Friday, November 8, 2013

Six Tricks to Try When Strangled by Fear

Please welcome guest blogger Bonnie Doran!

All too often, we writers are strangled by fear, terrified of typing our story. Let me tell you about a few of mine and a few tricks to overcome them:

  • Fear of the blank page: I stare at the blank page, unable to write the next few words or start a new chapter.
Trick: Stop in the middle of a chapter, a scene, or even a sentence. You’ll have to finish it. Who knows? Maybe you can write a bit more.

  • Fear of the horrible draft: If you’re a perfectionist like me, you cringe at wrong words, bad grammar, and the places you need more research.
Trick: Remember that a rough draft is supposed to be as rough as an unpaved road. If it’s not down on paper, you can’t revise it.

To be honest, writing a really rough draft is a problem for me. I have to correct my typos. As I write this, I’m editing the first half of the rough draft of my next novel. Everyone writes differently, so self-editing while typing a first draft works for me in spite of all the recommendations to the contrary. And while we’re on the subject of contrary advice...

  • Fear of following the wrong advice: Attend any writer’s conference or read two craft books. You’ll get differing opinions from well-respected authors. Here’s what Jeff Gerke says in his book The Art & Craft of Writing Christian Fiction, about writers who find themselves in this position:
“Sometimes these poor people can get so wound up in trying to do what every writing teacher says that they find they can’t move. Because not every person who teaches about writing fiction agrees with everyone else who teaches about writing fiction. But the aspiring writer doesn’t want to violate any rule of fiction...So what do you do?”
Trick: “You sift through all the ‘truths’ about fiction writing you hear and you hang on to the ones that make sense to you.”

  • Fear of not having enough online presence: You don’t have a website? Shame on you! You don’t have a blog, post twelve times a week, and have thousands of followers? Double shame!
And of course, you’re on every social media that exists, right? Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest...I’m sure I’m forgetting some.

Trick: Do a couple of social media well rather than a bunch of them poorly. Start with one or two of your favorites, then see what you can handle.

  • Fear of public speaking: Maybe I shouldn’t mention this one. My agent insists I have to do (gulp) public speaking. My debut novel, Dark Biology, released in September, and he wants me to address different groups to get the word out.
Public speaking is the number one fear according to a book by David Wallenchinksy entitled The Book of Lists. It’s certainly number one in my book. Fear of heights is a close second.

Scott Berkun describes the worst-case scenario in his book, Confessions of a Public Speaker:
“If you combine this list [of fears] to create the scariest thing possible, it would be to give a presentation in an airplane at 35,000 feet, near a spider web, while doing your taxes, sitting in the deep end of a pool inside the airplane, feeling ill, with the lights out, next to a rabid dog, near an escalator that leads to an elevator.”
Well, given that situation, chatting with a bunch of mild-mannered people sounds tame.

Trick: Think of it, not as public speaking, but as storytelling. That sounds a lot less intimidating.

  • Fear of the lack of creativity: Sometimes I sit at the keyboard and wait for words that won’t come. Where’s my creativity? Why can’t I dredge out a single description, interesting plot twist, or fascinating character?
Maybe I’m looking in the wrong place.

Here’s a perspective from Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way, who incidentally is not a Christian as far as I know:
“Looking at God’s creation, it is pretty clear that the creator itself did not know when to stop. There is not one pink flower, or even fifty pink flowers, but hundreds. Snowflakes, of course, are the ultimate exercise in sheer creative glee. No two alike. This creator looks suspiciously like someone who just might send us support for our creative ventures.”
Trick: Remember that your creativity comes from God, not you.

The bottom line is that we need to depend on God in our writing journey in spite of our fears. God put a little bit of His vast creativity in us. Our job is to put it on paper.

Your turn: What’s one fear you have? What’s one trick you’ve used to combat it?

Share your thoughts and you could win a copy of Bonnie's novel, Dark Biology. Be sure to mention in your comment that you'd like to be entered in the drawing!


About Bonnie: Bonnie’s debut novel, Dark Biology, released September 2013 from Harbourlight, an imprint of Pelican Book Group.

