoying, an encounter between characters, but I couldn’t really get it to sit right and rather than actually work on it I did everything but.

And I was afraid that once again I’d started something I wasn’t going to be able to finish, which meant I’d screwed up.

(On the plus side, I think we’ve got, like, 24 new jars of jam and I organized all of our clothes.)

But back to what my therapist said. Because every roadbump in a novel is just that and every author just needs to learn to get out their mother-lovin’ AWD vehicle and charge over or around it. And man, I know that. It is giving away my power to say I don’t.

And I know the way out of this problem and it’s to apply butt to seat and write.

It’s not the easy, shallows-type writing where I can see the bottom and know where the ship is headed, no. It’s a very specific type of writing that requires me to clear distractions, set a mood, and go into deep wavelengths (what programmers and musicians call “flow”).

But I know what it is because I’ve done it, like, a million times before. The moment I did that? It worked out. It took ten minutes to dissolve. And now I’m back to my WIP. It’s humming. I know where to take it next.

I saw John Scalzi speak a couple months back, and he said something about how all writers have gifts. This one, I guess, is mine. But when I go too far away from it, I forget. And it’s easy to give that away when you have kids and a job and a husband and family and Christmas and oh yeah therapy sessions because of all these things.

I forget I just need to clear the decks, focus on the WIP, and let my subconscious do its thing.

Part of doing the work is discovery, though. And maybe part of 2019 is learning not to give away so much.