The Suspension of Disbelief in Writing

My boys know I am writing a novel. My oldest even remembers to ask me how it’s going from time to time. I love that about him. He’s very thoughtful.

Recently, he wanted an update:

“Mom, when will your book be published?”
“Well, I have to finish it first.”
“When will that be?”
“Next year I hope.”
“Okay. And then you’ll get it published.”

I love the fact that he assumes publishing is the automatic next step. He doesn’t know how difficult it can be. He doesn’t know that it may not happen. I am glad that he isn’t limited by the realities of chasing a dream. I hope he keeps that innocence.

I wish I still had the attitude of an eight year old; the child-like faith. Remember when we believed anything was possible? Remember feeling invincible? Remember thinking we would conquer the world? Well it’s still inside of you!

When I sat down a year ago to write my novel, I had this naïve outlook. Nothing was going to stop me. I thought it would be easy. What was my goal?

  • Goal #1:  90,000 words in a year and a completed manuscript.
  • Goal #2:  6 months to edit and send to publishers.
  • Goal #3:  Publish the manuscript.
  • Alternate Goal #3:  Self-publish. (Okay, so maybe it’s Goal #4)

And I wasn’t afraid. It was do-able. I believed I could pull it off. I’d made the decision. Nothing else was necessary.

Until I sat down to write. I wrote 4 paragraphs that were flat. They didn’t match the pictures in my head. I realized I didn’t know what I was doing. But it was still possible so I kept my goals intact and invested in learning what I needed to achieve my goals.

Writing is a process. It starts with an idea. Sometimes those ideas flourish and sometimes they fizzle out and die. Sometimes they can be resurrected.

I’ve talked about some of my writing rescues before. This one is new. I subscribe to a blog called WRITEtoDONE. In a recent post, Unleash Your Writing With This Trick from the Movies, they talk about “suspension of disbelief”. This concept helps me view my writing in a whole new way.

As August 31, 2012 draws near and I’m only a third of the way to my first goal, I’ve decided to reset the clock. I will add a year to my project counter in Scrivener. I’ll adjust the word goal accordingly.

I will sit down and write in a state of suspended disbelief. The realities of life won’t hold me back. My story will unfold as it does in my head. I’ll wait to ask questions like:  “Is this possible?” or “Is it realistic?” or “Will my readers believe this?” I’ll reserve my judgment on issues like:  “How will this plot idea work?” or “Is the dialogue authentic?”

My Suspension of Disbelief … my new affirmations …

  • I am a novelist. It’s possible.
  • I am an author who is invincible.
  • I can conquer the world of writing. Why not?

Reclaim your child-like faith. Believe again in the impossible being possible. Dare to tell people you’re invincible and then leap. Start conquering the world around you in every positive way.

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Comments

  1. You can do it! You are doing it! Keep it up!

  2. Beautifully put 🙂

  3. Your words have inspired me to suspend my disbelief while I continue writing and move forward with confidence. Good luck on your novel!

    • Thank you! I wish you luck as well. I read your post about getting back to writing, and if it helps I find I think differently with a pen and paper than I do in front of my computer. So when I get stuck or blocked I switch from one to the other.

      • Thanks for the advice! I just tried that the other day and I was so surprised at how quickly the words flowed on paper–probably because the internet wasn’t there to distract me!

  4. seanatherton says:

    I just attended a writer’s convention. One of the panelists compared writing to learning to do a back flip. You can learn and learn and learn, but eventually you just have to throw yourself backwards. It’s awesome that you’re doing just that.

  5. I love this!!! And such wise advice. Thank you!

  6. Empowering words here. Keep at it. I love seeing all of us writers stiving for something. Good Luck.

  7. Phil Hanson says:

    Yes, sometimes we all need to adjust out goals. Life happens and gets in the way. I love the 8 rear olds faith.

  8. love your last paragraph – must copy it down!

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