She lives in Denver, Colorado, with her husband of thirty years. They’re owned by two Siamese cats. John is an electrical engineer who works with lasers for a living. He’s also a Mad Scientist who owns a 2,300-pound electromagnet.

Besides writing, Bonnie enjoys reading, cooking, solving Sudoku puzzles, and volunteering at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. She attends a local science fiction convention as well as various writers conferences each year. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, its North Denver Chapter, and the Denver Area Science Fiction Association.  

Twitter: @bonniedoran
Twitter hashtag: #DarkBiology

About Dark Biology: Renowned vaccinologist "Hildi" Hildebrandt has set her sights on beating her brother to a Nobel Prize, and the opportunity to conduct experiments on the International Space Station might just provide the means to obtain that goal.

Chet Hildebrandt should have had that opportunity. But now he'll teach a lesson to them all: his hot-shot astronaut sister, his philandering hypocritical father, and the CDC for not properly appreciating his work. One vial of a virus purloined from the CDC labs and released at his father's marriage seminar should do the trick, without hurting anybody. After all, it's only a mild influenza strain…


Helen Gray said...

There's coffee brewing. Grab a mug.

Thanks for the tricks, Bonnie.

Believe it or not, I'm more comfortable with public speaking than social media. But all the fears you mention strike at times.

Mary Connealy said...

I just faced one of mine today, Bonnie and you mentioned it.
It's a variation on the 'Horrible First Draft'. It's when I am facing a BIG scene. I HARD scene. Like especially an action scene or a comedy scene or (worst of all) a comedic action scene.

They are just HARD WORK. And I ... well, it's not right to say I DREAD them exactly. I just know I can't do it right the first time. I know it. So I know I'm going to have to just slog something out. Something lame and short and dead.

Then I'm going to have to work on it. Go over it, bring it to life, speed it up, use all my Dr. Frankenstein skillz to breathe life into it.

And that's a lot of work. So I find myself....checking email one more time.
Then needing a cup of tea.
Then remembering I haven't talked to my mother today.
Then deciding it's a good time to do the crossword puzzle in today's newspaper.

You know.....PROCRASTINATING!!!!!

I just almost have to FORCE myself to stay in that computer chair and TYPE!!!! Do it badly. I am fully aware of this tendency but I still catch myself walking toward the kitchen, suddenly oh so thirsty. :)

Mary Connealy said...

Thanks for the coffee, Helen!!!!!!!!

Mary Connealy said...

I also dread public speaking.
I have found a comfort level with it and I do think of it as telling stories.
I especially feel comfortable with questions and answers. Someone told me once that there is NO QUESTION ANYONE CAN ASK YOU ABOUT YOUR BOOK THAT YOU CAN'T ANSWER. NOBODY KNOWS MORE ABOUT YOUR BOOK THAN YOU DO.

Which makes sense, right? So how could you possibly be stumped in a Q & A?

And in the weird event that someone does ask you a questions about your book you can't answer, then that's really intriguing and you turn it around on them. You have a conversation. You say, "Wow, really? I've never heard of that and I did some much research on this subject. Tell me about that."

CatMom said...

Welcome Bonnie! Thanks for sharing these tricks to help us manage certain fears.

Public speaking? YIKES!!! (my palms are sweating just thinking about that one) ~ That ranks right up there with snakes and spiders for me.

I love what you wrote at the end of your post: God put a little bit of His vast creativity in us. Our job is to put it on paper. ~ WOW!! What an amazing way to view our calling/job as writers.

Congratulations on your book, and thank you for sharing with us today. ~ Please enjoy the warm peach cobbler I've baked--topped with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream, if you like. :)
Blessings from Georgia, Patti Jo

Sandra Leesmith said...

Hi Bonnie, Thanks for sharing ways to cope with those very real fears. Thankfully I started writing before I knew anything. If I would have known all that was involved I would never have started. Lol
Have fun today.

Sandra Leesmith said...

Patti Jo, I always love your peach cobbler. One of my favorite sweets.

Virginia Carmichael Munoz said...

