Crazily, people assume that a writer is free to do whatever he or she wants to, and what they don't realize include the following:
-Getting words on paper is not the same thing as getting the right words on paper.
-Revising is about 70% of the process. There is writing (yay!) and then there's revising (aww!). Writing (woot!)... and then revising (shoot!).
-Our strengths don't often outshine our weaknesses, and we are fighting, continually, to grow while trying to move forward, too.
-We have characters who are trying to take over our brains, lives, and plot, even though we keep telling them, "You crazy Fool! I'm the writer!!!"
So the truth is, finding some independence is kind of hard. At least, it is for me. I mean, the day I say writing feels like a job, I promise, I'll throw in the towel, but what I'm saying is, the most freedom I have when it comes to any one manuscript is the creative license of coming up with the idea that sparks the story and gets a book from point A (the start) to point B (the finish). I know it sounds stupid to say that what comes in between is a result of fervish first drafts and cooky characters, but that's kind of how it works. Sorry if that doesn't make sense, but I had to flesh that out before I got to the point.
THE POINT is this: I'm trying something out. As you know, I'm working on my latest WIP and, right now, I'm in love. I say that because I have the habitual habit of falling out of love when I think the project's getting hard, and that usually happens when I'm getting to something that's theoretically "the good part." What I LOVE about first drafts is that none of it is permanent. What I HATE about first drafts is that it never comes out right the first time! So me and writing?... we're something of a paradox. I'm learning to break those walls (my writing blocks. Get it?! Ha! I'm so unfunny!), and this thing I'm trying out is giving myself some independence when I write. Letting my story know that, for the first draft at least, I'm the boss.
It's hard because of two things. The first is, I'm afraid I'm going to be hindering a certain fluid-like something in my manuscript. Honestly, when the story writes itself, that's when you know the world has taken shape and your characters have gotten a chance at a life in it. What I'm hoping, though, is that getting the words down to just shape the dang thing will be enough to give the characters some ideas. If they don't like mine, they can change them in revisions, but at least we'll have a backbone, you know? You don't know? You might know?
The second thing I'm afraid of is the Disney effect. Don't get me wrong. I love Disney (the channel and the Walt!). But they have this mechanic way of setting up jokes, movement, and plot progression. I don't want to play puppet master as I go through the first draft, just for the sake of getting words on the page, but what I'm hoping is that knowing that's something I want to avoid will, you know, help me avoid it. And if it doesn't, I'm thinking positively of revisions. This manuscript CAN be resurrected if I screw up, I tell you! Yeah!
I just realized my biggest fear is that I'm going to mess everything up, and need to rely on revisions to pull me out of a hole. Revising, as you may have guessed, is a bittersweet part of the process for me. Bitter because it's the hardest bit of work I have to do--- analyzing, judging, and reevaluating every word I've written makes me a little self-conscious, I'll admit it. But it's also sweet because I can literally see improvement happening as I go. So as I work on letting go, I'm also going to be learning to trust myself to mess up. Remind me this: You can always fix it later.