I encountered some insightful wisdom from a young writer today:
I strongly suspect that [this] writer’s block is more than a lack of self-discipline. In transactional analysis terms, the Parent within me is causing a block, holding back the mature Adult writer for fear the unruly and precocious Child will escape and embarrass us all with idiotic, worthless, and immature literary finger paint.
Thus the over-concern with technicalities and fear of editorial (or other, even personal) rejection, and the automatic personal censor that deems things imperfect.Howard W. Fielding, “Journal,” 1 September 1978
Why a pretentious 23-year-old thought he knew anything about transactional analysis is beyond me. He must have been reading some pop psychology books. Probably one of those 24-year-old women gave him a copy when he visited them that week on his trips to Hartford and Boston.
But all in all, I think he was right. For me, procrastination wasn’t the problem causing my writing block. It was–still is–perfectionism and the inner editor.
I stumbled across this entry as part of my research for my book, “Harry Houdini and the Witch of Beacon Hill: An Exorcism in Two Parts.” I’ve finished transcribing the first, one-act, version of the play, and the story leading up to it. And I’ve completed the final–at least for now–two-act script, which I’ll include in the book as well.
But the central part of the book will account for 40 years of procrastination, revision, and self-imposed obstacles. I have several copies of revised manuscripts. The back story, though, is woven throughout my journals, which I kept after graduation. I’m re-reading them now, seeking references to the “Margery” script.
Meanwhile, though, I’m reacquainting myself with that young writer, who, though pretentious, was perceptive as well.
Observations: I shared the Authors Day post on Facebook with the host library and the state Facebook writers’ group behind it. The sunflowers post came at a suggestion by my wife. Average readership on both.
Interaction: Nothing this week, although I am nailing down details about a TV interview in Brooklyn, N.Y. next week. That should be fun and result in its own post(s).
Professional development: After encountering (if not meeting) the local authors, I’m trying to familiarize myself with some of their works. I did a quick review of “Take Back Your Book: An Author’s Guide to Rights Reversion and Publishing on Your Terms” by Katlyn Duncan for Audible. I’m also working on some books by Richard Seltzer, who seems to pursue some similar themes to mine.
Next week: Continue in the journals to fill in the blanks for the book.
In case you missed it …
Reading Time: < 1 minutes As a writer, I should care more about what other people think and less about what they think of me.
Reading Time: 2 minutes Sometimes the hats of journalist and fiction writer can overlap. Covering a local disaster led to ideas for a short story.
Reading Time: 2 minutes It took much longer to develop a news sense than to come up with ideas for make-believe stories that died on the vine.
Reading Time: 2 minutes With a brown-and-yellow bathroom theme, I was no interior decorator. And that Woody Allen poster was a bad role model for a writer.
Reading Time: 2 minutes “And the days grow short When you reach September”… The story behind “September Song”