Wow, that quote about the creator is really, really inspiring! How true! I try not to focus on the fear, but every now and then I just have to sit down and make a list of all the things that are hovering over my head like a big, black cloud. And once I see them in the light, they look much less intimidating.

P.S. The book looks amazing.

Cindy W. said...

My greatest fear when it comes to writing is my procrastination. I have battled this problem through the years, won it over, then been tackled by it again. It is definitely something that I need to focus on overcoming.

When I write I do have a habit of wanting to polish as I go and I know that I should just write and get the story down first then go back to layer more and edit. I am a newbie so I am learning as I go.
I appreciate your post this morning and also all the wonderful wisdom I take away from Seekerville daily. Thank you all.

I would love to be entered for a chance to win your book. Thank you for the chance.

Smiles & Blessings,
Cindy W.

countrybear52 AT yahoo DOT com

Jackie said...

Welcome Bonnie,

One of the places you mentioned where I get tripped up is when I receive completely different responses from a contest. That's when I freeze.

Thanks for sharing these great tips.

Your book sounds great. Releasing a virus on purpose at his father's seminar? Lots of drama there!

Annie Rains said...

Ohhhh! Your book sounds great! I love the cover, too. Congrats!

Thanks for today's post. My fear comes when I try to compare my writing to other authors', and of course, it never measures up in my head. I solve that by telling myself, over and over, I can only do the best that I can do.

CaraG said...

Laughed out loud when I read the Scott Berkun quote you used. Humor helps me to keep most fears in perspective, but like Helen, I've suffered at times from all those you mentioned. Plus I can add my big fear-- not being funny. I love books that give me the unexpected laugh, but that’s tough to capture. Even when I lay my story aside and come back much later to reread with a fresh eye, I don’t trust my judgment. Any hints from anyone?

I LOVE the cover on your book. Combine that with the title and the blurb, and I get the shivers. Brings to mind Michael Crichton and I’m a huge fan of his work.

Please enter me in the drawing for Dark Biology. Congratulations, too. Debuts are always exciting.

Where do you keep a 2300 lb. magnet?

DebH said...

Great post today. I like all the notes on how to combat those fears. It makes it less... fearful *heh*.
Love the cover for Dark Biology. I enjoy science fiction, so it'd be neat to read your book. The blurb is a grabber for me.

Love to be introduced to another Colorado author (i'm a Denver native currently in exile on the east coast). Thanks for sharing yourself and your book with Seekerville.

Tina Radcliffe said...

Fear of the editor coming through the computer screen and slapping you?

Thanks, Bonnie! And welcome to Seekerville.

Connie Queen said...

Yes, Tina, the editor slapping me!!!! If I can read through my ms and find so many mistakes, how many more will an editor find?

And Bonnie, social media. I keep thinking that's not for me but I might be forced to do it. Figure I'll handle it when the time comes.

Just the subject of your book tells me you're a real smart lady. Would love to win it.

Jeanne T said...

You have some great tips, Bonnie. Thanks for sharing from your experience. Sometimes, when I'm fearful about something, I share it with a friend who is good at speaking truth into my heart. This helps me to work through/beyond the fear. And getting back to it.

Courtney Phillips said...

I don't think it's a coincidence that fear is today's topic. I'm to the point where I think everything I'm writing is junk (surely others have felt that way.) A few days ago I loved my writing even though I knew it would need some editing. Is it naive to think a critique group might be the worst thing for me? Ha!
So now I've developed a fear of continuing a WIP that I loved because maybe others won't "get it" when it's finished.
Praying about this. . .

Courtney Phillips said...

I hope that doesn't sound like whining. Lol.

Bonnie Doran said...

Good morning, everyone! Thanks for hosting me. Yikes! I knew the blog was popular, but this is incredible!

Helen, thanks for the coffee. It goes so well with Patti Jo's peach cobbler.

Helen, I'm glad you're comfortable with public speaking. Maybe later today I'll tell you gals about my experiences speaking at a science fiction convention last month.

Bonnie Doran said...

Mary, we'll have to have a contest for the Queen of Procrastinating. I'm definitely in the running. A horrible first draft is only one excuse for it. Hmmm. I need more hand cream.

