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Thanks to Alex J. Cavanaugh for organizing and hosting the Insecure Writers Support Group every month. Go to his blog to see the other participants, and understand what the group is all about (well, we writers basically get together and support each other through our posts and comments).

Here’s my post for the support group:

For the last week, I’ve written zero words on my #WIP. Zip.Nada. Zilch.

Yesterday, I wrote about a 100 words.  After a whole day of showing up at the page, mind you.

I know what happens next, so that’s not the issue. I know the characters, so that’s not the issue either.

Or maybe that’s where the problem lies—I know what my characters are about to do next.

A to Z Stories of Life and Death

A to Z Stories of Life and Death

I know I now have to write about the sort of thing that would make me extremely squeamish and horrified in real life– and my way of writing is to be it, be the character and write what comes—and at this point in the novel, I’m terrified to be the character. I can be that character for the span of a flash fiction (those who have read A to Z Stories of Life and Death would know what I’m talking about), not a novel– but the problem is I’ve now signed up for it– and I’ll have to go through it.

And I’ve got confirmation from very good quarters (Anton Chekov, no less) that it is the right thing to do:

the writer is not a pastry chef, he is not a cosmetician and not an entertainer. He is a man bound by contract to his sense of duty and to his conscience. Once he undertakes this task, it is too late for excuses, and no matter how horrified, he must do battle with his squeamishness and sully his imagination with the grime of life. He is just like any ordinary reporter. What would you say if a newspaper reporter as a result of squeamishness or a desire to please his readers were to limit his descriptions to honest city fathers, high-minded ladies, and virtuous railroadmen? To a chemist there is nothing impure on earth. The writer should be just as objective as the chemist; he should liberate himself from everyday subjectivity and acknowledge that manure piles play a highly respectable role in the landscape and that evil passions are every bit as much a part of life as good ones.

Wish me luck, people.

Damyanti Biswas

Damyanti Biswas is the author of You Beneath Your Skin and numerous short stories that have been published in magazines and anthologies in the US, the UK, and Asia. She has been shortlisted for Best Small Fictions and Bath Novel Awards and is co-editor of the Forge Literary Magazine. Her forthcoming literary crime thriller, The Blue Bar is represented by Lucienne Diver from The Knight Agency, and will be published by Thomas & Mercer on January 1, 2023.

I appreciate comments, and I always visit back. If you're having trouble commenting, let me know via the contact form, or tweet me up @damyantig !

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12 Comments

  • Anne says:

    Hi! Found you through Alex’s IWSG and just joined in. Reading your story is comforting to me and I know your determination will see you through to the end. Good luck!

  • bronxboy55 says:

    I have no doubt that when it comes to the craft of writing, you can do whatever you want to do. But a little luck never hurt, so good luck, D.

  • You can do it, but please be careful. Visions of Heath Ledger getting into the joker part come to mind. You don’t need to get that acquainted with your characters. I know one writer who uses a Barby and Ken as hers. That’s close enough.

  • Good luck, Damyanti. Just remember, this is only a quick vacation in the character’s head, not a permanent residence.

  • @animasolaarts says:

    Oh man, I relate to this. It’s been a week since I’ve written anything. And I know what needs to get written; I’m just terrified to write it. Why?! It’s completely irrational. And yet, it’s like I’m just afraid to get it out on the page. Wishing you luck with yours as I continue to tackle mine.

  • Arlee Bird says:

    You can do it! We’re all rooting for you.

  • Ahhhhh, yeah, so you’re avoiding it 🙁

    Right, deep breath, shoulders back, GO FOR IT!

    Seriously, you can do it honey, you know you can 🙂

    Xx

  • Rebecca Bradley says:

    Maybe have that warm and soothing cup of tea or coffee sat at the side of you for moments you need to just reach out of that space fractionally. You can do it. We’re all cheering you on!

  • Tonja says:

    Great quote. I’m sure you’ll get through it. I had a couple of moments like that in my last WIP. I’m very pleased that I wrote it and didn’t soften it.

  • Find the strength and do it! Just come up for air now and then.

  • Good luck. You can do it! (Now, if only I could get over my squeamishness and get to work on my one WIP!)

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