Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Books of Courage

I bought myself a few small treats after completing my first draft: a bottle of bubbly, two pairs of dangly earrings from artisans at the local Sunday Market, and a book, The Courage to Write: How Writers Transcend Fear.

After a busy weekend, Husband and I spent a belated Monday night imbibing bubbly in celebration. The earrings, though in no way related to writing, are swishy and sparkly and inspiring in their own way. The book was my practical post first draft purchase.

My favorite used bookstore downtown--with its own cat called Isbn--moved to a new premises. The larger, airier building leaves room for more shelves and easier browsing. I probably spent an hour browsing the shelves looking for something special. There were plenty of books I wanted, but, with a towering to-be-read pile at home, I was looking for something unique. I stopped in the writing section and found many interesting books, but this particular book appeared to be written especially for me. As I flipped through the pages, I realized it spoke to The Fear I've faced for the last two years, as well as the New Fear that's begun to creep up since I wrote my last page. I wonder if I can finish this novel to my satisfaction; and if I do meet my own level of perfection, will it be good enough that others will want to read it. I was startled to see the names of stellar writers gracing the pages of this book to put voice to their fears. Apparently The Fear is more widespread than I realized. I am not alone.

Last night I finished another excellent writing book, Self-Editing for Fiction Writers, which bolstered me with ideas for how to approach my second-draft. Now I'm indulging myself with the comforting pages of this new book in hopes that it will help usher me into this new phase of my writing life.


SueG said...

Thanks for the references. these are both books I definitely need to get and read, and probably, read again. The fear thing never goes away, I thik, no matter what stage you are in the process. I know I'm now about to launch my novel and I think I'm more frightened than ever --will people like it? Will they even read it? And what's worse, a bad review or no review at all? Endless, but I guess we won't let it make us give up, right?

Yvonne said...

Those books sound great, especially the fear one - something I could do well with at the moment!

Hullaballoo said...

Sounds like you are in a really good place with your writing, lovely. Well done you for treating yourself so well.


Angie said...

SueG, these books have been immensely helpful and inspiring for me. Somehow it just helps to know that I'm not alone with my writing fears.
He actually discusses each stage of the writing process and breaks down the fears for each. Apparently it's something you learn to live with rather than overcome. Here's my favorite quote so far: "Working writers aren't those who have eliminated their anxiety. They are the ones who keep scribbling while their heart races and their stomach churns, and who mail manuscripts with trembling fingers."
Your situation sounds so exciting to me at this stage, but I'm sure I would be terrified too, and according to him, it's normal. (Congratulations, btw!)

Yvonne, I think you would enjoy the book and find some comforting insights. It's great to know that others went through the same emotions, even our idols.

Hullaballoo, well, I'm trying to reach a good place, though I'm not quite there yet. It felt great to have a 'pampering' weekend.

-Angie xx

kate said...

Hi Angie-
I was actually wandering around the Internet as a displacement activity,because I was overwhelmed by fear: fear of finishing my current chapter, so I would have to go on to the next and THEN I would be 'found out!' I saw the 'fear' book title and felt as if Fate had direted me to tius site! I sent off for it immediately - it's brilliant! have finished the chapter. Now dealing with fear of the next one - tiem for another read of that book. Excuse me..
oh, and thanks. A lovely blog1

Angie said...

Kate, welcome. The internet is such a good (*ahem* bad) displacement activity. I know exactly what you mean about the fear of finishing the next section and the next, only to be 'found out' in the end. I'm halfway through the book and it's brilliant. It addresses so much of what I've been experiencing while writing this book, not to mention what I can expect to experience in the later stages...Anyway, I'm so glad you liked it. And thanks. :)

kate said...

I'm about halfway through teh book and it really is like having a 'fear mentor' sitting beside you!