I wish I could remember the famous author who said his secret to writing was an iron butt. I need one of those.

Debby Giusti said...

Oh, Bonnie!

Your DARK BIOLOGY is speaking to my medical technologist's heart!!! :)

Love the blurb and the trailer. Love the release of a strain of influenza. Sounds like a must read!!!

Also loved your post on writer fears. Don't we experience all of them from time to time! I'm giving two talks next week so I'm nodding my head at the fear of speaking...although my fear is more about getting both talks ready in time!

Heading back to my two WIP speeches...

Bonnie Doran said...

Mary, you made a comment that there's no question anyone can ask you about your book that you can't answer. Actually, there is. A few weeks ago, I was a guest on a web-based radio station called The host asked me, "If your book was made into a movie, who would you choose to play your characters?" Ack! When that same question came up in a written interview, I still had to think about it.

Bonnie Doran said...

Thanks for the comments that my blog post about fears struck a chord with you. On my own blog today, I posted two others that I currently struggle with: Not having enough book sales, and being unable to write another book.

Bonnie Doran said...

Thanks for your comments about the book. Nicola Martinez, editor-in-chief of my publisher, Pelican Book Group, designed the cover. I have a couple of awesome endorsements on the back cover. I've also been pleased with the Amazon reviews. Okay, one was by my sister, but she really did like it!

kaybee said...

COURTNEY, if that's whining, I whine all the time. Finish your WIP. Look for a critique group or a critique partner, and keep trying till you find one that works for you.
I can tell you when my own writing looks like krap:
1. When I've read something REALLY GOOD by another author. This should be disregarded, you are the writer you are.
2. When I let a first draft sit and then come back to it. This should be paid attention to, it's after it's had a chance to sit that you see your mistakes.
3. When I come home from critique group after my pals made some REALLY STRONG suggestions. These need to be filtered. Most of the time they're right because I have good crit partners, but sometimes they're not.
4. When I get feedback from a contest. This should be heeded, especially if all three judges have the same issues.
PATTI JO, I love ANYTHING warm with whipped cream or ice cream. I live in apple country, so I make a lot of cobblers and crisps. Or peach when it's in season here.
BONNIE, I lived in Colorado Springs and Fountain for five years. It is great country. Your mountains make our New Hampshire mountains look tiny.
Thank you for this post. I tend to edit as I go along and I'm definitely not a pantser, so things like NANO are hard for me.
VIRGINIA, it's nice to hear that published authors have fear.
I am most afraid right after a rejection. For what it's worth.
I changed NANO into KATH-O! I'm writing a draft as fast as I can, but not holding myself to the 30 days because I would have a nervous breakdown. Works for me.
Bright and cold in NH today.
Kathy Bailey

Janet Dean said...

Welcome to Seekerville, Bonnie! I relate to your topic. I'm not strangled by fear, but a sense of inadequacy can stall me, especially when the story doesn't live up to my vision.

I'm a perfectionist so rough drafts are not possible for me. Nice to know I'm not alone.

I fear that lack of creativity you mention, the reason I ask God for His. But He doesn't dump it on me. Perhaps He knows I need to open that vein. Getting the emotion I want requires putting my heart and soul into the story. Not easy.


Bonnie Doran said...

Virginia, that's a great idea to make a list of our fears. I'll worry and worry about not having enough time to get everything done and then worry I'll forget something that needs to be done. When I write them on paper, the tasks aren't as overwhelming. I'll have to do that when my fears threaten to get the better of me.

Susan Codone said...

I am always afraid of misrepresenting theology -- even basic references to faith -- in my writing. Does anyone else worry about this?

Myra Johnson said...

BONNIE, it's a pleasure having you join us today--and such an inspiring post!

I'm right up there with Mary and others who dread public speaking--to be more specific, public speaking without a verbatim typed-out speech in front of me! I got drafted as a last-minute teacher for our adult Sunday school class a couple of weeks ago, and it was scary trying to guide a discussion instead of reading from notes! Thank goodness the class is very talkative, so my main job was keeping them focused on the topic at hand.

