Belief and Writing

Here’s something I’m discovering – if you don’t believe in the story you’re writing, the story will never actually get written.

I’ve been blessed this week finally have the time and opportunity to do quite a bit of writing. I’ve been able to put nearly 3000 words down on paper (in a digital sense), but much of that has been done only through a great deal of hair-pulling and teeth grinding. You see, one of the writing projects I’m working on is one that I have had trouble keeping faith in. I’m not entirely satisfied with the story. I’m not all that crazy about the direction it’s taking. It’s very likely that the revision process is going to drastically reshape the story.

What does this mean for my state of mind? It means that I am second-guessing every sentence written. It means that I am doubting every new plot point that is laid out. It means that I want to strike entire sections – yay, even the entire story – take it back to formula, and start all over again with a completely different idea. In short, I don’t completely believe in the story. I doubt my ability to tell the story well. I doubt that the story will be anything more than complete garbage. As a result I am having a hard time finishing it.

But I am pushing on, mainly because I don’t have any better ideas at the moment. I don’t know what to replace the current plot with. And to be completely truthful, I don’t _really_ think the story is total and complete trash; I just think that in its current form it’s going to need a lot of work to bring it up to snuff. ((I am actually looking forward to the revision process. I find that part more enjoyable than writing the first draft.))

I don’t always have this problem when drafting a story. The ones I know, the ones I believe in, just seem to flow effortlessly from pen to paper (again, in the figurative, digital sense). I wish that it was always that easy to believe in my stories, but it’s not, so I have to work with the little nugget of a story idea that I do have until it germinates into something better.

Normally, I’d just let a story idea sit and “brew”: for a little while, let it fill itself in and let _it_ inspire me, rather than the other way around. In this case, however, I actually have a deadline, so I have to write and hope that by the time the point of judgment arrives, I will have something that looks good and reads well, something that I, and others, can believe in. I have just enough belief in this story to continue writing it. The rest is an act of will.

Have anything to add to the conversation?