Failing: Part of Trying

You can’t make a coffee bush grow overnight. 

I’ve spent the past few weeks trying to regain my confidence. I haven’t been entirely successful, but as people often say, you only fail if you dare to try. Kim Wilkins recently said a writer needs to be fearless to have any hope of completing huge daily word counts (1). I know what she means; nothing stifles me more than the deep-set fear that I am a boring writer. 

In spite of my best intentions, submitting my work to Varuna had the effect of making me stop and question what I was doing. Immediately, I started to think about what feedback I might receive, what I’d need to change. I saw a weakness in what I was writing, a lack detail – of ‘atmospherics’, as I was once told – that could only mean my story would be dull. Ideas have come to me. I’ve been working on background, world-building, little details, sorting out my chronology; all the stuff I used to dwell on but put aside to get on with writing because I feared it was just procrastination. On the downside, my word count has barely ticked over for four weeks. I hope the benefits – a richer, more detailed world – will be worthwhile. 

Especially now. 

On Thursday, I found out who’d made it to the second round of Varuna. To my combined relief and disappointment, I was not on that longlist. On Friday, I found out about an entirely new and more exciting opportunity; a manuscript development program specifically for writers of science fiction and fantasy. It closes in mid-January 2008, so I even have some time to work on my manuscript before submission. Excitement and motivation are renewed. All in a rush, my coffee tree has sprouted, grown, flowered and borne fruit. 

It’s grinding time.

1. The Frantic Writer: http://kimwilkins.blogspot.com/

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