BTW, sorry to be absent from Seekerville all week. My husband got a new knee on Monday, so I've been running myself ragged going back and forth between home and the hospital. He came home yesterday, so now we're into the whole routing of figuring out how to do normal things with a bum leg and a walker. The home PT person is coming this afternoon.

Bonnie Doran said...

Cindy, thanks for the comments. I procrastinate for a number of reasons, including a fear of not doing something right. Perfectionism is a big blocker for me.

I said in the blog post that I'm editing the rough draft of my second novel. I stopped halfway through and felt stuck. I forgot some of my character's names! I figured I'd better go back and get them back in my head, along with fixing some inconsistencies.

Bonnie Doran said...

Jackie: Different responses from contest judges freeze me, too. Then my critique partners disagree with the judges. What's a writer to do? I added a prologue because some judges thought the story started too slow. The publisher said the story was fine without it.

One tidbit about why the villain releases the virus at his father's seminar: I got angry when I heard one more news piece about a Christian leader caught in adultery. I thought, what if the son was mad? Mad enough to unleash a biological weapon? What better place than his father's marriage seminar? The plot took off from there.

Bonnie Doran said...

Annie, you bring up another fear about measuring up to other writers. Yep, I struggle with that. I'll compare what I'm writing with novelists who have dozens of novels to their name. Dark Biology was the best I could do when I wrote it.

Mary Connealy said...

BONNIE! Hand Cream! I can do that. I can sit at the computer and suddenly ... right when I need to reach for those keys think... hmmmmm my hands seem sort of dry and chapped.

And off I go. LOL

Mary Connealy said...

KAYBEE and Bonnie, maybe Julie will stop in and tell us her charming OUTLANDER story.

She read the series and was so stricken by Diane Gabaldon's talent she (Julie) couldn't write for three months.

Fortunately I never feel that way. I think I'm at home with my incompetence. :)

Bonnie Doran said...

Cara, I think humor is the most subjective thing we write. What's funny to you might not be funny to me. To Scott Berkun's scenario, I could add, "giving a presentation and no one laughs at my jokes."

Funny that you should mention Michael Crichton. One of my endorsements on the back cover is by Robert Liparulo who makes that comparison. And early on, I pitched the story as "Apollo 13 meets Andromeda Strain." Andromeda Strain was one of Crichton's novels. I like him, too, so maybe his writing influenced mine.

Mary Connealy said...

Bonnie, I used to have the Movie Star question down pat.
I'd always just dodge it.

I'd say "I never do that. I don't want to put a face on my characters. I want to leave that to the imagination of the reader."

Now, my standard answer is, "Well, for all time, let's just assume all my heroes look like Henry Cavill, the new Superman."

HAVE YOU SEEN HIM???????????


Bonnie Doran said...

Oh, and Cara: My hubby keeps his 2300 lb. magnet at work. We used to keep it in the basement before we moved. Getting it out involved disassembling it and using block and tackle to lift the biggest piece through the window well.

Bonnie Doran said...

Deb, thanks for the comments. If you ever move back to Denver, there are lots of ACFW chapters here through which you can connect. I'll look for you on Facebook.

Connie Queen said...

And Bonnie, I love Sudoku too. I have a book right by my computer and work at least one puzzle before I starting writing. Some would call this procrastination, but surely it's just warming up my brain.

Bonnie Doran said...

LOL, Tina! I couldn't resist that picture.

Bonnie Doran said...

Connie, my biggest fear with Dark Biology was that some reader would catch me on my research. The editor did. She told me I had the use of a defibrillator wrong, just like every TV show did. It won't do any good to use the paddles on someone whose heartbeat has flatlined (like I had in the novel in one of the most tense scenes). There has to be some kind of erratic rhythm (fibrillation) so the shock will DEfibrillate it and get it to beat normally. I re-wrote the scene. It was work, but the editor liked it and said the new version heightened the tension even more. Yay!

Bonnie Doran said...

Jeanne, thanks for the tip about sharing fears with a good friend. I meet with two critique partners. We're constantly talking about our writing fears. It's great to have friends who will take your concerns seriously and not discount them by repeating the Nike ad, "Just do it."

Bonnie Doran said...

