If I could have an anxiety attack based on a book not yet written, I would be having one now. Have I taken on too much already? Is my ambition way too big for my size 6W shoes?
I am the one who tells you to dream big. To take chances. To write what you want to write. Yet I find my thoughts, my task, overwhelming. And I’ve barely started.
Writing about visiting a place you’ve never been and probably never will be takes more discipline than making up a world. When you make up a place where elves live or Merry ‘ol England in the 15th century your mind can play with what it wants.
But when you want to visit a real place in real time, it’s not as easy. You must be accurate, you must be realistic, even if your intention for a story is fiction.
Plus it is so easy to be led astray by a thousand places you wish to visit. Do you base your character’s visit on where you would like to go? Or where destiny takes them? Do you go big? Do you go small? Do you have encounters in gardens or museums? Libraries or churches? If your character (in my case, me) wants to visit the haunts of famous people, which restaurant do you visit? Which cabaret? Which art museum?
Do you search the Internet and find articles like The ten Paris streets you just have to walk down or A Walk Around Paris? Or do you just pick a starting place and figure out where you’re going from there?
I am so easily influenced by Paris. Any foreign place, really. Places I’ve never been, places I’ve dreamed of, places where my dreams start and end. I ask myself where do I really want to go, what do I really want to see? What do I want my book’s character to learn from her adventure?
On top of that, I find it hard to separate what I as a 67-year-old woman who will never visit Paris would want to see versus the 67-year-old woman I’m sending there through my book. A thousand answers come to mind. I can’t seem to sort through all of them.
This is the problem of a pretzelly mind. A creative mind touched with a bit of A.D.D. and old age.
Maybe I would be better off writing a simple love story that takes place in my own back yard or some make-believe town. That way I don’t have to guess what the streets look like; what the people sound like, what the local bakery or bistro smells like.
I’m not giving up yet, though. While I cannot say I love a challenge, it’s too early in the game to give up. For I know the payoff with be a big one. The biggest challenge of my writing career.
Tell me — do you go through any madness like this before you start a new project? Do you fight to keep a hold of your crazy dream, or do you merely divert your energy to finding another project?