Do You Have A Fear of Commitment With Your Writing?

I am quite possibly the most indecisive person on the planet. No joke. I should come with a warning or something.

Give me a Cheesecake Factory menu and it may take hours for me to decide what to eat. I end up ordering and – for the remainder of the meal – wondering if I should have chosen something else. A big, fat steak sounded good, but what if the Chicken Romano is better??

I’m the same way with my writing.

Right now I’m re-writing Act I. And each day, with each new scene, I end up questioning myself.

Have I chosen the best option to get that part of the story across? Is this the way it should go??

I tell myself that there are a million and one ways to tell a story but only one of those ways is the best. I think that’s the reason I fear committing to any one route. It’s why writing the beginning has been such a stumbling block for me.

I’m simply scared it won’t be perfect.

So how do we know when it’s the right choice? Is there a way to know? I always fear that my doubt in my decisions is a sign that something’s not right, that I should be 100% certain and confident.

How about you? How do you know when a scene or particular plot path is right? What signals alleviate the fear to commit?

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  1. You know it's right when it flows like a stream over the rocks. You know it in your gut. Listen to the words…deep down you know when it's wrong, and you know when it's right.

  2. I'm not sure you ever really know something is right. It can always be tinkered with or changed. But I think you do learn when to stop messing with something and leave it be. Even though part of you is still questioning that decision.

  3. I just have to keep plowing through, whether I like it or not, until the first draft is done. There are enough good moments to get me through the bad ones.

    And whenever I'm having self-esteem issues with editing, well, Stephen King talks about the magical point where you realize that something godawful got published, so your chances can't be too bad. Mean, but it works. 🙂

  4. I have the same problem, but I have to remember that if I don't make that choice the story will never get finished. If it really turns out terribly, there is a chance (or many) to change it in revision.

  5. I was gonna say what Mari said, and one step beyond. Do the very first exit that strikes your fancy and DON'T LOOK BACK (until later). Try it on. Play it out. Tell it from another character's point of view. Tell it from your Grandmother's (bless her soul) point of view. And if doesn't completely and totally feel like it wrote itself, then go back out to the main highway, and take the NEXT exit. See where it leads. And so on. Best advice I ever gave myself: DON'T THINK. WRITE.