Courtney, I hear you when you're afraid that everything is junk.

A critique group could be the best thing if it's the right one. Get together with some writing friends you respect and form a group or ask to join a continuing one. The trick is to find the right group. Find people you can trust to be honest but constructive in their criticism.

Continue the WIP you love because it's what God's put in your heart to write.

I still worry that my sci-fi friends won't "get" the spiritual thread in Dark Biology. Several bought copies. We'll see. But is their reaction up to me? God has to take it from here. Or at least, that's what I keep reminding myself.

Mary Hicks said...

I like that we turn to God with our fears—we turn to Him for everything else, it just makes sense that we pile our fears on Him too. And besides, no one else can help us like He does! :-)

I have an art show coming up and I've really moved into procrastinating mode!
I find myself wandering around in the kitchen and don't even remember getting there. So naturally I start digging for something else to eat...

Bonnie Doran said...

Thanks, Debbie.

If you enjoy medical thrillers, check out Jordyn Redwood's books. I enjoy them. She's an emergency pediatric nurse and knows her stuff. She teaches a workshop to writers on common medical errors in novels.

Of course, I'd love for you to read mine!

I'm looking at this blog post and thinking it would be fodder for a good talk. I'm glad my first speaking engagement is November of next year. Maybe I'll have enough time to prepare...

Audra Harders said...

Hey Bonnie! Waving to you from up north, well, north of Denver : )

Great post. Oh so many fears that can stifle even the most grounded writer.

I can so relater to following the wrong advice. Too many people know too many ways to write a book.

My first critique group consisted of 10 members. We all had an opportunity to write suggestions on each others work during our session. OMG, I'm amazed I didn't quit writing after that first meeting!! I still get the heebie-jeebies when I think of one of my critique buddies who wielded her purple ink with sheer gusto and conviction!

Thankfully, I had the good sense to follow the writing style of my favorite authors. I tried to disect why their books touched my heart rather than why I should write my book using the same style my friends did.

Ahhh, so many fears; too little time...

Bonnie Doran said...

Kathy, that's great advice. I just read your comment, and we're thinking alike!

I'm doing NaNoWriMo. I'm using it as a kick in the rear for revising the first half of my rough draft. There are too many problems with it and I can't remember my characters. It's a little disheartening, though. I got to a grand total of 616 words on the 5th, lost 23 words on the 6th, and wrote nothing yesterday because I had a critique group plus a craft show where I'm selling my book. Ironic. I spend three quarters of my time marketing my first book.

Bonnie Doran said...

Thanks for the comments, Janet. I'm glad to know I'm not the only perfectionist out there.

I'm jealous of one writing friend who has lots of ideas for new novels. I tend to get them one at a time and wonder where the next one will come from. I know it'll be from God, but sometimes I wish he'd hurry it up. LOL

In my first attempt at a novel, a YA sci-fi that I put down in order to write adult fiction, it surprised me when my characters expressed a lot of anger. Later, I realized that anger was a deep-seated emotion I needed to deal with in my life. I've been amazed at how much my novel has taught me about me.

Myra Johnson said...

Bonnie, it's so true that as writers we often deal with our own emotions by "inflicting" them on our characters. It can be very cathartic! said...

Bonnie! Fabulous post!!

Bonnie Doran said...

Myra, I'm glad you commented today after we exchanged a couple of emails on how and what for me to post on Seekerville.

Let me tell you about one speech I was forced to give. I was working as a short-term missionary on Okinawa, Japan, for the Far East Broadcasting Company. They gave me a two-hour live radio program (most middle-of-the-road secular and sacred music). I was asked to speak at a National Prayer Breakfast on a Navy base. The field director wouldn't let me wiggle out of it. The only things I remember about that experience is that I sat next to a general as we ate breakfast and I liked the grits.

Sorry about your husband's long recovery period. I'm at a craft show all weekend promoting and hopefully selling my novel. It's a fund-raising event for Assistance League of Denver. They loan walkers, wheelchairs and other mobile devices free of charge to people in the community. They have a bunch of other charity programs, so I'm happy to be a part of it.

Bonnie Doran said...

