Peggy Bechko: How to Doom Your Novel or Script

the-agony-of-defeat-trevor-batstoneby Peggy Bechko

Looking to Doom Your Novel or Script?

You laugh.

Ha ha.

Who wants to doom their writing endeavors from the outset?

Perhaps you? There are lots of ways to accomplish something and lots of ways not to. Sometimes we set our own booby traps and then fall right into them. Really, self-sabotage is big out there.

One sure way to sabotage yourself and eliminate any future for your writing is to simply wait for inspiration. Lots of folks do this which is why they aren’t published/produced or even get anything down on the page.

How do they accomplish this? Well, they maybe go somewhere like a coffee shop with WiFi and sit down to write – not too many distractions there. Certainly lots of reasons to put fingers to keyboard, no?

Besides, they wait. Why? Because they’re not ‘inpsired’. Really? Yep. Inspiration is supposed to be like a holy fire from above that fills you, forces the fingers to keyboard and lets the words pour forth like the gushing of Niagara Falls.

So they wait. And wait. And sip coffee. And wait.

Me, I’d rather take Jack London’s advice and go after it ‘with a club’. Or as one writer (who’s name I can’t remember, I’m sorry) said, “I see to it that I’m inspired at nine o’clock every morning.” Um, yeah, me to.

Another way to doom your novel is to give your inner critic free rein. To not push forward getting words down on paper but to stop every now and again and reflect on just how bad the writing you’re producing is.

Awful, just awful. Who’d read such drecht?

If you keep thinking that way you can get yourself into such a corner that you’re totally immobilized. Yeah, yeah, I know, you’re scared of looking dumb, of not getting noticed (or of GETTING noticed), or of any number of other things. We writers are great at that.

BUT, you might just want to tell that inner critic to shut up until you’re done and you’ll consider his/her services during the rewrite; sans the ‘just awful’ remarks. But of course then you might not doom your writing project to purgatory.

And don’t forget to grow a great big chip on your shoulder. Arrogance and defiance will take you a long way – away from publication or production. Yep, remember whenever you have a book rejected or a script turned away it’s a personal affront to you. Be sure to blab all over the social media world about how unfair a certain publisher/editor/producer is and name him or her by name, maybe even throw in contact information. Don’t for one minute consider that your work wasn’t in the area they were looking for or that the person on the other end saw some promise in your work and might actually give some comments in the hope they’ll be of some help to you to improve your work. Nope, none of that. Be mad, mean, and confident they’re no more than idiots.

And be sure to not look for a fresh idea or a brand new approach. Why would that make you stand out when you can just hope on some old bandwagon, chase the market and pick up on a trend that’s going sour? You’re huddled in the darkness of doom, fresh and new could bring light.

Publishers and producers actually want to make money. That’s why they’re in business. Be aware of what’s out there in the arena in which you want to write, then forge your own path, give it a twist, and create a work of pure genius if you change your mind on the doom thing.

Want to really sabotage yourself? Just quit writing. Yep, quit. I mean who needs all that rejection and criticism? Why would you want to spend all that time writing something, then spend more time trying to find an agent or publisher or producer to take you on, then have to produce rewrites along guidelines provided by said editor or producer and still not be sure your writing project will make it all the way to publication or production?

So, give up. Quit. Really. Take up wood carving or maybe baking or car restoration or knitting…..

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