Mary, you reminded me I need to use hand cream right now. My hands get so chapped here in dry Denver that I have to keep on top of it or my hands will crack and bleed.

At home with your incompetence? LOL

On the movie stars, I can dream, can't I? I don't give much character description, so picking actors isn't hard that way. My immediate thought for a secondary character was Bill Paxton. He'd do great as the commander of the International Space Station, Cowboy Joe, one of the comic-relief characters. That is, if he doesn't mind being type-cast as another astronaut.

Now all I have to do is sell 10,000 copies of the novel to get Hollywood's attention. I heard one agent say that one out of a thousand books get optioned, and one out of a thousand of those get made into a movie. I can dream, can't I?

Bonnie Doran said...

Connie, I enjoy Sudoku when I'm ready for bed. It sounds counter-intuitive, but it helps me relax. A have a confession to make: I peek at the answer when I get stuck on the hard puzzles.

My sister does her crossword puzzles in PEN!

Mary Connealy said...

Bonnie, it sounds like you have some kind of hysterical amnesia about that speech.

Either that or the grits and the general were overwhelmingly fascinating. :)

Bonnie Doran said...

Mary, I have the procrastination blues, too. It's hard for me to avoid the kitchen. After all, I have to reward myself with a piece of chocolate now and then.

I can't procrastinate on my book launch party much longer, which is next week! Buy paper goods, order food (and figure out what and how much), and find a place that rents tablecloths. Oh, and figure out how to use my new Square for taking credit card payments.

Bonnie Doran said...

Thanks for the comment, Audra. Now you've reminded me of another fear: not having enough time to do everything, especially write!

By the way, ACFW has a new chapter forming in Windsor, Colorado. If you're interested, go to to learn more.

Bonnie Doran said...

Myra, you're right about inflicting our characters with our own emotions. All too often, they reflect my own doubts about God coming through in my troubles.

One reviewer cringed when she saw all the crises I inflicted on my characters. Better them than me. Hehehe

Bonnie Doran said...

Susan, I can identify with your worry about representing God with the right theology in our writing. Someone will always disagree with us, no matter what we do.

I agonized over one tiny detail in Dark Biology. It was an important issue but I shouldn't have stressed about it so much, especially when my editor had good suggestions about wording that little passage. And oh yeah, I should have prayed about it more.

Bonnie Doran said..., that's you, Paula Moldenhauer, isn't it? Amazing weight loss journey.

I just told Audra Harders here that ACFW Colorado is forming a chapter in Windsor. I hope she connects with the group.

I'll see you tomorrow at the writers workshop. We have Jerry Jenkins as our speaker, gals!

Donna said...

Bonnie, I needed to hear this today! Your blog reminds me of the saying about eating the elephant one bite at a time(or something to that effect).

I especially needed the reminder that my rough draft is allowed to be...not so great.

I love the line of your bio that says, "They’re owned by two Siamese cats." And the video about Dark Biology is terrific! I'd love to be entered.

Bonnie Doran said...

Mary, you're probably right about the amnesia. I hope the people who heard my speech also forgot it, although God can use anything, even a donkey. He-haw!

I don't remember the general but I do remember the grits. My husband is from Georgia and loves the stuff. I don't fix it as often as he'd like.

Bonnie Doran said...

Hey, Paula, you forgot to mention you want to win the book! Paula was one of my critique partners when I was hashing out the story.

Bonnie Doran said...

Hey Donna, while we're on the subject of elephant stew, I found this recipe in one of my church cookbooks:

1 elephant (medium size)
2 rabbits (optional)

Cut elephant into bite-sized pieces. This should take 2 months. Add enough brown gravy to cover and cook over kerosene fire for about 4 weeks at 450 degrees. This will serve 3,800 people.

If more are expected, 2 rabbits may be added, but do this only if necessary, as most people do not like hare in their stew.

I'll let you know when it's ready. It should be enough to feed all ACFW members and their families.

Bonnie Doran said...

I'll be back a little later, gals. I need to make an appearance at this craft show and maybe sell more books. I sold one last night.

Cara Lynn James said...

Welcome, Bonnie! I have so many fears and dreads concerning writing it's amazing I write at all. I've overcome a few of them, but not all -- at least not yet.

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Bonnie how nice that you're here!!!

I'm not a fearful person. Like ever. I think I actually like it when a gauntlet is thrown, just to prove I can meet the challenge. Clearly egocentric about that!

But I'm about as far from a perfectionist as you can get so the two balance out. And this post reminded me that our differences within often help craft our stories and characters.

I love the wild science side of things. And the "what could be" aspects intrigue me.

Ray Bradbury was my BFF growing up.
I love his short stories. His twists. ♥

Hey, it's Friday and we need some chocolate around this Popsicle stand. I brought some Ghirardelli.... Jump in and see what your favorite is!

Terri said...

Hi Bonnie, great post. I think my biggest fear changes depending on what part of the writing process I'm in. Right now I'm fearful my revisions will make my book seem episodic.

Oh, and I hate to break it to you gals, but long ago I was crowned Princess of Procrastination, I'm working on relinquishing my crown, so it will be available soon!

Marianne Barkman said...

Was without the internet since last idea why or why it came back tonight! Never realized how addicted I am to it, but I managed just fine! Still didn't get the floor washed, though. Loved those tips you gave. I'm sure I can use some of them...even though I'm not a writer.

Chill N said...

BONNIE, thank you for sharing Scott Berkun's quote about the worst-case scenario. What a great way to face down fear.

And of course you know what my thoughts keep going back to, right? That 2300 lb magnet :-)

Nancy C

Tanya Agler said...

Reading today's blog and posts hit home some tricks to conquer some of the fears that seem to be common throughout all the threads.

Like so many others, I too am a procrastinator and strangely enough, a perfectionist. I think some of those tricks, especially sitting down to a half written sentence are helpful I think the important thing is to sit down and write. It's helpful to get encouragement from other writers, but then I just have to face the screen and get the words out.

Glad to see some other people participating in NaNoWriMo. My empathy to the commenter who lost 23 words one day. You actually reminded me that tomorrow I need to back up my book again.

Thanks for today's blog. I learn something every time I read something on this site and I always get encouraged.

Terri said...

Please enter me in the drawing.

Bonnie Doran said...

Ack! I apologize for not answering after I returned from the craft show. Overall, I sold three copies but had some exposure. One gal said she'd contact me about her book club.

Anyway, I think I left off at Cara:

Cara, I identify with you about being amazed at writing with all the fears bouncing around. Persistence is key, and you're plugging along in spite of everything. Good job!

Ruth, I'm glad someone can pick up that gauntlet. Sometimes I can. Ray Bradbury was my high school English teacher's favorite author. The teacher loaned out sci-fi paperbacks to his students, so I read a lot by him. Favorite chocolate? Ghirardelli Intense Dark Sea Salt Soiree. Oh, if I ever get my hands on Carla Laureano who mentioned it on Facebook...

Terri, I assume you mean you're afraid your book will sound choppy. I had a lot of chop after I cut the number of POV characters from nine to six in Dark Biology, so I can relate.

Marianne, I remember one piece of advice a writer gave me when I was stuck in my writing: Do the next thing. Hmm. Right now the next thing, folding laundry, is lurking in a basket outside my office. Sigh.

Nancy, I cracked up when I read that Scott Berkun quote. One thing we often hear to help conquer fear is to imagine your audience naked. Um, no thanks. Berkun claims that the best resources track that quote to Winston Churchill. Maybe it worked for him, since also according to Berkun, Churchill reported fears of public communication. Don't worry about the 2300 lb magnet. Hubby hasn't done any work on it lately.

Tanya, I'm glad the post and the comments encouraged you. For me, I procrastinate BECAUSE I'm a perfectionist and afraid to get it wrong. I'm theoretically doing NaNoWriMo but haven't worked on it lately. I think I was the one who lost 23 words. I didn't lose them because I didn't back up the manuscript but because I revised 23 words out of the novel.

Maria Michaels said...

I'm going through the same thing with a difficult scene - those are the easiest to procrastinate. Those are the days when I clean my house, so I guess that's one positive thing to be said about a difficult scene.